difficult child 1's teacher has me in tears

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Californiablonde, Oct 10, 2012.

  1. Californiablonde

    Californiablonde Well-Known Member

    I just received an email from difficult child 1's foods teacher saying she is failing her class. My daughter absolutely loves that class. She wants to eventually become a chef when she gets older. She can't wait to come home every day and share with me what she has been cooking in her foods class. According to the teacher, she is unable to take notes in her class. She has an aide that comes in and helps her everyday, but difficult child is still struggling. She has always had a really hard time processing what is being said and being able to translate what is said on to paper. That is why we have it in her IEP that she is to be helped with note taking. Her teacher is not very understanding of this. She emailed me and basically said that she thinks it's a waste of difficult child's time to even be there. She claims that her aide is doing most of the work in the class for her (cooking excluded) so she isn't gaining any real knowledge from the class. She also told me that difficult child is at a much, much lower level than a high school student. difficult child 1 has always been a little bit behind her age group (she is reading at a seventh grade level while being in the ninth grade) but saying she is much much lower than the average high school student to me is pushing it. Yes, she may be a little immature for her age, but up until now she has always done pretty well in her Special Education classes. She has always needed a little extra help, but never to the extent that this cooking teacher is making it out to be.

    Now I'm all upset. This teacher has me thinking difficult child will never make it out there in the real world eventually. If she can't process what is being said in a simple cooking class, how is she ever to get to the point where she goes to culinary school? How is she going to survive? Right now she's in all Special Education classes except for this foods class. Most of her classes are self contained with about seven students per class with one teacher plus two aides. Her foods class has about thirty kids and difficult child just isn't making it. Even with somebody else's help she is struggling. How is she supposed to hold down a job in the future, without any help from outside sources? difficult child 2 is doing so well this year. He maybe autistic but he is very high functioning. I have no worries about him being able to make it in the real world eventually. difficult child 1 isn't doing so well. My hopes for her to be a functioning person in society are slowly diminishing. I guess I just need to accept the fact that she might never be all that I had hoped for her. That makes me really sad.
  2. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Teacher needs to get fired. (JMO)

    Could she ever become a 5-star chef? probably not.
    Could she be a line-cook in a neighborhood restaurant? Or even a specialty cook in a local joint? absolutely.

    But they (i.e. school and specialists and whoever else you can pull in) need to get to the bottom of WHY she struggles so much with "listening" and auditory processing... and then get her the REAL accommodations and interventions for the disability. PLUS a real raking over the coals for the teacher.

    Hands-on learners learn by doing, not by paper work, but many of them do BETTER than those who can do the paperwork, when it comes to hands-on. Many trades programs (including apprenticeship) have major accommodations for LDs - because the DOING is the most critical. A good mechanic with severe Auditory Processing Disorders (APD) may have to do everything from workorders rather than anything verbal... but if he can do the "tough fixes" he'll never be out of a job. If your difficult child can cook to the level that customers rave... somebody will want that skill.

    Get an advocate.
  3. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It


    First, don't you EVER let someone put that kind of limit on your child. Yes, it is true that not everyone can learn everything. It sounds like your daughter isn't getting the right supports to be successful in this class. Maybe her IEP needs to be tweaked so that she is supported and this teacher has no choice but to follow the IEP.

    Second, I have worked in restaurants and the food injury for a long time. Just because difficult child cannot learn as fast as other people when it comes to lectures and the more academic side of things does NOT mean she cannot successfully become a chef. It means she will have to memorize more, cook by her senses, and be patient with herself as she is learning.

    Has she been tested for auditory problems like auditory figure ground, etc...? This would really help find the types of supports that will help her. maybe having the teacher give an outline of the lesson and then fill in the details. Maybe your difficult child simply cannot learn well from lectures. LOTS of people don't learn as well from books and/or lectures as they do from actually doing what they are studying about. It also might be more relevant to her if the info that is being taught is done in a thematic way.

    Thematic lessons teach the different subjects by focusing on a particular topic or theme. When we were homeschooling Wiz in elem school we would pick a topic like dinosaurs, ancient Egypt, etc.... and then I made all the lessons tie in with Ancient Egypt. We did word problems (if the pharoah wants a pyramid that is seven stones wide and seven stones deep, how big is the area that the pyramid would cover?), looked up traditional Egyptian dishes, etc...

    Wiz learned a LOT more this way because he was INTERESTED. I know your difficult child is interested in becoming a chef, but that does NOT mean that her food courses will be interesting. You can probably help her at home, if she will work with you. Get into the kitchen and start coking with her.

    Just my thoughts.
  4. slsh

    slsh member since 1999

    Are you *kidding* me???? That's worth it's weight in gold, diamonds, rubies, and emeralds!!! Especially given the teacher's negative comments... maybe she's a better teacher than she came across in the email, since our kids tend to pick up on naysayers pretty darn fast and it's reflected in the kids' performance and attitude towards the class.

    Is she failing because of the notes, or failing because of her cooking skills?

    Tough cookies (ha, a pun) if teacher thinks she's below HS level. All the more reason to have difficult child in a mainstreamed class, especially one that she enjoys.

    Maybe it's time for another IEP mtg to specifically address teacher's concerns - sounds like she's talking apples and difficult child is an orange. Teacher may just need to switch orchards. I think I would fight like heck to keep difficult child in this class since it's one she's enthused about.

    As far as future job skills and abilities, I know it's hard not to worry about it, but 14 is still so young and there is a huge difference between a 14-year-old and an 18-year-old, difficult child or not. What you can and should be doing is looking hard at transition skills/transition goals on her IEP. If you haven't started discussing it yet with- IEP team, I would. Can't remember federal regs, but I know in IL, kids were to start having transition goals starting at age 14-1/2.

    Again - difficult child at 18 is probably going to have a very different skill set than she does now. If she stays in school 'til age 21, even more so. Far too early to start predicting her ability to function independently in a job, in my humble opinion, but definitely *not* too early to start looking at what skills she needs to tune up to get there.
  5. Californiablonde

    Californiablonde Well-Known Member

    You know what really burns me up about this teacher? She told me that difficult child is not getting anything valuable out of this class. Seriously? She loves the class and it's truly the only thing motivating her to go to school right now. HOw can she possibly state that she is not getting anything valuable out of it? Also, she didn't come right out and say it, but she hinted at the fact that she does not want difficult child in her class. She is too much of a pain to have to deal with. I guess this teacher doesn't have much interaction with Special Education kids to be feeling this way. Or maybe she does, but she just doesn't care. Anyway, we have our annual IEP next week. I don't know if this teacher is going to be there or not. I've never done a high school IEP before so I don't know if it's typical for them to have all teachers present or not. I will definitely be discussing the matter with the case carrier and anybody else who happens to be present. I really feel like my daughter is being thrown under the bus by a teacher who just doesn't want her there.
  6. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

  7. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    It is not typical for all teachers to be there. Generally, their main Special Education teacher and one gen Ed teacher attend unless there is a specific reason to have more there. With this teacher being her only gen Ed teacher, she may be there although it is often a core-subject gen Ed teacher.

    It really sounds like the issue is with the teacher and not with your daughter.
  8. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    I agree with the others.

    First, your daughter loves the class. Keep up the good work, mom and difficult child!

    Second, please don't catastrophize ... I know the feeling, but this teacher does not sound good at all. When you are feeling calm, set up a mtng with-the teacher and an advocate, and the first thing you'll do is tell the teacher that this is one of your daughter's favorite classes and how much your daughter looks forward to coming to class. (I would not tell her it is her absolute favorite, just in case she's really a @(@!* and might use it to really slam you; she sounds so negative.)
    The idea is to get the teacher on your side.
    Then work up ideas together (even though they'll mostly be the ideas of you and your advocate) to help your daughter.

    I agree with-other people here, that your daughter may have an auditory issue and maybe could record this class, or using headphones may be a good idea.

    I'm not sure what you have written down in regard to the IEP and assistance, but you need to bolster it and get the teacher to buy into it. She sounds frustrated. Somehow she's got to accept that it is what it is and that your daughter is not going away.

    Also, you must meet with-the teacher in person to make eye contact and hear her tone of voice. Is she panicky? Is this a failure on HER part because she doesn't know how to reach your daughter? Are there written requirements that MUST be met for your daughter to pass the class? If she has an IEP, can't those be waived or changed somehow? I mean, if your daughter was blind, how would a teacher expect her to write? See what I mean? Maybe it's just an unreasonable expectation. Your daughter needs to be taught in a different way.
  9. 1905

    1905 Well-Known Member

    You need to meet with this teacher immediatly. Don't let this teacher feel this way about your child. Your daughter loves this class and is absolutlely learning. Tell this teacher all that you are telling us, some teachers don't have the training and knowlege on how to measure her learning. Do this now, do it tomorrow, she will see the error of her pre-judgement. If she does not understand, you must go to her teacher, principal, case-worker, and everything will be ok. You'll see, trust me...(((HUGS!!!))).....set up a meeting with this teacher right away, kill with kindness.
  10. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I think you should give your daughter a new, intensive updated evaluation (at her age a neuropsychologist evaluation) to nail down her difficulties so that they can be explained to the IEP group and included in her IEP. Is she cognitively challenged? That is different than learning disabilities. If she just has LDs...what are they and how can the school help her? I think you need very detailed information, both for the school and for yourself.

    I would definitely go the advocate route. Call your Dept. of Public Education and ask for the free parent advocate who works in your area. This advocate has no ties to the school district and will be on your side and your daughter's side, along with knowing all the state laws so that the school district can't get away with anything that isn't legal. Every state has free advocates that work independently from the school district. Call and ask for the Special Needs Advocate.

    Good luck and keep us posted.
  11. buddy

    buddy New Member

    Does your daughter's case manager know about this? If this was one of my kids (as an iep manager ) I'd want to know so i could be educating this teacher on individual expectations and what her responsibility is. I'd find out what her concerns are and help her see the light (smile) hopefully in a way thay leaves her feeling supported in her future better efforts! If you like or trust your daughter's case mgr then it might be a quick way to start. If the mgr doesn't get it then I'd still meet with the teacher alone but go with the advocate for the IEP meeting to make sure.
    In the mom role I have heard this many times too. Science was a class he loves though he could never do the written tests and social studies....he looks things up from class on the computer on his own later, and talks about the topics ...again, can't do the reading or tests independently and it would seem he was getting nothing but I reminded the teachers that the goals for him were to be with peers and to learn anything! I let them know that it was hard to measure what he knows ..he often talks about parts of things they learned weeks later!
    One other thought ...do you know if the aide HAS to help that much or does she not know how to support her....she may be able to cut back or do the beginning of a step and have difficult child finish or just coach her. Maybe a peer partner would help.
    Notes can be taken by giving a good student who volunteers a notebook that makes copies or copying his or her notes a few times per week.
    For sure your daughter deserves to stay. I hope it works out for her.
  12. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Buddy, our son's case manager worked for the school district and was useless. She was his Special Education teacher. She didn't understand autism herself, or even think he had it. Sometimes it is best to go outside of the school district. Not everyone is as informed as you are :) I find that most of the time the school district sticks together. Anyone who had/has you for a case manager was exceptionally lucky.
  13. buddy

    buddy New Member

    Oh I had many a come to Jesus meeting with gen ed teachers and we eventually had a mainstream support team focusing on training and problem solving for kids in gen ed. Many districts here have those teams ....not all though. Before our issues in middle school last year Q's case manager was actually really good at getting the teachers to see the light. All until last year of course, sigh.
    (Around here the primary Disability specialist or teacher usually case manages so it's our ideas and plans we want them to carry out )
  14. Californiablonde

    Californiablonde Well-Known Member

    Her case carrier is one of her Special Education teachers and is, as midwest mom puts it, useless. difficult child missed school today because she has been getting bullied by two boys and refused to go. She told me she couldn't take another day of it. Her teachers weren't doing anything to stop it, so I called and left a message with the principal's secretary. As soon as her case carrier got wind of the situation, she called me back, in a huff, and insisted she had no clue difficult child was being bullied. I told her difficult child is getting called fat and made fun of repeatedly, plus these boys are throwing objects at her and kicking her back pack out of her hands. Her case carrier didn't believe me. She told me the only thing these boys has ever done to my daughter was tell her she was eating too many brownies. I definitely need an advocate outside the school system. My mom is sorta my advocate because she is a retired guidance counselor who knows the ins and outs of the school system. I think I need someone unrelated though, to go up to bat for us.
  15. buddy

    buddy New Member

    LOL ....yeah thats believable! I hear boys say ..."oh, you seem to be eating too many brownies" all the time. Does she honestly believe you're that clueless?

    I'm sick for your daughter! Ugggg
  16. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Yes you need that advocate. Even just the THREAT of an outside advocate (i.e. having one available but not engaged with the school yet) can make a difference.
  17. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Ha ha, IC. The threat alone does nothing, at least not in the US. You have to actually bring one and some aren't that great. You hopefully get one that the school district knows and respects/fears. It isn't easy to fight the schools. They will do all they can to point a finger back at you so that they don't have to implement an IEP. Certain magic words however make it impossible, which is why a "gotcha" label is so important. Our Dept. of Education's special needs advocate read me a list of disabilities that Wisconsin accepts. ADHD was not on it. Nor were "little" diagnosis. such as sensory disorders. They look for umbrella diagnoses, such as autistic spectrum disroder or bipolar disorder. And the children need to be tested by the school district. Sometimes that ends up at odds with a private evaluation, bu t a private evaluation MUST be counted as well. Fight, fight, fight is the word. If you are rich enough to hire a very expensive education lawyer, that is good, but most people can't afford that. And it isn't really necessary. An advocate knows all the state laws too...and therein lies his/her power, IF she is very dedicated.
  18. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    MWM. not all school district's are like the ones you have encountered. Sometimes there are huge differences from one school to another in the same district. I was able to thoroughly intimidate our middle school when Wiz was there simply by taking in a stack of books on autism, sp ed law, asperger's etc... with lots of post-its and clearly written notes on those post-its. I terrified their 'autism expert' who was only an expert because she attended a 3 hr seminar on autism.

    Sometimes the threat of an advocate really does work, and sometimes the threat of bringing in a sp ed lawyer will also help. but you have to be 100% willing and able to actually produce said advocate or atty or it won't do any good.

    CB, you might also want to look for the civil rights person at the state board of ed/dept of education. That is where you go to find advocates, and I think that it was MWM who got help from that level by going to the civil rights enforcer also.
  19. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I was able to pretty much push my way through IEP's with my oldest because I had the Learning Disabilities tested for and knew what they were. This was so long ago though and I was so stupid I had no idea kids with behavioral disabilities had the same protections. I was involved with my oldest into early middle school when I realized that they could actually do an IEP on Cory! The sad thing was Jamie's teachers got together and basically worked out a 504 plan to follow him his entire school years without me having to even ask. They just saw he was on ritalin and how he acted and wished to help him. The same couldnt be said about Cory. I dont know why it was so different except we had a change in principal a year after Cory came into the school which meant Jamie had been there 3 years and Cory only one. This new principal was a woman and hated him on sight.
  20. Californiablonde

    Californiablonde Well-Known Member

    OH yeah, and what really gets me is when the teacher says the name calling and teasing is just "typical high school behavior" like ya know, "no big deal." Would she think it was no big deal if she was called fat and made fun of every day? I think not. Yes we will be getting an advocate. Now how do I contact the board of education?