Manipulative Teacher...I'm about to Snap.

Discussion in 'Debate & Marathon Threads Archive' started by StudentQ, Apr 25, 2012.

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  1. MikeTeachesMath

    MikeTeachesMath Devotee

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    Apr 25, 2012

    Am I the only one sitting here wondering why a teacher teaching AP English is putting so much emphasis on verbal communication that it's affecting a student's grade so much?
     
  2. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Apr 25, 2012

    Many schools adopt a collaborative learning model. It doesn't seem abnormal to me. I suspect that there is a lot more to this situation than what we're reading about here.
     
  3. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    Apr 25, 2012

    Nope. You are not.

    Our AP classes have much discussion but the grades are primarily on individual work. Tests, quizzes, essays, independent projects, etc. Group discussions and small group work is there to aid understanding.

    Well, you know. There is that 21st century learning buzz floating around as the new way to teach.
     
  4. MikeTeachesMath

    MikeTeachesMath Devotee

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    Okay, but it's a college-level course designed by the CollegeBoard. I took both English Language and English Literature, and my grade was based on essays and exams. Group work came into play once each year during a project at the end of the semester.

    I agree with your last statement though.

    Exactly. I don't think the teacher should be placing such a great emphasis on collaborative work. That's not what AP is about. The AP exam isn't a group exam!
     
  5. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Apr 25, 2012

    AP courses evolve. The course as it exists today might be different from what it was when you took it, even if it was just a couple of years ago. The AP course that I teach has been through many huge overhauls in just the last 5 years.

    Found this on the College Board website:

    Each unit requires students to acquire and use rich vocabulary, to use standard English grammar, and to understand the importance of diction and syntax in an author’s style. Therefore, students are expected to develop the following through reading, discussion, and writing assignments:
    a wide-ranging vocabulary used appropriately and effectively;
    • a variety of sentence structures, including appropriate use of subordination and coordination;
    • logical organization, enhanced by specific techniques to increase coherence, such as repetition, transitions, and emphasis;
    • a balance of generalization and specific illustrative detail; and
    • an effective use of rhetoric including controlling tone, establishing and maintaining voice, and achieving appropriate emphasis through diction and sentence structure.


    If the student believes that the teacher is violating the spirit of the AP course, then perhaps the student needs to contact the College Board. I do not believe that this will solve this student's problems because I believe that they go much deeper than this English class.
     
  6. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    Apr 25, 2012

    The 21st Century learning buzz IS floating around. Some of our schools are already using this model. Next year, ALL of the schools will be using the model in all classes because it will be state-mandated.

    Since the issue here involves an AP English course, there is a very good chance the teacher has decided to adopt the new learning model early so her classes will already be following the model if her district or state makes the model mandatory.

    MikeTeachesMath - many teachers have mentioned that verbal communication is part of their state standards for English. The same could easily be true for this class. Questioning why the teacher puts so much emphasis on it would be similar to the English teacher wanting to know why you put so much emphasis on polynomials or graphing functions.

    Maybe this teacher puts more emphasis on that standard than others (for whatever reason), but if it IS a state standard, then that would explain why the teacher feels it is so important.
     
  7. sprinting

    sprinting Rookie

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    This is a huge movement in the area of the US I'm teaching in. My district requires all teachers to focus on student-talk and student centered learning. We are even officially evaluated on how successfully we incorporate these strategies. Actually, speaking and listing is incorporated in the new Common Core for English.
     
  8. MikeTeachesMath

    MikeTeachesMath Devotee

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    Not really. It would be like me placing emphasis on word problems. Some people, including myself, suck at word problems. I'm a visual learner. I can't look at a block of math jargon and say "Oh! Answer is 5. Next." It would be unfair for me to make tests 80% word problems and 20% straight-forward equations/expressions. Yet that's what this teacher appears to be doing... except with group work and verbal communication (which is tested where on the AP exam, again? Oh yeah, nowhere...)
     
  9. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Apr 25, 2012

    "What this teacher appears to be doing" is completely subjective and based only on the reports of this obviously upset and disgruntled student. Consider the source.

    Word problems are being emphasized in math classes, with the focus on improving reading and writing scores across the board. I know that you already know that, but I think it's important to say anyway. Our math classes are easily 50% word problems.

    It's not good enough to say that because you "suck at" a particular skill that that skill shouldn't be assessed. Isn't the purpose of school to develop skills that have not been developed? If all we're going to do is allow students to stay within the bubble they are already in, we're not helping them. Furthermore, learning styles are all well and good, but all students are responsible for learning the content, in whatever format that content appears.
     
  10. MikeTeachesMath

    MikeTeachesMath Devotee

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    Okay, but I'm talking as if the student is telling the truth, and that the reason s/he has a D is because s/he is suffering in the speaking portion.

    I'm aware that word problems are being emphasized, yes. However, that does not mean I should make my tests 80% word problems. Riddle me this: a student masters the definite integral and knows that it means area under the curve, distance traveled, accumulation, etc., and they express it perfectly in straight-forward problems. However, I tell them that f(x) models the amount of water drained out of a tub, and to find the amount of water drained after t minutes, and they stumble. They just can't apply the fact that water drained at time t = the definite integral from 0 to t of f(x). Now, I make my test 80% word problems. Whoops, there goes that student's grade. How is that fair? They know their content. They know what definite integrals are and how they work, but just because they're a different type of learner that my exams are biased toward, they fail. That's not fair and I refuse to believe that's good teaching.

    And I'm not saying that students who suck at word problems shouldn't have any on their exams. Not at all. I'm just saying that tests and final grades shouldn't cater to one type of student and/or one type of learning or skill.
     
  11. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Given the requirements for AP courses and the fact that the syllabus needs to go through a pretty stringent approval process, I'm reasonably certain that this course is in line what AP standards and expectations.

    For the sake of argument, let's say that the teacher is completely wrong about the way he or she is grading. If that's the case, what's the solution? Going all Columbine? Joining Al-Qaeda? Honestly, that sounds really unreasonable to me. If a student like the OP, who seems intelligent and articulate, can't find a more reasonable solution than becoming a murderer/terrorist, well....All I can do is shrug. The OP has been given a lot of advice, most of which has been the suggestion to seek professional, therapeutic help. The student refuses. If the student isn't open to reasonable advice and solutions, then what more is there to discuss here?
     
  12. MikeTeachesMath

    MikeTeachesMath Devotee

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    Yup I'm aware of the approval process for AP courses. But I'm also aware that teachers do make changes without consulting AP.

    I'm not siding with the student here. It's almost May. Where was the student back in September? Why did s/he wait until now to say something? Too little too late.
     
  13. bison

    bison Habitué

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    Apr 26, 2012

    Well. I'm going to ignore all of the squabbling and address the OP. Frankly, I'm surprised at the insensitivity towards a kid who is reaching out for help.

    OP: Listen, what a lot of people (especially educators, I think) either don't realize or fail to tell students is that much of the time, high school really really sucks. Sure, some people have an easy time. A lot of people don't. We forget that when we work in education because we care about it and we think it's important. Still though, it can really suck. Being a teen is really difficult sometimes. Your emotions are intense, your peers can be jerks, and you don't have a lot of control over your own life. I HATED high school and I had a really miserable time. I was alone, depressed, and didn't have much hope. There were also some teachers and admin that made my life hell when I was already struggling. You know what though? Once I got out of there, things got better. It's not going to be the best time of your life. Whoever said that was full of crap. It really DOES get better. It feels like it's the whole world right now because right now it is your whole world, but it won't be for much longer. I don't know what to do about your situation, but hang in there. You'll be done soon and you'll be able to move on and live your life in a way that makes you happy.

    I really do recommend getting professional help as well. I know it sounds awful, but it really isn't. They don't tamper with your thoughts, as you said. They would be on your side, helping you find solutions and ways to cope with anxiety. It's your choice to make, no one can force you. It would be wise though. Most people I know have seen some sort of counselor at once point or another. I have and I will again if I'm going through a rough patch. It's helpful to have a person to talk to who is outside of the situation and you know will be honest with you. They will also be able to get involved in your education and help you navigate this mess.
     
  14. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Apr 26, 2012

    Don't think a soul has been insensitive... I am in absolute agreement with Caesar at the top of the page.

    But I also agree with you, Bison. High school being "the best days"? Uh, no. And my high school experience wasn't horrific.
     
  15. Sunflower883

    Sunflower883 Rookie

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    Apr 26, 2012

    I'm really concerned about the level of anxiety you are experiencing right now. First of all, it is urgent that you see professional help to help you with your anxiety!!! Thoughts of suicide are a HUGE red flag and need to be addressed now!!! Your level of stress with this issue is above your means to handle this situation at this point.
     
  16. TeachOn

    TeachOn Habitué

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    Apr 26, 2012

    We do not offer AP courses in English, preferring not to get ourselves entangled in all these fads and edupolitical nonsense. We do offer honors courses. Students who take AP tests in English are offered a short workshop on the ins and outs of the test, and they do very well. Only about half of the test takers have taken an honors course: they are very challenging.

    This does not work in other disciplines, in which the balance between skills and content is very different than in English, where the tests are heavily on the skills side. In other disciplines, we do offer courses which take cognizance of the content to be mastered to do well in the test for that discipline.
     
  17. comaba

    comaba Cohort

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    Apr 26, 2012

    Frankly, I'm shocked that an educator mother and psychologist father haven't initiated therapy for their child who doesn't speak and has been apparently depressed for most of a year. Per OP, they are aware of the problems. :dizzy:
     
  18. isabunny

    isabunny Comrade

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    Apr 26, 2012

    I know lots of Seniors/Juniors that just want High School to be over. I know I did! I had no friends my last couple years of high school and was also quiet/shy. I couldn't even make phone calls, because I was too shy to speak. Going to high school was very lonely for me. I spent lots of lunches in the bathroom, alone. However college was a very different experience and I can honestly say that my life now is great. I have a college degree, a great family life, and I am surrounded by people who love me! High school was just one little section of my life and the experiences I had there make me who I am now which is an extremely compassionate and empathetic person!

    Sticking in there through the last couple of months and doing what you can to pass your class will make life so much better for you when you do get out. We have all had teachers who didn't appear to like us, were bad people, or who just bad teachers. Sometimes the teacher just conflicts with your personality or learning style. We still have to find ways to get through the class! You only have at most two months left! You are almost there. Just like any job you may have, there are going to be icky people and situations you will have to deal with. You will have to go along with policies and proceedures you think are stupid. Nothing and nobody is perfect. Suck it up, do your group project as best as you can, ask (or write an email requesting extra credit), let your teacher know you want to pass the class and ask for a list of work you need to complete. If you can't speak, email or write a note.

    I don't know anybody who likes group work! However, sometimes it is mandated as a state standard. Also it is a tool teachers use to get students to know eachother and feel more comfortable in school with their peers. Some anti-bullying programs promote group work as a method to combat bullying. So there are reasons that teachers use group projects. Both of my own kids currently have many group projects going on in mulitple subjects. The trick is to learn coping skills for getting through these projects and try to see the good as much as possible. You are getting the opportunity to meet other students. Even if you don't talk to them, you are in on the conversations they are having. Maybe you can look at the group work as an opportunity to talk to your peers. I wouldn't be surprised if one or more of your peers have some of the same feelings or problems that you are experiencing. Maybe they even are having problems with this particular teacher and can give you advice on how to get through the class and pass. I actually meet two of my very good friends in college because we were assigned group projects to do together. They ended up being really great people and we still keep up on Facebook.

    Keep your head up. You can get through to the end of the school year. You can pass your class and go on to have a great life. Maybe you will love college, just like I did! Make sure you get involved in some activities that interest you. Do a summer book club, if you like reading. Find some people with the same interests as you. If you don't have any interests, go out there and try some different things (biking, running, reading, ect...). Seems like you need to find something you like to do and redirect your energy.

    Good luck to you OP! I hope you will take some of the advice offered on this blog site. There is some great advice offered!
     
  19. monsieurteacher

    monsieurteacher Aficionado

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    Apr 26, 2012

    Knowing the content should include being able to APPLY the content, and if they can't apply that content, then it has very little usefulness, and they don't truly KNOW it. (IMO)
     
  20. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    Apr 26, 2012

    StudentQ - The move to a different state and different school system has obviously had a tremendous impact on you. That's understandable. You've been moved from everyone you knew and grew up with to a place where you don't know anyone. That would be a difficult adjustment for anybody. The different class and grading systems also seem to have you very frustrated, angry, confused about why certain things are emphasized more than others and exactly what you have to do to meet those new requirements. Since you don't see the reasoning behind the system, it appear arbitrary and can leave you feeling powerless to change it.

    All of these are legitimate concerns and are extremely difficult to deal with on your own. That is one reason we are all suggesting you get help from a trained professional outside the school system that wil be objective. The thoughts of suicide or terrorism, whether serious or not, are also a major concern and another reason to seek professional help.

    As for the manipulative English teacher, I understand you don't agree with her system, feel it is arbitrary and perhaps personally designed to punish you or make you fail. While I can understand that viewpoint, I would like to provide a different perspective.

    You claim the teacher deliberately lied to the P about you being outgoing and flourishing in class, but you also mentioned (in the previous thread) that this was the first grading period you had earned a "D" in. So, until this last grading period, you apparently were passing in the class. Since I assume the class has been run the same way all year, it would make sense the teacher would say you had been doing well until this last grading period.

    Your parents are aware of the problem and have tried talking to the P on your behalf, but have not been successful. By your own admission, your parents didn't know about your struggles in this class until the last few weeks, so they've not been talking to the P throughout the year.

    The teacher lied to the P and counselor to keep you from changing classes. As another member pointed out, there is only 1 month left of school, so it is likely too late for any student to change any class. It isn't something personal against you.

    You don't care what the "state" says about your education. That may be true, but it doesn't change the fact that your teachers are required to adhere to those standards regardless of student opinions about them.

    Other teachers have not tried to help you with your problems. You've said more than once you want to handle them yourself. You've also said you have mutism and haven't told anybody about your problems. The other teachers can't help you with a problem if they don't know a problem exists.

    I also agree with the previous poster that your dad (especially) should have noticed the dramatic changes you have undergone since the move and should have been seeking counseling for you on his own.

    I truly hope you find the help you need and that your situation improves, but it is going to require you to take the first steps and the best step right now would be to discuss this with an objective professional outside the system that can help you cope with all you've been through and help you regain some of the power and control you feel you have lost.
     
  21. courtney

    courtney Rookie

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    Apr 26, 2012

    I went through a terrible breakup my senior year of high-school, resulting in panic attacks, nausea, and nearly crippling agoraphobia..I was the president of the speech team, editor of the school newspaper, and wrote for the home-town newspaper on academic events at the high school - my ex spread rumors about me, passed around letters I had written him, and generally poisoned our mutual friends against me..he made my life utter hell at every opportunity. I was 4 credits over graduating with honors, but in danger of failing my first hour class because of my absences (I wasn't pregnant, but woke up each morning dry-heaving with the thought of the day ahead.) I went to my teacher about excusing my absences - no dice. I went to the principal about my ex - he'd "keep an eye out" for harassment. I went to the school counselor - he told me to drop out, get my GED, and go on to college, and put my negative experiences the last year of high-school behind me. I went back to the teacher and principal with my drop slip, signed out, and was contacted by the principal a week after school resumed following winter break, asking me to attend a short meeting with him, where he gave me my transcripts signed, sealed, and stating I graduated early, having unofficially been granted attendance flexibility under the legislation to protect those with disabilities (504 mentioned above.) I did NOT need to take the GED, have since graduated near the top of my class with a BSE-English, and plan to teach high-school Speech and English from here on out..as a teacher, I understand why your teacher may be pushing you to work through your inability to speak to others. I do NOT agree with her dishonesty and manipulation. I also understand your reluctance to seek out professional help, as the prospect of exploring all the lewd/hurtful rumor-mill material circulating about me with ANYONE made me physically ill..so, my advice: drop out now, get your GED, seek professional help when you feel ready to address your social anxiety, and don't judge all birds by the feather (i.e., teachers aren't all evil, manipulative wretches who expect you to prostrate and regurgitate.) I never expected to be told to drop out by a school counselor, but it ended up being the best course of action at the time. Hope this helps in some way...
     
  22. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    It's not just a matter of needing professional help for yourself, the fact is, in order to qualify under federal rules, there must be documented proof of your disability (in this case, social anxiety). To have that, you must be seen by qualified professionals. Teachers and school staff, even if they wanted to, do not have the authority to diagnose you. Nor can they provide the service without the diagnosis.

    In order to get what you want and need, you have to follow the proper channels. Whether you want to go to the doctor or not, it's a requirement to getting services.

    I had to do it growing up and my child had to do it to get the services he currently has. The system is set up like that nation wide to protect both the schools and the students. It's not a matter of want, it is a matter of legislative procedures.

    If it is in the standards, they are required to follow that unless you have a documented case that requires modification. You may not like it, but your word and your parents' word is not enough in this case. To be able to do the paperwork to get this changed for you, you have to be seen by a qualified professional in the eyes of the law. There really is no way around it.

    I can't attest to the actions of the teacher but I can tell you that the procedure requires you to be properly evaluated before accommodation can occur.

    Being angry about that is just spinning your wheels because it won't get you the results you need. To get that, you have to follow legal procedures.

    There are some things that teachers have discretion to modify but not of the standard expressly has it written that it must be met. That requires a specialized process to meet the qualifications of having it modified.

    Frustration is understandable but the more productive way to go about it would be to involve a professional and get a diagnosis so you can get the services you need.
     
  23. AlwaysAttend

    AlwaysAttend Fanatic

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    You can always do what I did. Take the GED test, and enroll in college right away. Then become the kind of teacher you always wish you had and help future students like your self thrive.
     
  24. orangetea

    orangetea Connoisseur

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    How did things go with the principal today?
     
  25. Jinkies

    Jinkies Rookie

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    StudentQ-I am very sorry that you are having such a rough time after changing schools. High school can be very hard, even if you don't switch schools. I can imagine that this is a very hard time for you, and I am very sorry about that. Unfortunately for this English teacher situation to be resolved, you are going to need a diagnosis from a professional. I know that it can be very uncomfortable speaking to a professional, but they are great. I went to talk to a counselor after my dad left, and she was great. I really hope that you talk to someone about how you are feeling. I wish you the nest of luck.
     
  26. TulipsGirl

    TulipsGirl Cohort

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    Apr 26, 2012

    you have two huge, major concerns right now:

    1) your academic future
    2) your emotional health

    Of those two, your mental health and emotional stability are THE PRIORITY. I know that your academic future is huge. It is everything to you, and that's admirable. But as important as that is, your emotional stability is even MORE IMPORTANT.

    I can't imagine how much courage it must take to speak to a doctor about what has been going on. Especially if you find it so difficult to speak to your family and peers. But please, summon up the incredible courage you have to make that call. Or writer that letter.

    You wrote here, hoping that there would be compassionate teachers to help you. And there are. So many of them. And they are all telling you that before any other priority, comes your health.

    Take care of yourself. Please contact a doctor. Or some one who can contact them for you. And then... go to the appointment.
     
  27. Sunflower883

    Sunflower883 Rookie

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    I know it is very frustruating that the teacher can't seem to understand how this is so difficult for you. Like cutNGlue mentioned, teachers can't diagnose or provide acomodations for something that it's not mandated.
     
  28. peachacid

    peachacid Companion

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    Apr 27, 2012

    I think, given the OP's reaction to seeking professional help, that it counts as insensitive to continue to insist on that as being the only option available to her. When I was in high school, I was probably depressed, and had extremely negative opinions of myself. I hated the thought of going to a therapist (still do) and thought I could get over it on my own (I did). Therapy is not for everyone. It is not a panacea. Offering it and no other options is unhelpful.

    StudentQ, if you are still reading this, please think about all the things you did in your formal school that you enjoyed. What made that school so much better? What would have to happen in this current situation to make it better? Do you have any hobbies or activities that you enjoy? I always loved reading and writing in high school, and never considered joining a sport, but when I got to college I sort of randomly joined the rugby team and it was AWESOME. Maybe joining a club you'd never thought of before would help. Maybe look online for a community to join, too, since you are great at expressing yourself in writing.

    Try to avoid, though, mentioning terrorist groups and school shooters...even if it's in jest (which I suspect it was), you'll freak people out and get unwanted attention.
     
  29. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    The OP is insisting on accommodations that can only be implemented based on a professional diagnosis. If she expects the school and teacher to make the accommodations, she will have to see a professional counselor first.

    It would be similar to demanding medication from a pharmacy without a prescription.
     
  30. StudentQ

    StudentQ Rookie

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    I did meet with the principal, and he basically said that getting a 504 plan will solve everything. I do wish I had done this and taken a more proactive role earlier on, but it's too late to cry over spilled milk. I'd rather get a 504 than fail 4th quarter, so I guess 5-0-4 it is.

    Actually, the school issue has paled in comparison to my visit to the doctor yesterday. I've had some minor, but recurring, health issues throughout the year.
    I thought it was nothing serious, but my parents and doctor saw fit to investigate further.
    It'll suffice to say it turned out these were symptoms of a larger problem.

    Isn't it great?

    Oh, well.

    But thank you all for your advice - it basically turned out as most of you had said, that I'd have to get a 504 or something from a doctor.
     
  31. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    Apr 27, 2012

    I'm happy to hear you went to see the doctor and hopefully you can get a 504 that will work for you.
    Best of luck.
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2012
  32. orangetea

    orangetea Connoisseur

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    Apr 27, 2012

    I'm glad you saw the doctor. I hope everything will go well for you from here.
     
  33. stephenpe

    stephenpe Connoisseur

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    Apr 27, 2012

    Good Luck Q. With your ability to express yourself in writing and the self awareness you carry I think you will be fine. BUT, do not try and go it alone. People can help even it is just mom or a friend or a stranger (like here). Hugs from teachers that do care.
     
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