More about the "spelling test"... teacher

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by mom2ohc, Dec 7, 2011.

  1. mom2ohc

    mom2ohc Habitué

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    Dec 7, 2011

    So today I met with the teacher about Hailey.

    I already told her - in an email - that Hailey is experiencing a 50% hearing loss in both ears and that H will have surgery next week to remove her adenoids and tonsils and to have tubes inserted into her ears. I suggested that she make some modifications/accommodations for her and she said that she already does. Unhappily - she has installed her FM system and apparently she used it today. ( I didn't bring it up, but I am going to request a 504 for H.)

    When I met with her, she started out friendly enough, but then turned right to "Hailey is unfocused", and honestly now, I wish that I had tallied how many times she said. "Hailey is unfocused." because - it was at least 15 times.

    I had made up my mind before I came to listen listen listen, because I know myself enough to know that I can be a little hot headed, and I do not want to act that way.

    So this is what I heard; a laundry list of all the things that H does wrong.
    She is slow at her work.
    She is unfocused.
    She is always touching the other kids.
    She does not respect personal space.
    She does not listen.
    She does not follow directions.
    She takes too long to unpack and pack at the end of the day.
    She has no friends.
    She does not interact with the other children.
    She does not work well in a group.

    It was tough to listen to because, of course, I am her mother and I think H is perfect and brilliant and wonderful, but in the same vein, I know that she can be a project.

    But, I listened - and really tried to process what she was saying. She asked me if H takes a long time to do things at home. Yes, she does. It takes me a long time to do things sometimes also. What do we do? The teacher suggested we use a timer with H. I guess I could do that. That might help with the slowness. I am not so concerned with the slowness, I am concerned with the freaking spelling test!!

    Then she told me again about how her son has ADD and so she knows about it and that Hailey is unfocused - and I think she was trying to compare them, or trying to get me to compare, but I am not sure if she used the exact words that they were alike - but she did bring it up.

    So then she said how bright Hailey was (finally a good thing!!) and how it is not a problem now, her inability to focus, but it will become a problem once the work gets harder. Right now she pretty much knows everything that they are doing.:dizzy:

    Honestly that is one of the MOST ANNOYING lines a teacher has told me, and I heard it last year too, that Hailey is smart, but doesn't listen - but it is not a big deal because she understands all the work (hindsight tells me she probably wasn't hearing last year either.)

    Today - there was a math test. She told H to put her book away for the test. Hailey did not put the book away. She let Hailey read for 15 more minutes and then I guess asked her again to put the book away and start the test so she did, but then she was behind, did not understand the directions, and had a meltdown. She disrupted the whole class.

    She also said that she KNOWS hailey can hear her when she gives a spelling test, she just doesn't listen.

    This is how the 50 minutes went. She did not offer any solutions as to how to make anything better for Hailey in class. She thinks that after hear hearing is improved that there will be a miracle and Hailey will start listening. I am not so sure. To know me personally, you would be shocked that I remained calm cool and collected through this meeting, I think I was just so unprepared for what I was going to hear, that I had no idea what else to say.

    I did however say that I wished in all my heart that Hailey had a teacher who knew the key to inspiring her. A teacher who cared enough about Hailey to look above and beyond to get Hailey engaged and excited about school and learning and a teacher who could make a real substantial difference in Hailey's life. I told the teacher that I wished more than she knew that SHE could be that person for Hailey. I wished that she had the knowledge, the skills, the perseverance to do more for Hailey than she was now. All she said, was yeah I wish I could too.

    I also told her that with all the hype about merit pay in NJ, that if teaches at this school were getting merit pay, I bet they would all WANT Hailey in their class, that they would JOYFULLY repeat SPELLING WORDS for their little 8 year olds - because the teachers would have financial incentive. ( she didn't like that) (I didn't like it either once it came out)


    I left with NO solutions. and my head is spinning.

    And if anyone has any advice for me, please spit it out because I am just spent. :thanks: If anyone read this.. :wow: I went on and on. Thank you!.
     
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  3. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Dec 7, 2011

    Talk about setting a child up for failure!!! She LET Hailey read through the first 15 minutes of the test????? She didn't say "Hailey, put it away NOW!!!"?

    And she still insists that Hailey could hear if she only tried???


    I think it's time to kick this up to administration.
     
  4. msufan

    msufan Comrade

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    Dec 7, 2011

    If I had a student did the things on that laundry list, I would be frustrated. It sounds like the teacher was frustrated and thus didn't come across well. Your comments about merit pay and wishing the teacher was better had to hurt, too. Obviously the teacher is not trying to be lousy -- she's doing her best and it has to sting that her best is clearly not working.

    Since the surgery is just next week, I would back off for now and see what happens after that.

    This is not really about a spelling test at all anymore.
     
  5. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Honestly, it's time to have a meeting with the principal and your husband so that you can both hear the same information. Bring the documentation and ask for a 504 plan at the meeting to address H's needs.

    Be sure to have a list of what you believe her strengths and weaknesses are. Then make a list of the accommodations that H needs in order to be successful in school.
     
  6. msufan

    msufan Comrade

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    Why not wait a week since H's needs may change?
     
  7. mom2ohc

    mom2ohc Habitué

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    She also told me that she thought Hailey would qualify academically for the Gifted program next year, but due to her behavior issues would not be admitted.
     
  8. mom2ohc

    mom2ohc Habitué

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    I have no idea what her needs will be after the surgery. None at all. but every day that we wait, I feel is a day lost. 1/3 of the year gone, that much time to me is lost now.
     
  9. msufan

    msufan Comrade

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    If the teacher, who in general was pretty negative about your daughter, actually admits that H knows basically everything already, one more week won't hurt. The problem with setting up a plan for H right now is that it's going to be tough to go back two weeks later and demand to go through the whole process over again because things have changed.

    Get the surgery, enjoy the holidays, do a little at-home assessment of what has changed, and meet in January. :2cents:
     
  10. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Dec 7, 2011

    I'd follow up with the teacher regarding your conversation. Tell her that you appreciate her using the fm system, but that with 50% hearing loss, your child DOES NOT hear as well as she seems to think. Your child has developed great coping skills to have gotten as far as she has in school with no other apparent concerns...its TOTALLY possible that some of her behaviors are related to her hearing problems...ive suffered thru quite a few ear infections-they can throw off all other perception, make you feel a if youre underwater or in a bubble.. I imagine hearing loss is all that and more...make it very clear to the teacher that while you appreciate her feedback regarding your child's behavior and academic performance, you not want to hear her thoughts about ADHD anymore.
     
  11. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Dec 7, 2011

    I'm in northern NJ...that's not how it works...

    I'll pm you.
     
  12. msufan

    msufan Comrade

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    She was probably afraid H would have a meltdown if she did that, considering what ended up happening.
     
  13. Tasha

    Tasha Phenom

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    Well, it honestly does sound like Hailey has more going on than you might have first thought, but then again, how much does it have to do with not hearing (I can't hear the directions and I already know the answers, so why should I listen and get in trouble for not doing what I was suppose to and the teacher is already annoyed with me). I would go ahead and speak to the counselor and ask for a behavior analysis. In kindergarten in my district that consists of a LSSP doing a functional behavior analysis and sending a questionaire to parents and the teacher. For short term suggestions - a few picture clues for her - listen, sit, work, clean up, etc... so that she knows what she should be doing. I would also ask the teacher to have Hailey repeat the directions back and/or give her the directions step-by-step. I am thinking that it is because she IS smart that the teacher is possibly having expectations for her behavior that are not realistic for th age. What I mean is, I always repeat my directions and have the kids tell me what they are suppose to do and I have a few kids that I have to say XXXX get started coloring and then you can cut, but they tend to be the kids that are not doing well overall and I know need a little extra attention. When the kids are "smart" and capable of doing the work, sometimes you overlook the part where they all need directions repeated many times. Also, I don't know many primary teachers who aren't repeating things even more than normal at this time of the year.
     
  14. Tasha

    Tasha Phenom

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    Also, excluding from GT based on behavior should never happen. Many kids with ADD are GT and many GT kids have behavior issues due to hypersensitivity to different things.
     
  15. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Request the meeting tomorrow. It takes time to get a 504 plan written, so you want to make it known that this is what your daughter needs and you want this to happen. By the time that the 504 gets written, it will probably be after the break and your daughter will have some time to adjust after the surgery.
     
  16. msufan

    msufan Comrade

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    I'm hooked into this story now -- completely read through the other thread. WOW are people quick to jump down the teacher's throat! It's hard to believe this is a forum of teachers all (with a couple of exceptions) saying such cruel things about this teacher. In the other thread, you said the surgery is next Wednesday and then she has to be out of school for two weeks. That takes you into the holidays, so she'll actually be out for more like 3 weeks. Tomorrow is Thursday. H has 4 days of school remaining before the surgery. Seriously, going in with guns blazing when everything could change in 4 school days makes no sense.

    Request a meeting for right after break. Be optimistic. Say to the teacher that you're excited about the possibility that this could really be a turning point for H. Let go of the ADD comment -- consider it a valuable, honest peek into the teacher's mindset of what she thought was to blame here. Don't shut down that line of communication -- you should WANT to know what the teacher honestly thinks. Let the teacher know you'll work on the tantrum issue. Tell her you're sorry about the merit pay comment. Give HER reason to be heartened and to hope that things will get better. Enjoy the holidays. Spend lots of great family time with H as she recovers (and beyond). Informally test out her hearing and see what you notice during this time. Help her to feel like this will be a real solution for making school more fun and successful for her. Don't practice spelling anything during this time. :)

    Smile. Breathe. Relax.

    Your child gets her cues from you. If she sees a joyful mom who respects her teacher and is hopeful about this surgery, she'll act much more joyful in the midst of all this as well.
     
  17. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    If you had the same issues with a student, what would your plan be? Maybe step back and think as a teacher to come up with a plan addressing her concerns that you could ask the teacher to implement. Most teachers (I know there are exceptions but I have no way of knowing if this teacher is one of them.) will not make up these kinds of problems, and just report what they see. I know it's hard to get out of mama bear mode, because this is your baby but the teacher is with your child a large portion of the day and sees her in situations you do not.

    Ask to schedule a meeting with child study/504/the teacher/admin the second week back from the holidays. That will give your daughter's ears time to adjust and a week to a week and a half post-surgery so the teacher should be able to see a difference if the tubes make a big difference so you don't have to meet twice in the near future.

    The test situation shows the teacher has made mistakes, but your merit pay comment was a mistake as well. Step back a bit, take care of your baby while she is recooperating, and meet after her ears have healed. If that is the magical cure, then things will be better. If it is not, then that is one more thing you can check off the list when trying to get to the bottom of the issues she is having.

    I think you both want the same result. I hope you find a way to get there soon.
     
  18. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    Wow. Just wow. I agree with Alice. It's time to kick this up to administration.
     
  19. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Personally I think the teacher is misguided at best. I have deeper feelings than that, but I'll leave her with the benefit of the doubt.

    Mama Bear did come out in spades too and said a few unjustified things. That happens when we are upset and feeling unheard. I've done it and had to apologize later.

    Having said that, the teacher is still insistent that the child's real issues are something else. Often hearing loss and ADHD does co-occur but one has to be supremely careful in making the assumption of ADHD because the same symptoms can just as easily be attributed to the effects of the hearing loss.

    http://www.californiaearinstitute.com/hearing-device-center-add-hearing-impairment-bay-area.php

    While the teacher could be completely right about Hailey, now is not a time to ascertain that. First it is important to address her hearing loss to see first if the behaviors are related to that before jumping ahead to any other potential cause.

    As for the week, go ahead and schedule the meeting so they have time to do the paperwork, etc. After all, they have so many days from the time of the request. Doing it sooner ensures it gets done sooner rather than later. But having it this week may not be in her best course of action. I would actually wait. I know you feel like you've already lost 1/3 of the year. I have a child with special needs and I know exactly how that feels. Yet if this ends up being an issue that doesn't clear up quickly, a week is not going to make much of a difference. Take heart in the fact that she is now using an FM system. I would encourage her to repeat directions for now and let her know you want a meeting to have formal accommodations in place after the holidays and after Hailey has had some time to heal. You might go ahead and tell her that you understand her concerns about ADHD like symptoms but so many things mirror it. For now you hear what she is saying but you can only tackle one thing at a time. Share with her this article. Tell her this must be addressed before any other cause can be considered (LEGALLY TOO).

    If all else fails, tell her you don't want to hear it anymore. I have had to tell staff that about certain things that are repetitive. I am certain to tell them that yes, I hear what they are saying and I even understand their motivations behind it but it gets old and I would like it not to be constantly repeated. Enough is enough.

    Obviously a lot of distrust has built now. I can't say I blame you. I go through similar things myself. It's hard to rebuild the trust after a teacher or staff tears it down like that, no matter what their reasons were.

    I'm being a little mischievous when I mention this, but you could offer to come in and give Hailey the hearing test each week yourself. (I know... I'm evil. My son's teacher this year actually does have parent volunteers for this).

    I admit, this teacher bothers me. I can see why momma hen has come out. I can see why you are going to feel mistrustful for a good while, even if the situation was perfect. Having said that, we have to do what we can to work on the relationship for the sake of Hailey. If after the break you are still running into a brick wall, then coming up with other tactics may be in order. For now it is a bit too soon considering her surgery is next week.

    I'm so super glad you were able to get outside support as quickly as you did. I'm sure it makes you feel much better knowing your concerns were indeed what you thought they were and now you can work on it.
     
  20. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Went back and reread... while I still feel it could wait until after her surgery, I think I would be spitting mad too. Wait, I know I would. Who LETS a kid read for 15 minutes during a test?!
     
  21. EMonkey

    EMonkey Connoisseur

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    Well, the fifteen minutes during a test could be everyone is hard at work, teacher is reading the questions and noticing attentive quiet workers. Teacher eventually comes by daughter's seat and realizes the daughter is quietly attentively at work reading a book not doing the test. I could see it happening with a big group of children in the room. I have missed first graders who do not pick up the test or do not have a pencil and sit, look attentively down at paper on their desk and never bother to say "hey, I didn't get the test!" I usually have them redo the test with me though.
     
  22. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I agree that you should call now and arrange a meeting for the week after the holidays. At that meeting you can request a 504, behavior analysis, and whatever else you think might be necessary.

    Based on your description of the meeting with the teacher, I don't get the impression that she's a mean or bad teacher or that she is out to get your daughter. It does sound like she is frustrated and doesn't know how to improve the situation. I think that while it's understandable that you were also frustrated during the meeting and said some unpleasant things, you should consider apologizing and offering a clean slate with the teacher. She probably doesn't deserve your outburst, and even if she does, it's still not the right thing to do.

    Can you give more details about the meltdown that happened during the book/test situation? I admit that I don't know much more than the basics of hearing loss, but it does sound to me like there is something more at play here. Even if the initial action of not putting the book away when she was asked the first time was the result of not being able to hear the instruction, the meltdown was something more than that. I agree that a behavior analysis might be a really good idea.

    I agree that the teacher should be providing explicit cues to your daughter during class, either in the form of pictures or by asking your daughter to repeat back spelling words and instructions. I think that at your meeting after the holidays you should request these things and see if the teacher is willing to do it.

    Finally, I hope I'm not coming across as harsh or unsympathetic. It sounds like you're being pretty reasonable in general and it also sounds like the teacher isn't coming into the middle to meet you and your daughter as far as she should. It's not that I believe that the teacher is 100% right and you are 100% wrong. It's just that this year more than any other year I've been in the teacher's position, getting screamed at by parents who are frustrated with me even though I truly and sincerely believe that I'm doing everything I can to help their kids. It's frustrating being on the other side of that table as the teacher, too.
     
  23. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    I don't think the teacher was trying to be mean either. She sounds clearly frustrated to me as well. The problem is she didn't listen to the mom and that's where the mom has a right to feel frustrated and even angry. Furthermore, the teacher didn't seem willing to accommodate the child (for either scenario) so she could pass the spelling test. The teacher, regardless of her intentions HAS messed up. Badly so. Now the teacher is continuing to drive HER point rather than focusing on what has already been found about Hailey. She may very well right, but I would have respected her more if she had acknowledged the mom more and waited until after Hailey's surgery to see if the symptoms still persisted before bringing her point back up.

    I don't agree that just because she had a meltdown means there is something more. I think it could still be attributed to the scenario already at play here. She was frustrated, couldn't follow along, probably already doesn't feel comfortable, is struggling in the situation, etc. Could it be something else? Sure it could, but again we have to get through one cause before we can move to another possible cause. We can't jump. Many co-diagnoses are hard to achieve with a child who has hearing loss even if we know they occur because you have to be absolutely sure it isn't the result of the hearing loss first.

    Having said that, now we have to work from here.
     
  24. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Of course, there's always the possiblity that Hailey didn't HEAR the first request to put her book away, and was so engrossed in her book that she didn't realize the test had begun.
     
  25. smurfette

    smurfette Habitué

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    Caesar pretty much said the things I was going to say. It sounds like you are most concerned about the spelling test, while the teacher is most concerned about a bigger pattern. You are frustrated because you think she is not listening about the spelling test, and she is frustrated because she thinks you are not listening about her concerns. Maybe a meeting with admin will help sort things out.
     
  26. Tutor

    Tutor Comrade

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    Just found your thread today...this is what stood out to me

    So this is what I heard; a laundry list of all the things that H does wrong.
    She is slow at her work.
    She is unfocused.
    She is always touching the other kids.
    She does not respect personal space.
    She does not listen.
    She does not follow directions.
    She takes too long to unpack and pack at the end of the day.
    She has no friends.
    She does not interact with the other children.
    She does not work well in a group.


    I had this student and we found out he had a significant hearing loss, like your dd. He is now on an IEP for hearing impaired and receiving accomodations. Run, don't walk, to the special ed folks. Your dd needs support and fast.
     
  27. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Sorry, Emonkey, but I see that as a failing in your classroom test administration procedures. Procedures are set up so these things don't happen.

    There should be no reason a teacher will allow a child to continue reading instead of taking a test.
     
  28. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    OP, gifted kids in regular classrooms also have another set of issues when they are not doing work up to their potential.

    I hope the tubes correct the hearing loss. I hope this makes things better.

    The biggest problem you will face is, gifted children not placed correctly and partial hearing loss both share similar symptoms with ADHD of one type or another.
     
  29. mom2ohc

    mom2ohc Habitué

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    I scheduled an appointment with the principal for Tuesday. with my husband. Will keep you posted.

    Thanks a bunch for all the support/advice, I needed it.
     
  30. EMonkey

    EMonkey Connoisseur

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    "Sorry, Emonkey, but I see that as a failing in your classroom test administration procedures. Procedures are set up so these things don't happen."

    I wasn't trying to say this was one of my high points or that it being a mistake makes it okay; but more that in a day mistakes may happen without the intent being to set the child up for failure. Which is what it seemed a number of posters seemed to be assuming the teacher being talked about was doing in the incident with the book and the math test. How she resolved it was not the way I would have or a way that I think is okay.

    I wouldn't remember having missed a child not having the test if I didn't consider it as a big oops.
     
  31. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    Dec 9, 2011

    Bravo to you for doing the right thing and making a strong attempt to work with the teacher. I think it is clear to me (and it appears most posts here) that is time to take the next step and have a meeting with the principal. The more you stay calm and clearly stick to the facts of what is going on the better. I find most principal's listen well if 4 things are true:

    1. You set up an appointment first.
    2. You meet with the teacher first (as you did)
    3. You stay calm.
    4. You stick to facts about the specific problem and don't seem like you are making a complete negative blanket statement about the teacher and the school.

    It sounds like you are handling this well. I wish you well and also pray for you and your daughter.
     
  32. mom2ohc

    mom2ohc Habitué

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    thank you for your good thoughts. I am actually very stressed about it!
     
  33. comaba

    comaba Cohort

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    Really? I'm a union rep. I'm a teacher advocate. However, when the teacher in question said that she thinks mom's daughter has ADHD, she stepped way over the line. That was inappropriate and unprofessional. She is not qualified to diagnose ADHD. Furthermore, she completely disregarded the parent's concerns about the child's hearing loss, and resisted efforts to help the child. Frankly, the teacher seems more concerned about how the child is affecting her than how the child's hearing loss is affecting her learning.
     
  34. WaterfallLady

    WaterfallLady Enthusiast

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    I really can't believe this teacher!

    Also, I've heard you absolutely cannot keep a kid out of gifted ed. soley because of behavioral issues. It sounds like most of her "behavioral issues" are due to her hearing.
     
  35. Blue

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    I haven't read every post, but have had some experience working with teachers as a Grand parent. Of course, my GS is wonderful, just like OP's daughter.

    My daughter and I have had to push to get 504's etc. for my GS. But, we have the best results when we ask for help. Even when we know "everything" about the issue, we let the school explain to us what they know and what they will do.

    Sending your flesh and blood to another person is a difficult thing. You must trust each other and have your child's best interest in mind. I do believe all teachers want the best for the children. In this day and age, they have so many irons in the fire that they can not make your child their only project.
     
  36. shouldbeasleep

    shouldbeasleep Enthusiast

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    Dec 10, 2011

    Personally, it seems to me that the teacher is unable to deal with a child with special needs. She has a hearing loss! Give the test separately if you can't stand having to repeat yourself. Help her get organized in the morning. Cue her that it's time to put away the book. Good grief.

    And stop diagnosing her and listen to what her doctor has said. She has a hearing loss, which means she has trouble hearing, which means she can't HEAR the dang test, HEAR instructions, HEAR classmate's conversations so that she can make friends.

    And finally, slap some heavy duty earmuffs on this lady and tell her to try living that way herself.

    So, surgery, see if it's better, and think about moving her into room where the teacher has a brain and a heart.
     
  37. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Dec 10, 2011

    Good luck with your meeting! It'll be nice to have a discussion prior to the holidays.
     

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