Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Parent-Teacher Conference

So, I think I've finally calmed down enough to write about this in a reasonable and rational way. Well, at least enough to write about it. You can be the judge about the reasonable and rational part. (That, and I have access to a computer for the moment - our laptop is with a friend, hopefully being brought back to life).

So, here's what happened. We had a 20 minute time slot. And got started 5 minutes late. Mrs L was in with another set of parents before us and they ran over for whatever reason. No big deal other than we were now down to 15 minutes. So, she started off by asking us if we had any concerns (uh, yeah, Duh). So I told her we were concerned about the continued behavior issues. She totally blew me off by saying, "well, we need to focus on the progress, even though that is an ongoing problem". I was like, "wait, didn't you just start this off by asking if we had any concerns?!". So, I was irritated already.

And then she went over this sheet thing, focusing primarily on academic areas, which is great. Except it wasn't. Because in almost every area on that paper, she said "an area of concern". With the exception of getting along with other children, which she kind of rolled her eyes about and said something to the effect of "of course he does just fine there". Respect = area of concern. Following directions = area of concern. Handwriting = area of concern. And it went on and on and on.

So we've known that the kid doesn't like to write. Fine motor skills have always (since he was an infant) been the area with which he most struggles. He never chose to do it at Montessori, and though he was encouraged, he wasn't made. So he didn't. Same goes for reading (re: his desire to do it). I think the two are related (not wanting to write --> not wanting to work on reading either) and really, I'm paying attention to this because the idea that we could be dealing with some dyslexia or another learning issue is in the back of my mind. But, of course Mrs L had completely dismissed this concern previously so I didn't bring it up again.

All of the other areas of concern, though, they all boiled down to one thing...my kid likes to talk. All the time. Who here is surprised about that?! He talks in the hall. He talks in the classroom. He talks in the cafeteria. He talks all. the. time. And it quite obviously pisses Mrs L off.

So, let me have you guess what she wouldn't talk about...you get 3 guesses and the first 2 don't count. That's right. She wouldn't discuss his behavior. Granted, we'd run out of time, but still. You'd think, with as much grief as she's been giving my kiddo and all those "area of concern"'s, that'd be the first thing she'd want to talk about. (It sure was with me and hubby!) But apparently not.

So, I handed her several resources about red dye (which she'd previously requested), and she - wait for it - rolled her eyes at me. And then said, "oh, look. You brought ME homework. How exciting?!". I mean, not even I could have layered on any more sarcasm. I explained that I'd brought her research from peer reviewed journals, an NPR story, and something from a teacher resource website. She said, "I just can't wait to spend my weekend reading this". I had to sit on my hands so they wouldn't be clenched in fists. Y'all, I was pissed.

So, what's happened since then. Nothin' good. First, we found out she's been having him write sentences as punishment for talking. Hands raised for who thinks this is ridiculously stupid? Here's what makes it even worse. She's taking away part of his recess to do so. And there's a policy in our district that specifically forbids taking away recess from a student as punishment. And, as previously mentioned, he already isn't a fan of writing. So WHY would one make that a punishment???!!!!!!  Hubby sent her a really well worded email the beginning of last week, giving her a few suggestions of what might be more effective (take away the social aspect of recess as it's the socialization that's getting him in trouble). Guess what she said? Absolutely. NOTHING.

So, what's next? Tomorrow we ask for another parent-teacher conference, 'cause the first one was so much flippin' fun. Then we go to the principal. I hate to become "those parents", but I don't know what else to do.

Well, actually, we do have one more plan. I have an appointment with the kid's pediatrician on Friday to discuss the possibility of getting a 504 plan. Without getting into technical details, a 504 plan is like an IEP (i.e. special education services) lite. It's relatively easy to get and still sets out specific accommodations the school has to provide. We're hoping to get it based on the red dye thing, but if not, I'm prepared to advocate for a Adjustment Disorder diagnosis because heaven knows my poor baby fits the criteria right now (thankyouverymuch, MrsL).

Yeah. So that's where we stand right now. Things still sucking for my kiddo. And me still pissed. On an up note, hubby is now also pissed. Took the taking away recess thing to do it, but I think it's good that we're both in the same place and can now advocate for our baby with a more unified opinion and front. Here's hoping it works. Because, really, if none of these things do, I really don't know what to do next.

Today's lesson - sometimes intuition can be mistaken as forseeing the future.  Sometimes we do know what will happen. It doesn't seem to help in the prevention of the thing, though. Sometimes, even as much as you prepare, and try to figure out how to keep the thing from happening, it still does. And it's damn frustrating.

1 comment:

Mo and Will said...

wow. this sounds so tough. your boy is really lucky he has you two advocating for him. here's hoping the next parent teacher conference gets things moving in the right direction. rooting for you guys!

Mo