Does anyone help out in their difficult child's classroom?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Jules71, Nov 2, 2010.

  1. Jules71

    Jules71 Warrior Mom since 2007

    Well I had my meeting with the principal, teacher, and sp ed teacher about the organizational challenges we are having in difficult child's class. I brought along my new friend the advocate from the Special Education Parent Advisory Council. She was great by the way. One of the things the principal suggested I do is spend time in the classroom. Since practically the beginning of time, whenever I visit my difficult child's classroom he behaves worse. It's like he feels like he doesn't have to hold it together like he would if I wasn't there. The principal didn't seem to understand me or believe what I was saying. Does anyone else have this problem and how do you deal with it? Any tips for making this work?
  2. shellyd67

    shellyd67 Active Member

    Jules, I have volunteered at school for both kiddos for parties, holiday's, etc.... easy child is fine when I am in the classroom and difficult child squirms as soon as I walk in the room. I have never been asked to be present or monitor his day but I can tell you that if I were he would definetly act out .. your difficult child's principal sounds like Wee's principal ... Why can't these educators listen to the parents ? Let me know how it goes....
  3. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Not every child reacts this way but I have known quite a few who do. Sometimes it is just the child. Other times it is because the child KNOWS that Mommy will blame others for anything he does. I was a room mother with a woman who believed her son could do now wrong and his doodoo didn't smell. When she wasn't around he was really nice and well behaved. If she was there he was a MONSTER - hitting, rude to everyone, demanding things, it was always his turn, etc.... and his mother would rave about how her son had such excellent manners and all of his classmates were awful and rude and liars and bullies. It became a running joke around the PTA and the teacher's lounge.
  4. confuzzled

    confuzzled Member

    i've volly'd in both kids classrooms and i can, without a shadow of a doubt say that yes, things get worse. (at least when they were younger--now difficult child 1 probably wouldnt care much, and difficult child 2 would be mortified at my mere presense)

    but frankly, in my opinion, the whole class falls apart when a parent or any new person is in the classroom so i've never taken it personally. its more interesting than whatever goes one all day long, its exciting for them to see someone new, in some cases it becomes a who can outdo whom for attention, and on and on.

    i realize someone has to do it....but umm, i'll pass that torch happily :-D

    i highly suggest just going with your gut on it. unless you go to some kind of private school or religious school, i dont believe its mandatory to make a parent volunteer, and if it is, you could always offer to makes copies (dittos?!, LOL), cut out the million valentine/shamrock/wreaths that need to be cut, or whatever *in the office* to fulfill that requirement.
  5. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    I couldn't volunteer directly with-Duckie when she was younger but I found other ways. The ironic thing was that I could work with other kiddos but not Duckie. I would state, unequivocally, that you don't believe that your volunteering or monitoring in difficult child's classroom would help the situation and may in fact lead to further distractions for the classroom.
  6. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    With mine it depends. If kiddo asks me to be there, she's ok. on the other hand, if I choose to do it just because I want to, she can act like a spoiled brat.
  7. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    There is no way I could volunteer in difficult child's classroom!!! His behavior would probably only be worse. Thankfully, I work full time so it has never been an issue.
  8. Jules71

    Jules71 Warrior Mom since 2007

    I feel like I am going to blow a gasket today! When I was in the meeting and the principal spent 20 minutes encouraging me to spend some time in the classroom (like I am not involved enough as it is) - I REALLY wish I would have thought to invite him and the teacher to come and spend some time in our home, especially after the medication has worn off and he is running around like a maniac bothering everyone to death. I would have loved to have said - come on over, I really encourage you to come and see how his life is and WHY I am asking you repeatedly to make sure he brings home his homework assignments, coats, lunch bags, etc. each and every day. I told him in the meeting my son doesn't bring home his coat and lunch bags most of the time because everything is in a pile on the floor by the coat hooks so no wonder he can't find it. I had to search thru a mountain of stuff and found 2 coats and one of his sweatshirts. He is still missing one coat and 2 lunch bags. The principal told me I could come in and be in charge of hanging the stuff up! I told him NO I will not hang the stuff up, I will TEACH the children to do so! For cryin out loud! Ok thanks for letting me vent. It has been a hellacious day!
  9. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    Film it and make a DVD to show them.
  10. Jules71

    Jules71 Warrior Mom since 2007

    That's a great idea! Not sure if you meant at home or when I help in the class but I am thinking both - and I'll even make popcorn for the viewing with the principal and teacher. Tonight has been a doozy. I am beat.
  11. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    Why doesn't the teacher make a point of picking up the items and holding them up for ID? Even once a week would get the stuff off the floor and out of the classroom. I do that when I only takes about 5 minutes to hold up coats, lunch boxes, etc. and have the kids put them in their backpacks.
  12. Jules71

    Jules71 Warrior Mom since 2007

    I have been asking myself that same question. I have been in contact with her almost daily. I have been in contact with the Special Education teacher several times per week. And now I have even had a meeting with the principal yesterday morning and provided him all of the emails, lists, spreadsheets, documentation I have showing the effort I have made to get this resolved and STILL - it's a problem. It involves bringing home and returning planner and homework and coats and lunch bags. I just don't get it at all. Not one bit.
  13. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    If you want to know my trick to getting out of volunteering I will give it to you...make awful looking cupcakes for the next holiday! I kid you not, I think my first go at attempting to be a good room mom and bring in the Xmas cupcakes was such a disaster that it went into my oldest sons permanent record with a note to not ever ask me to volunteer for anything .... EVER!

    Now the poor cupcakes tasted wonderful but I frosted them with red and green frosting and stuck those Peep's Santa's and Snowmen on top and they just looked I am not a cake decorator. I tried though! I had wanted to get those little candies made out of the same thing as candy corn but couldnt find them. Oh well...probably saved me years of hard work.

    Another thing you can do if you dont want to volunteer is sniffle a lot and talk about pesky cocaine habits. LOL. They wont want you anywhere near the school. You dont have to actually SAY you use cocaine...just kind of make a joke. They actually are supposed to run background checks on volunteers these days...people cant have a record but a teacher can...makes so much sense to me.
  14. Jules71

    Jules71 Warrior Mom since 2007

    You are HILLARIOUS Janet!!! I sooooo needed that laugh. Thanks. :grins:
  15. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member


    Don't cave to the pressure of this principal. She/he has not walked a mile in your shoes and is feeding you a standard, "students who have parents that are involved in school do better" line. Not saying it's not true, but he/she is grasping here.

    Having said that, I believe it is of the utmost importance for every parent to choose something to become involved with at their child's school - I have seen the result of complacency in education - but there are tons of things you can do without being in the classroom.

  16. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    I think you'd need special permission to film in the school at most places.
    As for volunteering, I can't afford to take a day off work to do it even though I'd like to.
  17. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    You need to tell the principal that difficult child's disorganization and forgetfulness is a manifestation of his disability and insist that it be addressed in his IEP.
  18. Jules71

    Jules71 Warrior Mom since 2007

    EXACTLY! Now I am getting info from this advocate from SEPAC that she was told by the Assist. Dir of Special Education that if we PUSH to re-evaluate him (because his 3 yr re-evaluation time is coming up) that he probably will not qualify for an IEP because his academics are not suffering. I have approached the Special Education teacher/IEP manager about additional things that need to be added to his IEP and they aren't doing it. I need to know what to do because this is obviously a problem that is not being addressed. The teacher just emailed me and said he isn't bringing his homework home because he is avoiding having to do homework. Well guess what - he is still having to do it because I can print out the math worksheets online and I have also had other parents fax me the homework. If I stop doing what I am doing, he will FAIL.
  19. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Have you been able to identify exactly why the principal wants you to volunteer? Is it because he wants parent volunteers (ie "we encourage all parents to be part of the school community in an active capacity") or does he want you there in difficult child 3's classroom to observe and perhaps assist, as a sort of unpaid (but expert) aide?

    Some suggestions I have for you:

    1) Show willing. Make it clear that you are very supportive of the school and parental involvement. It really does help in so many ways, when it comes to the school paying attention to you in other ways.

    2) If you are concerned that your presence in your son's classroom will be a disruptive influence, then warn them. But try to keep your presence hidden as far as possible - I used to keep myself out of HGFG3's line of sight. He knew I was there, but if I stayed away from him and helped another student at the back of the class, it made a big difference. I also found the observation very useful; I felt my presence was disruptive so I said so to the teacher. He replied, "No, your presence actually made no difference. he is always like that." Which worried me greatly, and was one big reason for our choice to remove him from mainstream.

    3) There are other ways to volunteer that definitely keep you out of your son's classroom, but still on the premises in very useful ways. I used to volunteer as a reading tutor, where I would take one student (or sometimes two or three) outside under a tree to sit and work on their reading. The teacher was very grateful for the intensive support. I also used to take a lunchtime class teaching chess to the kids. The school really valued this. It kept me out of difficult child 3's classroom but it also kept me exposed to the students who could then tell me 'secrets' about difficult child 3's behaviour, or even the teacher's behaviour towards him. That information was gold.

    If you are a volunteer, especially if you are providing a valuable and irreplaceable service to the school, they are more likely to do the right thing by your child because they don't want to lose YOU. It's not right, it's not fair, but it does make a difference for your child.

    Fundraising is a good one - I have a lot of ideas if you want me to pass them on to you.