Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Big Sigh

You know how, sometimes, you see someone's name in your email box, and before you click on the message, you sigh deeply? Not because you necessarily dislike the person or anything, but because you just know that interactions with him or her are never, ever simple? That you can never just ask about something, mention something, request something, and have it quickly, easily, simply DONE?

I am fairly certain that I am that sigh-worthy person for pretty much everyone at N's elementary school. In fact, I can HEAR the sighs all the way here in my office, 14 miles away.

Like I said, I don't think anyone there hates me. (OK, maybe the school psychologist does. And maybe the former PTA president who thought it would be a good idea to bring Santa Claus into the classroom. And possibly the chair of the committee that decided to make the concrete stairwell the only entrance into the school most mornings. But aside from them...)

It's just that I really am never easy to deal with. I try to be, whenever I can, so that when I need to be difficult, it will have more impact. And yet.

A couple of weeks ago, I put in the request for N's reassessment. Yesterday, I got a voice mail and email from the woman who will head up that assessment, the RSP teacher at the school, telling me that there was an permission form coming home in N's backpack for me to sign. "No need to respond unless you have any questions," she chirped hopefully into the phone.

And so when she saw my name in her email box last night or this morning, or whenever she read my note...I'm fairly certain she sighed. If I were her, I would have added, out loud, "Oh for crying out loud. It's a single-page form, and it has everything on it you could possibly DREAM of! JUST SIGN IT!"

But I had a question. It wasn't a life-shattering issue or anything. It was just that I noticed a box for "initial assessment" was checked off, and I knew that this was not an initial assessment, and I wanted to be sure that we didn't need to redo the form somehow, that maybe she'd forgotten testing N two years ago, and it was a simple mistake, but if I didn't catch it and question it, the whole testing would end up being invalidated or something, and any services would be denied, and...

(Gee, i wonder why people think I'm twitchy and not myself these days?)

She was kind about it, and she was prompt in her reply, telling me it was a "good question" and that it's considered an initial assessment because it's been more than a year since his last one. "We will only use data/observation from this assessment," she wrote. "Children change a lot, especially in two years, and we want to ensure we have the most recent and best information."

She was even kind enough to say she was looking forward to seeing me again. I think she lies, but I appreciate the effort.

And the fact that she didn't actually type her sigh into her response.

[For those who really care about such things...I was pleased to see that the only difference in this assessment from that done two years ago was the ADDITION of a "SCIA assessment." I had to look it up. SCIA apparently stands for "Special Circumstances Instructional Assistance." I can't find a lot of information about it (Ambre?), but it SOUNDS like the sort of thing that could, in a perfect world, lead to a one-on-one or shared classroom aide to help keep N on track because of the amount of assistance he normally requires to get his work done. That would be my dream outcome from all of this, by the way. I'm not going to say it's likely to happen, but I will say that I'm pleased they're going to at least look into whether it's something he needs.]


Green said...

I totally get you on the sighing. I often feel like people cringe and wish they would fall off my radar.

Ambre said...


Stop that.

Just, really, stop.

I know there are probably people at work that make you sigh when they call. But they are NOT the ones who are a) only asking you to do exactly what you get paid to do, b) trying to be friendly, make interactions pleasant, and be understanding of your situation, or c) doing only exactly what's expected of them in their situation.

So, please, stop thinking of yourself as the sigh-worthy parent. You're only doing your job and asking them to do theirs. This is not service above and beyond, just what they are there to do.

It was a perfectly valid question, not sigh worthy, and I think it sounds like she's going to enjoy working with you.

As for the other stuff, I'll look into it. Here they just don't do aides for academics, it's always in resource room, but that would be good too.

Ambre said...

p.s. that doesn't mean you couldn't become the sigh worthy parent if things don't go your way. You're just... well, so totally not there yet ;)