Grade three was ending fast, and the sun was warming up the playground. I enjoyed the time I had with school friends. Karen and I were spending lots of time together. Many days during recess kids would come up to us asking if we were sisters.
Inside the classrooms was a different story. “I can’t do it!” I was getting frustrated at my math and spelling work. Mrs. G came over and helped me relax. “Yes Aime, you can.” Getting red in my face, and squinting my eyes to see the paper through my tears I took a big breath. Counting on my fingers to do the math questions that everyone else had finished and were really supposed to be done in our heads I answered the questions. I had wanted to look on the other kid’s papers, I was that frustrated. I knew better though to cheat.
Spelling and reading were just the same. On top of figuring out what the sentences meant that I had just read in all subjects. Not just the core subjects. “Who would like to read the next section?” Mrs. G was engaging us to be involved in the lesson. All I thought was don’t pick me, don’t pick me!! “Aime, how about you.” I shook, taking a breath I started to read out loud. Kids started to giggle and laugh as I stumbled over the words. Shuffling my feet, and feeling my cheeks get red I sat back down after I was finished.
I lived for music and gym class. There was no reading involved there. Maybe a little bit in music, yet it was memorizing lyrics to songs and counting to 4. I could do that. I wasn’t the best in gym class, it was fun though. I was picked last for teams, and needed the teacher’s help for things too.
My favourite times were when I was not at school. When I was in the pool for swim class, at Girl Guides, or at ballet class is where I had the most fun. Even though I had to redo the ‘blue’ level for swimming a few times because my endurance wasn’t like the older kids, and I was small having trouble in the rescue exercises. I still had fun. “Aime can’t touch the bottom! Move in everyone!” I was at swimming one day, and we were playing a game. All the kids were taller than I was, and older too. I was nine and in the blue level already. I excelled in the pool.
Karen was in Girl Guides and ballet class with me. It was always fun there. “Hey Aime, come over after dance this weekend and let’s do our baking badge.” Karen smiled at me.
“Okay sounds fun! Will check with my Mum and let you know?” I smiled back at Karen.
“Hi Mum, Karen invited me over after dance class on Saturday to do our baking badge for Guides. Can I go?” Putting down my school bag after getting home.
“Yes, that would be okay. Have fun with Karen, and her Mum.” Mum smiling at me.
“Now about that homework from today? What do you have to do tonight?”
“Spelling, and math.” I responded with a low tone in my voice. I really didn’t want to do it.
Sitting at the kitchen table after dinner with my spelling book open I was in tears. “Aime what is the word that is the same in your list for this week for spelling in the question it is asking you?” Dad was drying dishes at the sink.
“I don’t know.” Through my tears, I responded.
“What are your words this week, look at the top of the page in the text book. Read them all out. What word is the same meaning but is a different word? The question is asking for a synonym for it.”
As I read out the words Dad would ask me what each word meant. Sometimes I didn’t know. I was feeling stupid, and dumb. I was also tired, and didn’t want to do any more.
Dad had me finish the homework for spelling. Then there was math homework to do as well.
Watching me from the counter still “You shouldn’t be counting on your fingers. This is easy to add or subtract. Come on now think.” Dad moved to the side of the table where I was staring blankly into the paper with the questions that were all blending together. Pointing at the question he asked “What’s nine plus five? Think, don’t count on your fingers.”
“I can’t do it.” I let out a yell. And bursting into tears, I guessed “twelve?”
“No, not twelve, you’re guessing. Think. What is nine plus five? Come on you can do this.”
Counting on my fingers as I needed to, I counted out to say “fourteen?”
“Yes, that is correct. You shouldn’t have to count on your fingers though. It’s time to get ready for bed. Sleep well.” Dad hugged me and smiled.
“Thanks. Good night.” I responded.
After dance class on Saturday I went over to Karen’s house. We made bread, in the shape of a bear. It looked cute. However, we didn’t taste it. The bear was kind of hard, and the glaze on the bear made it look weird. Karen’s Mum said we passed our badge. She was also a Guide Leader and could work with us on badges and challenges.
School on Monday was the same, doing things that I didn’t like to do, made my brain hurt, and I was not understanding what we were reading in the class. I was getting more and more frustrated and upset. I came home and got into my homework, it was just like the Friday before. Tears, frustration, wanting to quit and give up. I hated school.
“Thank you, Mr. S, for calling. Wendy and I will be in to meet with you tomorrow.” My Dad turned and hung up the phone.
“Who was that Dad?” I looked up from my homework.
“Your teacher. Mr. S he wants myself and Mum to go and meet him and a few teachers and your principal at the school tomorrow.”
Little did I know what this meeting would entail, or how it would change my life dramatically.