Friday, January 25, 2008
We just got back from the Smile Day assembly at the boys' elementary school. Andrew was named Citizen Extraordinaire in the area of tolerance for his classroom. YOO HOO Andrew!! Unfortunately, it is being timed with a frustrating situation with his teacher. So I am not sure if she is trying to wash over the situation Ron and I infuriated about or if Andrew really earned it. I am sure he is very tolerant in school, if only he could tolerate his sister a bit better.
So this situation with his teacher... a few weeks ago, a packet of papers arrived home with a note attached. The note read "Andrew wasted an hour and a half of centers time today. He got no work done and will be losing recess and Fun Friday time. He will need to get the work done at home. Unfortunately, you won't have the resources to help him as the resources are in the classroom." Not the kind of note you hope to ever see. I asked Andrew about it, only to get shrugs and I don't knows.
The next morning, I called the teacher to ask about what happened. She explained that with the NYS testing going on, the classroom routine was out of whack. Their usual morning centers time for Social Studies was done in the afternoon and on that day it was longer ( 1 1/2 hours). She started the class explaining what the kids were to be working on, did the first question with them, and sent them out to do the rest on their own. Come to find out, there were two teachers in the room at the time. Both, his teacher and the reading resource teacher that Andrew works with. Andrew has struggled with ELA (english language arts) since preschool. He despises reading! Anyway, after an hour and 15 mins of centers time, Andrew came up to the teacher asking for help, still only on the 2nd question of the 1st sheet.
I was floored, I was flabbergasted, I was speechless!! I asked "was Andrew misbehaving?", No. "was he talking, goofing off, anything?", No.
He literally sat in his seat for an hour and a half and with two teachers in the room, no one noticed him or that he didn't know what to do!!! BOTH teachers, who know full well that Andrew doesn't advocate for himself, who know full well that Andrew struggles with reading and writing... left him to read and write for an hour and a half solid WITHOUT CHECKING ON HIM OR OFFERING HIM ANY SUPPORT!!! How can teachers do that? It was NINETY MINUTES!!! Not 10mins, 90 minutes of walking around the room, helping other kids, doing this and that while completely over looking a child they know struggles!!
Needless to say, the conversation with his teacher didn't go well. She said things like "if you think you can teach centers better you are welcome to come in and try". She told me "at some point Andrew has to take responsibility for his own education". (um, he's eight?) And when I said I felt her note was rather condescending, she said that she doesn't think I know what condescending means.
Grrrrr.... talk about making a Momma lion mad.
I broke into the conversation and simply said "my husband and I don't feel that Andrew is getting the support he needs in your classroom. What steps do we need to take to get him an IEP (individualized education plan) or other additional support?" And that is where we are going now. With meetings set up first thing next month to get additional services for him in regards to reading.
Now, two weeks later, out of the blue, Andrew is getting the tolerance award. I'll say he can tolerate a lot!!
I would love to hear other appalling teacher stories. It'll make me feel like I don't have things so bad. Please feel free to share!! (oh and I heard from another parent that this same teacher has been TAPING a student to his seat who won't keep still!!)