Thursday, January 31, 2008

Me and What Army?

So I got a note from N's teacher yesterday afternoon, telling me that she'd like to speak to me during my volunteer time in the classroom this morning, when the kids go up to the computer lab. (That's the time when I usually do the distribution of all the work that was done over the previous week into the "Thursday folders" that go home to parents every...oh, I think you know what day they go home.) She mentioned, in this note, that she'd OK'd this with the principal, who was going to send someone to cover her while she was gone.

Uh...OK. But, really. What the fuck?

So at 9 this morning, after dropping the kids up in the computer lab, she returned to the classroom...with the principal right on her heels. "Oh, I just wanted Mrs. W to be here to make sure that everything I say is appropriate," she said overly casually.

Again, I say: Uh....OK. But really. What the FUCK?

And that's when it got really weird. Because what she had to say to me? Wasn't much of anything. She prefaced it by saying that when she'd come to the IEP meeting, she hadn't seen N in over a month (she had had surgery at the beginning of winter break, and didn't return to the classroom until last week, so she came to the IEP during her medical leave), and that now that she was back in the classroom, she felt like she wanted to revisit some things with me.

Which is fine. Except the only thing she seemed to want to revisit was the fact that his IEP has no academic goals, and thus (as she wrote on the official "progress report" that comes home mid-trimester to parents whose kids might not get wonderful grades on their report card), "Notwithstanding that all accommodations will be met as stated by the IEP, at this time N will be graded against the regular 1st grade standards in all subjects."

So she called a meeting, with the principal, to tell me...that she's not going to fake N's grades because she feels bad for him? (You wanna say it with me this time? What the...)

And through this all, the principal is nodding sagely, and watching me closely. And all I can think is, "Did you guys really think I would object to this? Did you think I was going to fight you on this? For THIS, you needed BACKUP? What. The. Fuck?"

There was a truly gratifying moment in all this confusion, though: I had a copy of the science test in my bag (I was NOT KIDDING about taking it with me everywhere!) and thought it would be good for the principal to see what I was talking about as well. I'd already talked to his science teacher the day before, and she had found it very enlightening. But this was even better. If you could have SEEN their faces; it was wonderful. ("Wow," the principal kept saying. "Wow. You have to show this to the speech therapist. This is really interesting.") The classroom teacher immediately got up and took out some of the tests he'd taken lately in social studies and reading, and--if it's at all possible--there were even BETTER examples of the problem in there. (On two facing pages of his social studies test, there was a set of four fill-in-the-blank questions out of which he got three wrong directly across from a set of four direct-question questions that even required him to write out the correct answer, which is something he struggles with at times, of which he got four out of four CORRECT. Case closed.)

So, in the end, it turned out to be a productive meeting. I heard a little more about where N is in class, and it's not nearly as bad as I thought it was. There are continuing issues, and some new ones as well--apparently Little Mr. "My Accomodations Say I Can Stand At My Desk If It Helps Me Concentrate" has been using his extra height to, um, scan the papers around him when he doesn't know an answer. But there's nothing horrendous, and I did get to hear a great story about how the District's Superintendent of Instruction toured their classroom with the principal the other day and befriended/was befriended by N, who apparently charmed the pants off of her. As the principal confided to me, "It was adorable. You can't even imagine how cute it was."

Oh, I can imagine. It's what I live with, that unbearable cuteness of being. It's what stops me from killing him on a nearly daily basis. I can totally imagine. And it makes me smile. A lot.


Meg said...

Interesting and hopefully rewarding. I, too, would have been wondering and saying WTF at that teacher! Do they think you want them to give him As and pretend he earns them without actually having him learn something? Ignore the learning issues he has? Are there really parents like that?

One LD confusion, if the teacher is reading the questions to them is it an auditory processing issue rather than a visaul processing issue? For the fill-in-the-blanks it seems like it goes back to the "re-tell the story" issue frm the testing. Yet if he gets to chose the answer from among correct and incorrect choices, he gets it. I agree with Ambre's previous comment, though, you are talking about communication or language concerns rather than speech which tends to focus on articulation. I hope the school actually finds a way to help him on this. Hope this is the start of some real answers.

Ambre said...

So at which point does the principal call the school psych and tell her she was full of beans and she needs to re-evaluate him for academics?


Green said...

I would have been very uncomfortable if the teacher came back with the principal. I'd have been tempted to say in that situation, "Let's reschedule this for a time when my husband can join us." and not accepted anything else. I scare easily.

If I were that teacher I would open standing to all the kids, but no more than 4 or 5 at a time, and put them all at one table that I would find a way to raise. That way N would not stand out so much to other kids.