When notes strengthen the partnership

Well we reached the final chapter in this book and the last week of class.  I found much useful information in the text but I think this might be the best chapter.  Chapter 5 is about true communication between teachers and parents.  It reminds me that even the smallest piece of information can be the difference between a partnership dance and a defensive non-relationship.

It’s funny that I am reading this chapter now because this is the first summer I have not sent thank you cards to the parents for allowing me to get to know their child and for trusting me with his/her child in a daily basis (or something to that effect).  IN 5 years I have never heard a single word from any of the parents about the notes, not even to let me know they received or appreciated it or anything.  That is why I decided not to do that this year.  Now I feel that decision was a mistake. I am thinking about sending them out now, at the midpoint of summer break.

My reflection:

Mr and Mrs Name –

I just love seeing Name every day.  He/she has such an infectious laugh and that just makes our classroom and happier place.  I really appreciate the support you give our classroom.  You always remember to bring drinks for snack time and that really made the kids happy.  They really love the days when the juice boxes come out.

I’m so glad your family is a part of our classroom family.

Thank you,

Michelle Hammon

I actually have a daily note that goes home in the student’s folder.  I generally try to say something positive about their child each day.  Sometimes it is hard to find a positive but even if its generic, I always write a positive before I add in the negative things that happened that day.  I include reminders about special things coming up so they don’t forget.  I write thank yous if they provided or did something.   I had only 8 students last year and 10 the previous year so I have the opportunity to write a daily note to the parents.  Some parents love it and communicate back to me.  Some parents lose the folder and never sign or initial that they have seen it.  Occasionally we get too busy or something steals my time and I don’t get the folders with the daily notes out.  I have had parents text me to say they can’t find the folder and want the short report.  That makes my day becuase it lets me know that my efforts to communicate are noted and appreciated.

I have students from PK through 2nd and sometimes 3rd grade so I really get the opportunity to develop true relationships with the parents of my students.  That is not always a good thing.  If one thing goes wrong it can color the next couple of years.  I understand why they are upset but their practically nothing I can do.  For example, I have a student who has parents that are very smart and educated and definitely the active go-getter personalities who can multi-task and keep so many irons in the fire.  Their child is not like that.  They want me to work a miracle with their child and blame me when he does not progress as fast as they believe he should (as fast as a general ed student).  They actually told my principal that I am a bad teacher because after 2 years their son could only read simple picture books. He was in 1st grade.  I was so proud and excited the prior week because he read a whole book (simple low level about trucks) with no help or assistance at all and was able to self correct any errors.  They were disappointed.  What kind of note or communication will help us move forward in our dance together?  We have at least one more year and probably 2 years to dance to the communication song.  I am still trying to figure that out to start next year.  I’m not sure a simple note can resolve the issues but I now understand that I need to put forth the effort to continue to communicate.  I may not change their minds or help them to better understand their child but I can still help them to understand how much I care for their child and their input.

 

When partners are too angry to dance…

Because of the kind of work I did in my past life, pre-teaching life, I can come up with many times when I experienced someone else’s anger.  I worked as a prison guard for many years and believe, I experienced a lot of other people’s anger.  However, it was when I began my work as a child abuse and neglect investigator that I truly felt the heat and took the brunt of another person’s anger.  They were angry at me for questioning their abilities as a parent and even angrier when I was forced to protect their children from them.  There are two things that can bring out the bear in people, their children and their money.  In most cases, I was taking their children away which would effect the amount of money entering the household, so in effect, I was slamming them with a double whammy.

When it got as serious as removing someone’s children, I had time to prepare myself and know what was coming.  It was the emergencies that took me by surprise.  I will admit that I did get angry back at them and that I wanted to yell and scream and tell them that this was all their fault and not mine.  I wanted to make them feel as bad as I did but I did not have that luxury.  I was there to do my job, regardless of how emotionally painful it was and I had to go on and not let their anger effect my or my ability to do my job.  In most cases I just stood there and took it, unless they were trying to hit me, and I let them rail and yell and cry and scream.  Sometimes I busied myself with trying to find clothes or bottles or breathing monitors and car seats or something that the children might need.

Then at the end of the day I went home.  I went home to my warm, safe, clean home where my husband and my child had been waiting for me.  Many times I cried and sometimes I sat up in the dark and prayed that I did the right thing.  Sometimes I felt like a stick of ice, cold and uncaring because that was the face I had to show.  I was sad and mad and angry on the inside but I could not let it show.  After 7 long years, I could not do it anymore.  I quit CPS and took 4 months to find myself and get to a place where I could handle experiencing the emotions of others.  Of course, I found another job where people were constantly angry at me.

I became a child support officer and spent another 7 years making people angry.  Custodial parents got angry at me for not being able to force payment and noncustodial parents got angry at me for taking too much of their money.  Then I became a teacher.  I experience love and joy and excitement on a daily basis and people still get angry at me but not as often and usually not as much.  That was when I figured out that it is okay to glide sometimes, okay to do my best, and okay to let parents get frustrated and get upset and get angry, even if they think it is me.  That means I have something to work with because they worry and they care and they love their child.

I watched Terms of Endearment when I was really too young to understand it.  Then I watched it as an adult shortly after my husband was diagnosed with cancer and given what amounted to a death sentence.  That sure changes your perspective.  I could understand the intense feelings of sadness, frustration, helplessness, powerlessness, fear, anger, rage, distress and finally love.  My story differs from that of the movie because my husband actually did beat the cancer and did not die and did not lose his mind or portions of his face and parts of his lungs.  I got the miracle she prayed for in that movie.  When the doctors told me that my husband would not be here for Christmas and that I should take the next 3 months and prepare my son, I got angry.  I got mad.  I felt rage.  I felt despair.  I felt that I was to blame.  As I snuggled on the couch with him that night, my husband told me that it was okay to feel those things because that showed him just how much I loved him.  That one took me by surprise because I knew I loved him but it was then that I found out just how deep that emotion flowed.  I had never felt that powerless and out of control in my life and I hope I never have to experience that again.  It was like hope was ripped out of my chest and I did not know how to get it back.

In reading this text and figuring out how to look differently at the way parents must feel when their children have a special need, I found that I must remember that this is not personal and not directed at me.  I be the only thing they have to take aim at but it is not really me that they are mad at, it is what I represent.  I will have to work harder to not take these things personally. That is much easier said than done but it is something I must figure out if I am to be able to do my job in the way it needs to be done.

I can understand how important it was to keep those lines of communication open with the parent, even when there was not response. I have an experience that is similar.  For two years I had a student in my classroom whose parents were not involved and intentionally cut themselves out of the school experience.  I sent daily notes home and the only response I every received was an initial.  At least I knew they were looking.  If I called, I was blown off, sometimes directed to voicemail with no return call.  In the middle of the 2nd year, it was coming up on time for the annual IEP meeting.  We all knew they would not participate and would not attend.  We all knew they would just tell us to do it without them.  One afternoon when the father came to pick up the student, I asked if we could have a parent teacher meeting or conference.  He looked at me and said he did not want to attend “that meeting” because he could not stand to sit there and have someone read the results and tell him how stupid his son was.  I was shocked because I did not realize that was what they were feeling.  I quickly told him I wanted a parent/teacher meeting, not a formal IEP meeting.  I wanted to get to know them and try to understand what they saw and believed and hoped for their son.  I explained that this was a meeting in the classroom and it would be the parents and me and maybe their child but no other school professionals would be in attendance.  We would not take attendance and there would be no forms to sign.  The father said he would think about it.  A few days later, I sent a handwritten note to invite him and his wife to come visit with me in the classroom.  I stressed it would not be a meeting and we would not be making decisions about their son.  We would be visiting and talking about their son, not his diagnosis, not his disability, not what he could not do but talking about what he could do and what I had seen and successes we had at school.  Another week went by and I sent a second written note inviting them to come.  The next morning, in his folder was a sticky note asking if the following afternoon would be a good time for me.  I was ecstatic.  Both parents came and we sat and talked about their son.  They told me about his home life and schedule and things he did and I told them about the things he did at school and his schedule and the things I saw in their child.  We told funny stories.  They told me what they hoped and dreamed for him and I told them what I hoped and dreamed for him.  They were able to tell me some of the things they wanted him to be able to learn and I provided them with materials to make a schedule at home that is more similar to the one we use at school.  That meeting is one of my favorite success stories.  Two years later, they still refuse to attend formal meetings but they have had one sit down in the classroom conference with his new teacher.  That is successful contact in my book.  I was able to look behind the curtain and see the typical parents cowering back there.   I think it is important to continue to make positive contacts with the parents even when they don’t respond or respond in ways that are unexpected.  His new teacher still sends daily progress notes home and they still initial but they were willing to meet with her too so at least there is a 2-way conversation.

When partners are too angry to dance together, sometimes we just have to boogie nearby and let them see the positive and keep trying to dance together.

 

Chapter 3: The Instruction Manual

I have to say that this chapter feels like it was aimed directly at me.  One of the things I have always been the most uncomfortable with is dealing with the parents.  I wish I could teach and work with their kids without having to do more than polite interactions at drop off and pick up.  I hate having to report anything negative to parents but I won’t lie and I don’t (or I try not to) embellish the truth.  When it comes to the formal meetings, I have actually broken out in hives 2 weeks prior to a meeting in anticipation or dread.  There are parents that are more difficult than others to deal with.  I got a lot from this chapter and it is now highlighted to within an inch of it’s life.

My Reflections…

The three essential dance steps for parents that caught my attention are the basic and primary level things.  Be prepared, read carefully and share family cultural values.  These things seem like common sense and should not require the reminders but it feels like these are the things parents don’t do.  In my experiences, with one glaring exception, the parents of my students don’t prepare anything before any kind of meeting and don’t read the information at all and tell us as little as possible about their family and culture and values.  I think it is possible that as a public school system we have taught them that they are not responsible for anything and we will take care of reading the fine print and we don’t want to know anything about them.  I feel that this is a sad state of affairs these days and I hope to gain the skills so that parents of my students will feel that they are a welcome part of their child’s plan and that I hear what they have to say and that they understand that I truly want to know more about them and their family and their values.  The suggestion I want to add to the list in the book is that parents must not be afraid to insert themselves into their child’s school, their child’s classroom and especially their child’s planning.

In rethinking how I define “denial” I came to realize that about the only time I say “denial” is when the parents or family don’t see their child the same way I do; when they seemingly won’t accept the fact that a miracle is not going to happen and their child will not one day wake up “normal,” whatever that is supposed to be.  When I turned my definition of denial around, I realized that they are the ones who have never-ending hope for their child and that I might be the one who is setting the limits too low.  I do push my students to do their best and I set high expectations, but maybe I need to rethink my underlying process and set goals that based on what the parents and I want or hope for this child rather than the level I think he could reach.  I have used the terms, “accept it” and “understand it” and “come to terms with reality” when thinking about the families of my students but maybe I am the one who needs to come to terms and accept and understand that my students are capable of anything and that I just need to find the way to help them reach for more.  Maybe I need to meet the parents of my students at the halfway line and try harder to see things through their eyes.  Disagreeing is not denying.  Disagreeing is seeing things differently.

I know that I need to work as a team and as partners with the families of my students.  In reading the lists, I found two additional strategies for trying to promote paretnerships with the parents.  Each strategy falls back on me being the person who cheers for a true partnership.  I need to relax and be willing to share my own background and personal story with these families.  While I may not have had the same struggles they are dealing with, I certainly did not have everything perfectly in order.  Maybe I need to step down from my soapbox and meet them at their level and let them know that I do care for them as much as I care for their children.  Additionally, I need to welcome the parents and families into the world I share with their child each day.  As a professional, I have to push myself into their personal lives but I need to be open and welcome them into our world so they can see the things I see and I can watch their child through their eyes.  That is how a true partnership is formed.

When the meetings begin, I think it is important to remember that we are there for a child and it is important to take the time to share information and examples of their child.  Instead of just sitting down and introducing everyone and jumping right in to the nitty gritty details and moving forward.  We need to start the meetings on a positive note by discussing the successes of the person we are their to support rather than just what needs to be done next.  When reading this section of the book, the thought that kept spinning around in my mind was how do we as school professionals on a very limited schedule take the time to sit and make warm introductions and provide name tents and welcome the introductory comments and sharing.  I realize that these are the things that will help us to be effective partners but these are also the very things we tend to rush through or even ignore in order to get everything crushed into the very little time we have for these meetings.

One thing that I want to remember about beginning and ending meetings is that we must take the time to allow each person to share their thoughts, feelings, concerns and compliments.  In general, we as professionals tend to dump a great deal of new and disheartening information at these meetings and then we check to make sure everyone signed the form and we get up and leave.  I have never thought about that before.  How do the parents deal with this?  I know that I intend to make a greater effort to properly welcome and finally dismiss the parents and family members and let them know how much I appreciate their time and interest.

I need to work to make sure the families of my students are held in the same high regard I hold their children.  I need to take the time to get to know them as parents and as neighbors and as partners as we walk through their child’s educational plan together.

 

Chapter 2:Hidden Lyrics

I couldn’t help but think back to meetings I’ve had with parents in the past; meetings to determine what “label” we are going to put on their child, or to discuss how we want to put their child i a special classroom where they can have direct instruction and work at a pace that meets their needs.  As a parent, I recognized all the feelings and thoughts that went through the parents’ minds and I sympathized with how the psychologist felt in dealing with them.

Reflections: 

–The story of Sam made me feel sad at first, sad for him and his parents.  Their whole world just changed forever.  But I was also happy for them because they found the disabilities early and Sam could be taught and trained in a way that made it easier for him to learn with his disabilities.  I know that when my husband was diagnosed with cancer about 7 years ago, I thought time had practically stopped while were were waiting just a few days for the final results.  How do families get through weeks of waiting and wondering?   The line, “To help I must first hurt” went straight to my heart.  That is what we as teachers must do at times when talking to parents.  I had not really thought about it that way before.  I knew that there were times when I did not want to be the person who answered their questions because I knew what that would mean to the parent.  I have told many parents that sometimes that best thing for their child is the thing that hurts us the most.   I was surprised that both the parents and professionals wanted follow-up contact and want to continue contacts past the point of assessment.

–The story of Rachel was interesting.  Is interesting a feeling?  I feel that I paid more attention to what the parents in this story were thinking and feeling.  I realized that maybe I need to give the parents more time to talk and ramble about their child, her strengths and stories and adventures.  That could help me to know a little more about her but also help the parent feel that I care about their child.  When it comes time to discuss the test results with parents, we have to take the time to explain what the numbers mean and what the measures are and even why is is important.  I forget sometimes that I need to make a sandwich with the parents when I speak to them about their child.  A sandwich means that I start off with some strengths and funny things before I get to the “meat” of the meeting.  The meat or test results are what will be the hardest part of the meeting.  It is better to follow that up with strengths and positive remarks.   I also need to remember that we must give the parents some processing time.  It is standard within our special education classrooms that we give the students extra time to process new information so why do we expect parents to understand the overwhelming amount of information that gets thrown at them and not give them some time to process.  I have wondered about speaking to the parents a few days prior to the actual meeting to give them and idea of what they will hear and allow them time to think about what information will be important to them.  Sometimes I feel the hardest part of special education is when parents and professionals believe different things and have different ideas about what will best meet the needs of their child.  We need to remember that this is supposed to be time when we discuss and compromise and consider new and other plans.  To me, the team meeting with the parents is one of the most important times where we have the opportunity to really show parents that they are an important part of the whole team.  Let them know that we are listening and hear what they are saying.

I could ramble about the way I feel when meeting with parents because I feel different about each family.  Some parents are much easier to speak to while others are very standoffish make me feel as if I have done something wrong to them and their child because I just don’t understand their child the way they do.  Some parents are demanding and some are full of questions and want to understand.  I do my best to make them feel a part of our team but I  know we fall way short of that goal.  I expect I will be searching for the best way to bridge that gap between teachers and parents for the rest of my career because there is no right answer.

 

Chapter 1: Getting to know your partner

I have to say that blogging is a brand new experience.  I have followed many blogs of my friends and interesting topics for a few years but never had the nerve to do it on my own.  I wondered who would ever want to read my ravings.  However, I must say that I am excited about this and hope it continues.  It will be nice to talk about the things that I get out of the book rather than answer the same questions as everyone else and trying to find a way to be fresh within the parameters of a discussion board.  Anyway, that all being said to start off, here I go….

Recollections: 

If I remember only one thing from my reading about the parent-professional partnership and the dance metaphor, it is….“Don’t take it personal”.   I remember one time when I actually got hives over my arms and chest and face and neck for about 10 days before a meeting that I was dreading with parents.  The parents had already stated to several people that they blamed me for not teaching their son enough to go to a general education classroom by 1st grade.  We were able to talk some things through and I let them say what they felt they needed to say and we were able to at least begin a conversation.  My hives went away within minutes of the meeting ending.  I remind myself frequently that I should not take anything the parents or relatives say about me or my classroom because they are coming to terms with the fact that their child is not completely perfect and needs special classrooms with special teachers.  I teach Pre-K through 2nd grade so most of the parents I start with are new to this whole process.  It is not me, they would feel that same way about any teacher their child had at that point.

-If I remember only one thing from my reading about the phase of “Colliding and Campaigning,” it is…resist the urge to debate.  I know that I like to be right most of the time and can argue or debate about it.  My work as a teacher of children with special needs and their families is the wrong place to try to be right about everything.  I can make or break the relationship with the family at that first meeting based on how I respond and react.  I do my best to stay quiet and listen to the parents so that I can make decisions that reflect what they want for their child.

-If I remember only one thing from my reading about Cooperating and Compromising, it is…that the unofficial pre-meeting before the actual meeting is so important and helpful in helping the family to feel that they have been heard and that their thoughts and hopes and feelings will be taken into consideration.  I have found this to be extremely helpful in working the parents of my students.  It gives me a chance to prepare them and help them understand what is going to happen and why the team is considering the actions or plans that will be discussed.

-If I rememver only one things from my reading about Creative Partnering and Collaborating, it is… Don’t be afraid to be creative in finding solutions and be willing to use blended ideas and concepts.  In doing these things, the families can feel that we are listening to them and considering their ideas as well as implementing them in conjunction with our ideas and plans as professionals.

Reflections: 

What can be done or said to ease this awkwardness, ambivalence, or initial uncertainty?   I believe this often depends on the parents as much as myself.  I try to let the family know that I am there to help them and their child. I explain that I want to be a team with them for the next several years so that together we can create a solid foundation for their child as he/she continues through the school system.  Since I will be their child’s teacher for at minimum 2 or 3 years, we will be working together for a while.  I often start my conversations with families by asking them what their hopes and dreams are for their child and how they think we can get there.  I ask what things they have learned at home that work with their child so we can have some continuity and a place for me to start.   want them to know that I care about them and their feelings.  I try to let them know that we really are a team working together for the benefit of their child.

-Think about a time in your own personal life when you felt strongly about a situation.  Describe the circumstances.  What did you want to have happen?  What was underlying that desire- what values, dreams, past history, and expectations? What did you want the other person to understand about your perspective?   It is hard for me to pick a single incident that I felt strongly about something.  I tend to feel strongly about a lot of things.  My principal jokes about how passionate I am about everything, even the laminator.  I do have one that is related to teaching.  In my first year as a teacher, coming from an alternative certification program, and working on my internship year, I had an issue or incident, if you will.  I was a co-teacher in a preschool classroom.  I was the special education teacher along with a general education teacher and a single teacher’s aide.  The teacher and aide had been working in that classroom together for several years but had a different special education teacher each year.  I began to notice that even though we were supposed to be a team and teach “our” students, that when anything needed to be done for the “specials” it was up to me to leave my teacher table and handle it.  Regardless of what it was, a diaper, a cry, a fit, aggressive behavior, or even something good like controlling themselves, it was up to me.  They would actually tell me that so-and-so needed me or that “she’s throwing another fit” or something and wait for me to go take care of it, even if the child was sitting at their table or center across the room.  They expected to me to pitch in and help with the “normal” students just like they did.  I called a room meeting and tried to discuss my feelings with them but got nowhere.  I felt my students were at a disadvantage.  We had 12 general education students and 6 special education students.  I got upset and told them they could not continue to just ignore the special ed kids.  They got offended.  It continued to boil and steam for a few weeks and finally the principal got involved.  As a first year teacher, I was questioned and grilled about what I was doing and reminded that they both had years of experience so I was probably not understanding my job or expectations.  Almost no one came to observe and when they did, the other were quick to jump up and respond when my students needed anything.  That is how I was sure I was not misunderstanding anything.  Finally it came time for my annual 45 minute observation.  During the course of my observation, the ignoring and failure to respond happened.  They actually told me I needed to deal with my student because she was being too loud.  The tension and stress continued for several days after that and I was called in to the office to discuss my attitude and failure to work as a team.  There were persons from administration there as well as all the principals and my “team”.  They wanted to get everything out in the open and get it cleared up and make sure I understood what my responsibilities were.  During the course of meeting, the other teacher and aide both said they would never ignore a student and always are willing to step in and help take care of anything.  They said it was important that we work as a team.  They said it was “our class and our students” and they never considered whether a student was general or special education.  I was in tears.  When they each repeated themselves to say that they have never ignored a child nor called me away from the students I was working small group with to deal with the special education students, the newest intern, assistant principal, cleared her throat from the back of the room and asked if she could say something.  Of course they wanted to hear what she had to say.  She then pulled out the paperwork from my observation and read her notes.  Her notes detailed how I was called away from my lesson at small group during my observation to take care of a special education student who was throwing a fit.  She was able to say how long the fit was going on and how they each had observed it and looked away and observed her and looked pointedly at me and finally after 8 minutes, the other teacher actually called across the room and told me I really needed to take care of that because it was disturbing her small group lesson.  Keep in mind I was in the middle of my annual observation.  Both the teacher and the aide immediate denied that and said it never happened because they would have remember and the head principal asked if that had really happened. The intern/assistant principal reiterated that she actually witnessed these actions.  Finally , I was vindicated, at least I thought that.  So not true.  Nothing happened to me or them or anyone.  The meeting just ended.  I was devastated.  I had a headache that was so bad I was unable to be there the following day.  When the year came to a close, the head principal did not sign my certificate stating that she felt I needed more training and observations before I became a teacher.  I got moved to another classroom at another campus and had to redo my internship year. That was 4 years ago and I am still in my classroom at the same school and have had many successes over the last 3 years.  I realize this was not a moment in my personal life but my personal life is a completely different story.  I just wanted to know that all of the students were treated the same and I wanted the other teachers to realize that the special education students were just as important to all of us as the others.  I wanted them to realize that even with struggles, they could be great students who worked hard and learned much.

-Describe three feelings that the parents are experiencing and three feelings that he professionals are experiencing.  Identify some of the interests and values influencing or shaping the two different opinions about where Josie should be next year-both from the parents’ and the professionals’ perspectives.     I believe Josie’s parents felt disappointed, unsupported, and that no one was willing to listen to what they thought was best for their daughter.  These are all genuine and normal feelings at a time like this.  I also wonder if they felt like the professionals had teamed up against them.  The professionals, on the other hand, may have been feeling superior, judgmental, and misunderstood.  I also wonder if the professionals felt sympathetic towards the family.  All of these feelings of both parties have at their core, the best interest of Josie.  The professionals understand what her weaknesses are and what her potential may be based on her disabilities.  The parents may not understand the difference between a special classroom and a general education classroom.  The parents want their child to be the best she can be and they believe the best she can be is normal, learning with her normal peers.  The professionals recognize that while Josie is successful in the special classroom, that is because it is a special classroom and not a general education classroom.   I will say that as a special education teacher, Josie may be better off in the special classroom at the new school where she may be able to reach her full potential.  However, depending on how well Josie functions and her young age, it might be possible to attempt a general education setting with lots of support and pull out time for remediation lessons for at least a semester.  That would allow the parents to see and understand that Josie needs a different setting with different concepts of rigor in order for her to be fully successful.  This is a situation where nobody wins.  Someone will come out disappointed and regardless of where Josie is placed, someone will feel it is not the right place.

-Now that you’ve reviewed the list of possible next “dance steps,” take 10 minutes to write a dialogue – a conversation between the parent and the school psychologist.  Free-write what each might say.  Follow up with one suggestion you’d make to both the parent and professional for the next steps in working through this impasse.   This conversation is the one that happens after the professional has given the testing scores, results and diagnosis to the parents.  The child has autism as well as a cognitive disability.  Dr – Now that you’ve had a few minutes to think about this, I would like to tell you what the district feels is the best placement for your son at this time.  We feel that he will have the best chance at success in a special classroom where the teachers are trained to help him learn to handle and live with his condition as well as teach him at a level where he can understand and retain the information.  Parent – What do you mean by a special classroom? Are you telling me that my son is stupid?   Dr – No, not at all.  His test scores indicate that he learns at a slower rate and needs more repetition before he can retain the lesson.  This does not mean that he is stupid.  It means that he needs a slower pace with more repetition in order for him to be successful in learning.  Parent – so why can’t a regular classroom do that for him?  Why does he have to be special ed?  How long until he can go back to the regular classroom?  Dr – Our goal is always to bring the student up so that he can spend at least part of his day in a general education classroom and be successful.  We believe that putting him in a classroom that moves on too quickly to the next lesson would not be beneficial to your son.  He will continue to fall further and further behind.   Parent – that is not what we want.  WE want him to be in the normal classroom.  He will grow out of this phase and be alright.   If you put him in a special class, he won’t be challenged enough to try to get better.  Dr – this is not about getting better, there is improvement and there is progress and there is success.  This is not a disease or something that can be cured.  This is the way your son’s brain is wired, the way he thinks and experiences his world.  We want to help him and give him the skills and knowledge so he can deal with the world around him.  We want him to be successful.  Parent –  We demand that you put him in a regular classroom.  He is a tough kid and will get through this.  He just needs to learn some discipline and self-control and he will be fine.  Dr – This is not about getting through, this is about learning to cope and being able to deliver the education in a way that your son can process and have enough time to be able to learn and succeed.  Parent –Put him in a regular class and we will help him at home so he can pass.  —I would recommend to both parties that they stop and listen to each other.  Maybe even wait a day or so before they meet to discuss placement again.  That way the parents can have some time to process the information as well as deal with their own feelings about their son and the changes to their hopes and dreams.  The Doctor can gather more information to present to the parents about the special class and make arrangements for the parents to see what he is talking about so they can make a more information decision.

 

First blog post

First blog post

I have created this blog as a course requirement for EDEC 6315.  This is my first experience with blogging so please have patience with me here.  I have always wanted a blog or to blog or whatever the correct term is but have never tried it.  This course requirement is the perfect push I needed to get started.  I hope you find my posts interesting or at least entertaining.  I hope that if this is successful through this semester that I can continue to blog my way through the rest of my master’s level course load until I have successfully graduated.  Maybe I can even use this as I go through other courses.  Welcome to my journey through special education courses as I learn more and more about how to be a better special education teacher. Here we go…..