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Friday, December 16, 2011

In the principal's office twice in one week

Okay, so after I posted last night I simply couldn't sleep. My brain was running a mile a minute. For TWO hours. So I got up and decided to write an email. I didn't send it last night, just in case it actually sounded crazy. I did send it this morning. Anyway, here's what it said.
Mr. P-
After talking with my husband and processing some of our meeting Wednesday and phone call yesterday, I feel like there are a few things I neglected to explain effectively. One of those are the behaviors and symptoms we are seeing from the kid while at home. Understandably you were focused on school behaviors, but it is ultimately the changes in his behavior at home that are most concerning to us, and led us to try to talk with Mrs. L, then me to talk with the counselor, and finally with you.
First, the kid has always been an outgoing and relatively easygoing child. What we've seen from him in the last 3-4 months is a marked decrease in his frustration tolerance. He has never been a child to have tantrums, but we've started to see some and though they are minor (especially in comparison to those I see in some of my clients), they are absolutely not "normal" for the kid. Additionally, he has always been a confident child; that confidence is lessening and he is often heard to say "I can't do that", which is never something he's said before. We're also seeing his confidence in interacting with other people diminishing. It is only in the last few months that I have heard him say that someone doesn't like him. The kid has started to exhibit some signs of anxiety and increased worrying that we find very concerning as these, too, are completely abnormal for him.
All of these behaviors are what led to the Adjustment Disorder - not the talking out of turn in class. I realize these behaviors may not be ones you all at the school has noted. We have the advantage of having a "before and after" picture of the kid.
I would never presume to tell Mrs L, or any other teacher, how to manage or structure her/his classroom. I recognize that her highly structured classroom works well for some children (indeed, many of my clients greatly benefit from that type of environment). However, it does not for our son. He needs less structure, more freedom of movement, increased opportunities for socialization, and a nurturing authority figure. We are aware that public school is not Montessori school. However, these are the characteristics of his previous classrooms that allowed him to be successful, both academically, socially and emotionally.
In my and my husband's opinion, the kid and Mrs L are like a square peg and a round hole. And that isn't something that can be worked out. So, while I am more than willing to meet this afternoon, and certainly understand your desire to make it work as is, we don't feel like that is possible. We feel that it is in the kid's best interest to be moved to a different classroom.
Please let me know how you prefer to proceed. 
Thank you. We both so very much appreciate your willingness to listen and work with us. I know your priority is the same as ours - that kids (including the kid) be successful at school.
So, after all my own anxiety in how to word this and deal with it, the response I got from him was "okay, you know your child better than we do. No problem. We'll switch him". I was like, "whaaaaa....??? I mean, great!". He said he's talk to Mrs L and it would be taken care of when I got there for his classroom Christmas party this afternoon. Well, apparently he wasn't able to get around to it before then because she was all "I really want to meet with you all, but I simply can't do it today. But I really do want to talk. So, what other day in January will work?". I assured her not to worry and that I was going to check in with Mr P on the way out and he could get back with her on that. The middle of chaos, I mean the classroom, wasn't the time to do it. Also, not MY job to tell her. Thankfully.
So, we checked in with Mr P on the way out and he assured me again it wasn't a big deal. He said he'll make sure the kid's stuff magically appears in his new classroom Jan 2nd. He'll let us know early next week whose classroom that will be.
I am still a little worried about how the kid will handle this transition, but I'm feeling pretty confident he'll be okay. I'm grateful that it's "over" insofar as we at least have a decision and know what's happening and it's what we wanted to happen. I will pray with all that's in me that this will work for my sweet boy. I do love him so.
Today's lesson - sometimes it's a heck of a lot easier to advocate for someone else's child than it is to do so for your own. And certainly much less anxiety-ridden.

4 comments:

Peg

Yay! I'm so glad it all worked out.

Special K

So glad it got worked out!

erin

Good job keeping at it even though it was scary and hard. I'm so glad P reacted with fairness and understanding. It is the main reason I have faith in that school.

Mo and Will

Becky - just catching up on your blog. My gosh, you rock as a parent!! Job well done!


Mo