Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by gcvmom, May 22, 2011.
In true CYA mode, here is his heart-felt response:
And here (so far) is my reply:
YAY You! I Love it! May we copy and use as a template?
My biggest frustration with teachers and admin:
Love your response
These are the same exact issues my son has with schoolwork.
This is just like Jett's teachers who will say... He has to ASK for help.
No, it's in the IEP, it should already be in place.
Ugh. YOU, on the other hand - You go, girl!
Your response is excellent. I find his assertion that difficult child did not tell a complete story to be less than the truth. Yes, difficult child did not say that it was given in class or that time was given to do it in class. One of the biggest problems our kids have is with asking for help. Most of the kids in middle school with this kind of problem, or much of anything that makes them different, have a very hard time asking for help.What better way to get someone to not stand up for their rights than to work to convince them that they don't deserve them because it isn't "fair" to someone else, thus making them feel like they are essentially cheating in some way. Many kids don't mind being accused of cheating if they have done it, but when they have not and really haven't given any reason for the accusation, it is viciously painful and they then become unwilling to try to advocate for themselves again. Or they figure they may as well cheat because it is what the teacher thinks they are doing anyway.
There is nothing good that can come from asking a child if it is fair that he has accommodations. As in your letter, it isn't fair that he has the problems that he does. How many times do we, and other adults, tell kids that life is not fair? That fair is a nice idea but it is more a festival with rides and livestock shows than a concept that can truly be applied to life? Why is it that when difficult child says it isn't fair that he has to do something that the other kids don't, like take medications, or do extra practice so that they understand a problem, we tell them that life isn't fair and to get used to it. But when difficult child says that he is going to use the accommodations that were agreed upon suddenly he is supposed to realize that it isn't fair to let him hand work in late and he needs to agree that the world and high school are going to require more of him so he needs to hurry up and not need those accommodations?? How on earth does that make any sense.
I HATE when teachers decide that their rules/policies/whatevers must be followed or the student won't be able to function the next year. I realize it is close to the end of the school year and everyone is thinking about next year, but one teacher's late assignment policy in the fourth quarter will not make or break difficult child's high school success. Get Real. Yes, difficult child needs to know that rules are rules and boundaries are boundaries. But if he could do that just fine with no problems he wouldn't have an IEP or problems.
Comparing difficult child to ANYONE will only serve to damage his opinion of himself. Either he will think he is the greatest because he can do whatever better in some way or he will think he is awful and the worst because he can't do it the same as everyone else. Either way it sets up an emotional reaction that is not conducive to learning anything. There is NO reason to compare difficult child to his peers on the basis of when he turns in assignments. Esp not on the basis of using the accommodations that are provided to help him learn.
The whole tone of the letter makes me want to make that teacher spend a year trying to go through middle school with substantial learning disabilities and mental illness. Maybe then, and iwth a huge dose of empathy injected into him so he can feel it, he would know why all this is just so wrong. He is doing a great job of trying to make difficult child feel bad for using his accommodations and this may mean that difficult child accepts bad grades rather than turning in late work - just to try to be "fair" or because his self esteem is so bad that he thinks that it is all he deserves.
You write an awesome letter, and I am proud of you and of difficult child for standing up for his rights. Phooey on this teacher.
in my humble opinion - you are much too kind and politically correct... or at least, there's absolutely no way I could ever be that "kind and politically correct". Which is probably part of the reason teachers "duck" whenever I walk into the school???
These teachers - the ones who really think they are good - are the most damaging. "Do it my way" (or else), "if you'd just fit in and pay attention" (its your attitude, stupid), ETC. Its not even so much what they say, its the belief-system behind it. They actually believe that the student in question does not WANT to do well. They really don't believe THIS student needs the accommodations...
And unfortunately, it seems, teachers who have had their own special needs kids are 100x worse... they compare to their own kid and their own "success", and if your kid isn't making it in their class, then its either YOUR fault or the KIDS fault - or both.
And why does Social Studies always seem to be the WORST subject for this???
I would also point out that the "fences" were set by the IEP team and he has no right to move those fences in the 4th quarter. That you expect him to abide by his legal obligations to follow the IEP as written by the IEP team.
i cant believe that he said he should have "asked for help".
mine would not "ask for help" if she lay bleeding in the street...and mr social studies, as a father of a bipolar aspie, should probably also know its not unheard of for these kids to not be able to "ask for help".
i might have added that he needed worry about the high school workload demands since, as luck would have it, your difficult child 2 has an IEP with a modified workload and extra time to turn in those assignments.
but next time i need a letter, i know who to just who to ask....
Love your response!!
The only things I would change about your response -
"I take your point that difficult child should have asked for help; but surely you are aware that a major part of the problem is his inability to recognise he needs help, and then further inability to reach out and ask? It is desirable of course for him to be able to ask for help, it is one of the many goals we have. But he is a long way from there yet. It is one more area in which he is greatly disadvantaged compared to his peers."
"I do not believe difficult child deliberately withheld any information from me. I believe he told me the full story, as he understood it to be. His ability to stay focussed on work in class is hampered compared to other students, it is one of the many reasons we have an IEP. Our goal for him is to one day be able to function as an independent, productive and happy member of society. We recognise that his path to that goal will not be smooth and will in fact involve a lot of hard work form many people. It will also take him a lot longer. But nevertheless, it remains our goal."
Other than that - I do endorse your gentler, "easy child" approach. You can catch more flies with honey than vinegar.
Marg, thanks for the suggestions husband read my version and felt I was being a bit combative, LOL. I haven't sent the message yet and am still mulling it all over.
Lately I just feel so fed up with people who think they can mistreat others and get away with it that I feel compelled to speak out -- even if it means stepping on a few toes. But you are right about vinegar and flies -- perhaps a bit o' honey rimmed around the vessel of vinegar that I plan to drown them all in!
One of the things I have learnt from my experience with my little gift from god is that, almost all of the time, honey catches more flies than vinegar Just occasionally, however, when the timing is right and much discrimination has been used to discern that timing - a shocking dose of vinegar is what is needed to turn things around to the good.
For you to judge what will work in this case, of course.
Personally, I don't think your response was that combative - the first paragraph was the "toughest", but that's where you addressed the major issue.
This is like a chapter out of "Lost in School" by Ross Greene.
I agree that it is important for our difficult children to be challenged from time to time, but teachers who believe it is their personal role to "toughen" up our kids and prepare them for the future have usually been the ones that have done the complete opposite and shut my difficult child down.
I read that as SS teacher asking that student (not difficult child) if it was fair.
Kiddo also has a difficult time knowing when she needs to ask for help, or even doing it when she does know.
I wonder if these teachers realize how HARD it is for even a non-difficult child child to ask for help. A pet peeve of mine is that my daughter is expected to "ask for help" or she won't get it. Why? "She has to learn to empower herself." Yes, but she has a lot of time for that. Why do they have to ask for help at fourteen to be able to do it at twenty-six?
Your letter was great. I would have been a lot more hostile You go!!!!
I'm in agreement. I was not a difficult child but I was painfully shy. Never asked for help from anyone until I was married, with-2 kids, and my difficult child got to be too much for me!
There is no way our difficult child will ask for help. Sigh. I feel for you both.
I can see why that teacher was chosen to help out with-the IEP soc studies class, since he has a kid with-bipolar and Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). He's been through the ringer! Even though it sounds good, though, that doesn't mean that his classroom attitude is stellar.
Best of luck.
Consider it a learning curve. For him. Because I doubt that the same problem will happen again. With him.
Save the letter.
Good job mama! You are a true advocate for your son. You also give this social studies teacher a chance to ponder his ways. While he may not say it to you or your son, he may be a bit more reflective in the future. As a teacher, I pray that he is reflective and learns from this. I am always so sad to hear these things because it is just these many events that give us (teachers) such a bad name. We are not all like this and by the way, I am a mom with a difficult child and I would not ever treat a child or his family like this. Stay the course! You did right.
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