Is it ok for your child to remind the teacher...

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by tinamarie1, Feb 19, 2008.

  1. tinamarie1

    tinamarie1 Member

    of what is written in his IEP? Last week, during a math assignment, difficult child was having problems with long division. (keep in mind he has an A in math)...He ran into a really hard problem and pulled out his calculator. A student yelled out "MRS X..."D" has a calculator" and the whole class started "OOOOOOOHHHH NOOOing" and Mrs X marched over to difficult child's desk and demanded for him to give her the calculator. Instead of handing it over right away, difficult child said very polietly, "Mrs. X, it is written in my IEP that I can use a calculaor and a multiplication chart if I need it". This set Mrs. X on fire...she said that he was rude and talked back to her. She also responded to him that she will call the principal. To which difficult child said, "Ok" (he was fine with her calling the principal). So, she confiscated the calculator.
    The next day I called the head of Special Education at our school and told her what had happened. She immediately remembered this "rule" in his IEP and said she would remind his teacher of it. I told her I would GREATLY appreciate it if Mrs. X would take the time to know what my sons IEP says. Her response to the spec. ed lady was "well, he hasn't used the calculator in months" ie: he doesn't really need it. Then she told her that difficult child was rude to her. So, I want to you guys think your kids know what is in their IEP's/504's and how do you feel about your kids reminding the teacher of what is in it? I am so sick of the schools acting like our kids are prisioners and have no rights.
  2. Personally, I would ask for a meeting with the teacher and Special Education coordinator. We have had the same problem with our difficult child. His 504 plan allows him extra time to make it between classes in his very large high school building. One teacher kept sending him to the attendance office (even more walking, which is sooo difficult for him as he has an orthopedic impairment) and he eventually had to go to detention.When I wanted to know why, he told me it was for "tardies".

    I requested a meeting immediately and after everyone finally voiced understanding of the 504 plan (some teachers had not read it, even though we had a group meeting and I met with them all indivdually). The last group meeting worked - no more tardies (at least for this semester :)

    I think most teachers are truly overwhelmed with papers, and some papers get forgotten. I'm guessing that the teacher in this situation did not appreciate being reminded by difficult child of something that she (the adult) should have remembered. I say "Good for difficult child"! I wish my difficult child would stick up for himself like that!
  3. GinAndTonic

    GinAndTonic New Member

    Hah! Good for difficult child (so long as he really was polite about it).
  4. slsh

    slsh member since 1999

    Tinamarie - unfortunately, this is a no win situation. The teacher's response doesn't surprise me in the least. I'm not saying it's right - she was unquestionably inappropriate. But... I can't think of a single teacher I've ever run into who would accept a "reminder" no matter how respectful from a sped student about what's in the IEP. Heck, they get torqued if *I* remind them.

    I do think it's good for our kids to know what's in the IEP. Being a good advocate for themselves is ideal, and kudos to your kiddo.

    Personally, I would document this incident in writing (certified always) to sped dir with cc: to teacher. I would also point out that while difficult child has made strides, the IEP currently in effect states he is to have access to calculator when needed. Period. Because I'm a thorn, I'd also request a public apology from teacher to child since she was absolutely without question wrong and submitted him to public humiliation unnecessarily. She should share same. :devil:

    I'd also ask, via sped dir, what is the proper manner for your kiddo to remind teacher of IEP contents should she "forget" in the future.
  5. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Yes, difficult child should remind them. My son has gone through this several times and the teachers about have him convinced that he doesn't need these accommodations because they are a PITA. But, I still tell him he needs to mention these things, quietly and respectfully.
  6. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Well, that is the crux of the problem as I see it.

    I get around this by allowing all students in my inclusion classes to use calculators. Otherwise the calculator use makes the Special Education students stand out and the regular ed students feel that it is not fair that they don't get to use one, too. So it's a battle that I'm not willing to fight. Of course, at younger ages I could see why a teacher would not want to let all students use one.

    Oh, and I disagree that all teachers would get upset if a student or parent reminded them about something in an IEP. It's all in the presentation. Just my two cents.

  7. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Interestingly enough in my class I'm not sure other kids would complain about not being able to use the calculator if they saw someone else using it. Of course, this year I have a great bunch of kids and we talked early in the year about how treating everyone fairly doesn't mean treating everyone the same but giving everyone what they need. I do allow some students to use a multiplication chart and no one has ever complained to me about it.

    It's too bad the teacher handled it so poorly. It should have been handled better. I know if someone reminded me, in a polite manner, of something in the IEP I would not be upset.
  8. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    difficult child reminded several of her teachers about IEP accomodations and some took it well, others not so much. In particular,

    Her SS teacher was angry with her when she said she wanted to do one half of a test in class and the other in resource room (in her IEP that she can have untimed testing and broken up, as long as it is completed in resourse class). He told her no and she failed the test. Chances are good that she would have failed the test anyway, but that was besides the point. difficult child 'reminded' him that she was allowed to break up her exams and he must have felt stupid in front of his other students and chose to send difficult child to the principals office, just to cool her heels sitting there the remainder of the class. difficult child called me at work. Before the day was over, it was cleared up but still too late for her to take the test and he refused to allow her a makeup. That teacher gave us problems all year - in fact, he told me that difficult child was lazy, which she was, but that wasn't the ONLY reason her work wasn't getting done on time and he just didn't seem to get that. Urgh.

    Her English teacher was once reminded by difficult child that she needed the notes from class. The teacher said no. I called and reminded her of difficult child's IEP and she was very pleasant. difficult child's IEP stated that difficult child could request a copy of the teacher's notes at any time if she wasn't following along with class notes or discussion. This teacher was one of our faves.

    As long as your child is polite, I think it's okay for him to remind the teacher. Also, I would advise you to perhaps try a little role playing should the situation arise again. And I'd also advise your difficult child to seek out his Special Education teacher to explain himself to avoid further confusion.
  9. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    Although Miss KT doesn't have an IEP, most of her teachers have been receptive to making "reasonable accomodations" over the years, such as allowing her to spell the words on the test orally since they get lost between brain and paper, and letting her chew gum and fiddle with things during class. I think it's totally OK for the kids to self advocate. That's an important skill.
  10. ShakespeareMamaX

    ShakespeareMamaX New Member

    I have to constantly remind the school of what's in my difficult child's plan. I don't see any problem in your difficult child reminding them. In my opinion, the teacher should have a copy of the plan on hand at all times (as well as the principal, etc...).

    Good luck!
  11. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I think that not all teachers would have a problem with a respctful and polite reminder of what is in the IEP.

    I also think what our difficult children (and pcs) think is polite is not what the rest of the world thinks is polite.

    In a situation wehre the other kids have made a big deal of it, the teacher may be flustered and unaware of how to handle it with-o calls from a lot of parents about "unfair" policies. Or she may have been in the middle of a rough day.

    Advocating for yourself in a polite and respectful way is an important thing to know when out of school, but it is also hard to learn. And some people will always have a tough time when reminded of a mistake.

    It sounds like your letter should be sent to the sp ed director, the teacher, and the principal. It needs to be documented so that if you have further problems you have a leg to stand on re: multiple/continueing problems. Leaving the principal out of the loop is not a good move. The principal is the person who will deal with "behavior problems" your child presents. He/she needs to know of problems the teacher poses.

    Maybe you could ask the teacher nicely (in person) how she would like difficult child to remind her when there is a difficulty that is covered by the IEP? Maybe phrase it that she has SO MANY students with different needs she would be Superwoman if she could keep it straight 100% of the time (this is mostly true in schools nowadays), so how could difficult child remind her when a situation like this comes up? STress that you want him to be polite and respectful, but that he has an IEP for a reason.

    Hoepfully there will not be future problems. It is hard on teacher AND student when this happens.

  12. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    Not only is it ok, it's a good skill to have. So many of our kiddos deal with self esteem issues because of their struggles that advocating for themselves does not come naturally. I know my difficult child would not have said a word in her defense, but would have been miserable the rest of the day, come home in tears and major panic attack the next school morning.

    Teaching children to advocate for themselves diplomatically is an important task.

    The teacher was out of line. Before sending difficult child to the office, she should have checked his IEP. Makes her seem rather small.
  13. dreamer

    dreamer New Member

    I had read this thread, then got offline to go oversee easy child do some of her makeup work for cooking class (from when she was out with her pneumoina) and while watching her go thru her work.I remembered what got posted LOL while I was helping my easy child.

    Yes, advocating for oneself is a very important and valuable life skill. It is a grat thing for everyone to learn, whether difficult child or typical teen or whatever.
    Matter of fact it was written in to all our IEPs here for our kids to advocate for themself, to learn to identify and state their needs. It was also policy at all our schools from middle school on, that the child attend the IEP meetings and offer input insight and ideas. SOooooooo at these grade levels especially, a child more than likely (here at our schools) will know what is in their own IEP and also will know which teachers were part of the iep creating.

    My easy child does NOT have an IEP, has no need for an IEP, but, she OFTEN has need to advocate for herself at school, to teachers.
    My son often had need to remind teachers WHY he wore sunglasses in school (sunglasses in general, are NOT ever permitted here) and Buffy more than once was accused of possessing a forged escape pass and needed to advocate and speak up and handle this issue.
    Politeness is of utmost importance, but, I know there were several times I personally witnessed out of sight, my children being polite and respectful, and school staff NOT being the same . And considering many teachers get frustrated when they have "taught" a student something and the student seems to have forgotten, some teachers might be setting the role model for a student to become frustrtaed when their teacher forgets something they should remember.

    Yes, I do think it is OK for a child to respectfully and politely remind a teacher. And the child should be thanked and praised for doing so. Seems to me, this child might have been NOT the one to disrupt the class so much as the teacher herself is the one who disrupted the class. And also disrupted this childs momentum with this class lesson.
  14. dreamer

    dreamer New Member

    UM to clarify- LOL- I remembered what I was thinking while with easy child but when I got back here to the thread, others had already posted what I had been thinking, LOL.

    Also to clarify, I am not saying or meaning ALL teachers are not good. Nor am I saying or meaning all difficult children will be polite. Teachers are simply human beings and like anyone else, they come in all kinds. And some very well CAN be difficult children themselves. And a difficult child who is often unruly or difficult, can be polite but if the teacher has already had enough from a certain child, it might not matter to the teacher just how polite the child might be. Or, the childs MOST polite might still not be polite enough for some teachers.

    Akward situation. But I stand by my belief, yes, the child should be commended for speaking up for him or herself. (so long as it was not abnoxious and rude)
  15. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    SLSH - spot on. All kudos to the kid, as long as he was quiet and polite. That teacher sounds like about half the teachers at our local school, who WOULD NOT take kindly to such a reminder in front of the other kids, and who would designate it as "rude" merely for being told publicly they had made a mistake.

    And in the middle of a test, too. I had a teacher do that to me once (years ago, when it was far more common for teachers to act like the Almighty and treat students like dirt) and my mother went to the school to sort it out with the teacher. No mean feat for her - it was a two hour round trip by public transport.

    I think it's good for a difficult child to know what they are entitled to, as long as they don't get pushy about it. And if a student is accused of misdemeanour which has arisen from a teacher's mistake (or some other infraction against the student) I do not feel the student should be penalised. For example, if a police officer tried to rape you and you resisted, would he be able to make a charge of "resisting an arrest" stick, if it turned out that the charges against you were in fact nonexistent and you knew at the time that it was only a ruse? (as long as you could prove your case, of course). It wouldn't here, anyway.

    As for a difficult child having 'perks' not available to others - I can see how use of calculator could be a tricky one to manage, but depending on what the perks are, it can be done. difficult child 3 was permitted to have a Discman with headphones in the classroom for him to listen to when the teacher assigned bookwork. We were getting desperate in trying to find ways to drown out all the little classroom noises which were such a total distraction and annoyance for him. And when the other kids wanted to know why THEY couldn't also bring in a Discman, the teacher explained that the only music permitted was Easy Listening/Classical, with no lyrics. Booooring... difficult child 3 was asked to let kids listen, if they didn't believe it. After that there were no more requests. Plus the kids all knew about difficult child 3's autism. Bleedin' obvious, among other things.

    Years ago when easy child 2/difficult child 2 & easy child were studying singing in a major Aussie choir, they were sent on choir camp to get ready for a major concert. The different branches of the choir were all mixed in together on this camp - several hundred kids, with easy child 2/difficult child 2 being the youngest. She was also very bright, but very literal-minded.
    One class was being taken by the conductor of another choir, with our group's choir mistress sitting in. The class teacher said to the kids, "Stop your workbooks for the moment, I want to rehearse that song for the next half hour. We will get back to the workbooks before lunch, I promise. Someone remind me if I forget."
    The song rehearsal went longer than expected and the teacher, after half an hour, was interrupted by easy child 2/difficult child 2. "Excuse me miss, you said to remind you that we were to get back to our workbooks before lunch."
    The teacher just looked at her and said witheringly, "And WHO are YOU?" before totally ignoring her. easy child 2/difficult child 2 has always been incredibly sensitive - she had thought she was doing as she was told and got into big trouble for it. Our conductor tried to calm her down over lunch, but she was very upset and very unresponsive for the rest of camp. I heard this story from the girls' conductor herself, as we collected the kids. She felt I needed to know, as she could see that easy child 2/difficult child 2 was still upset about it.

    We did talk it over with easy child 2/difficult child 2, explained that she HAD done the right thing but some people do not like to be publicly corrected by a little child, even if they have apparently invited it. We warned her that this sort of thing would happen again but to not take it personally, it shows a lack in the other person's graciousness and also provides a warning to in future treat those people with the utmost respect almost to the point of grovelling, regardless of the justice of the situation. "It's not fair, it's just how it is sometimes," we told her. "Practice this now and you will be able to work with the most difficult people later in life. You could even get a career in diplomacy."

    Somehow I doubt she'll ever be a diplomat, but she has learnt to take this sort of thing when fighting it is pointless. She just rages about it later, and will not work for such a person if she can avoid it.

  16. slsh

    slsh member since 1999

    Ack - Kathy and Sharon, and any other teachers, my apologies. Didn't mean to step in it there. I shouldn't have generalized across the board. What I should have said is that based on my experience only, teachers get defensive when *I* bring up the IEP goals/accommodation outside of the actual IEP mtg and so this teacher's response to a child doesn't surprise me at all.

    I think there may also be a difference between tolerance in elementary school versus HS. I would guess HS teachers have to be more ... open to discussion from their students since they're dealing with teens. Does that make sense? And that's a guess on my part since we have yet to make it to anything approaching a reg. ed. HS setting in this family. I do know that in the elementary and jr. high setting here, what teachers say goes and any feedback from the kids is considered disrespectful and back talk.

    Again, my apologies. I'm sure there are reasonable people out there.
  17. SaraT

    SaraT New Member

    Good for him! My difficult child has had to remind several teachers of what is in her IEP. Some have taken it well, others not so good. I think it depends on personallity of teacher and stress level at the time.

    I am trying to help the teachers by having a summary page put into the IEP, and in substitute teacher file. IEP's can be big and hard to read, so to clarify and help, a summary page of the triggers and accommodations may help. That way difficult child could simply ask something like "Would you please look at summary page, I think I can have calculator?" That way the teacher can go look and if difficult child is right say, well, yes you may. If difficult child is wrong, teacher can show difficult child the summary page. Sometimes being able to phrase a reminder as a question goes over better and is perceived more respectfuly by some teachers. Just my 2 cents.
  18. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    Speaking as a substitute teacher, it would be WONDERFUL if the regular teachers would leave a list specifying things like calculator use, bathroom policies for specific students, any behavior quirks...but most do not, and it can be very frustrating. Our kids don't wear signs that say "ADHD with anger issues" or "bladder control problems-when I gotta go, I gotta go" or "I have mild autism", and for mental disorders, you can't tell by looking at the kids. I try to be aware and sensitive, especially since I have a difficult child, but if the teacher doesn't tell me, I don't know.