Saturday, June 19, 2010

An Open Letter To N's Third-Grade Teacher

Really? You have absolutely nothing positive to say about my child in the comments section of his report card? REALLY? Not a thing?

N continues to work below grade level.

Well, duh, lady. I'm pretty sure the IEP, at which point they pulled him out of your classroom for most of his major academics, would have been the first clue. The second was the fact that, because of that, you weren't even allowed GIVE HIM GRADES in those subjects. So, um, yeah. We know. Thanks for noting it.

He has difficulty reading or speaking in class.

We know this one, too. I get it. You're documenting. Carry on.

He has not developed any strong friendships and prefers to work alone.

It's called autism. But, you know, whatever. Salt in the wound, I can handle it. Again, you want to make sure these things are in his record. OK. Maybe his next year's teacher will refuse to read the IEP like you did, so it will help that he or she is forewarned by these notes.

That's not what made me shaking angry. What made me shaking angry was the fact that the comments stopped right there.

You were diligent about documenting his issues, for sure. But you had this child in your classroom for 10 months, and you have nothing positive to say about him? I can think of a few things you could have said. More than a few actually. I assume it would have cost you years off your life to say that it was a pleasure to have him in your class, or that you hope he has a good summer. But you could have noted that, despite your often-obvious hostility toward him, he never once spoke disrespectfully to you. You could have said that, despite his difficulties connecting with his peers, he never hits or pushes or bites or even really butts heads with anyone in any way, including verbally. You could even have said that he withstood some pretty nasty taunting--most of which went on right under your nose--with considerable grace and aplomb. And you could have pointed out how he did pretty much everything that was asked of him that fell outside of his known disabilities--and some that fell within as well, including getting up on a stage to perform with his class last week.

But you didn't. Because you are a bitch. (Apparently I'm the one who deserves the "needs improvement" in "gets along with others" which you gave him.)

And so Baroy and I will clean up yet another of the completely unnecessary messes you left for us this year, and we will just not show N his report card. We won't even mention it. If he asks, we'll show him the notes from his resource-room teacher, who wrote things like "has been trying hard" and "has good ideas" throughout the progress report she put together regarding his IEP's goals and benchmarks.

Because, you know, she's a human being. Who actually likes children. Even if they have the absolute gall to have special needs ... and thus need special care.

Fourth grade will be better, right? Because I am absolutely done with third.

20 comments:

PnP said...

I would be absolutely furious too, and, I think you should send it to her. She, at the least, should know what a disgrace she is to the teaching profession.

Niksmom said...

Screw that! I'd send this to the principal. Seriously. Well, ok, maybe a slightly edited version? Or not...

Here's to a joyful summer for N (and you all!) and a much, much better fourth grade experience.

Heather said...

This hit me in the gut. We won't get our "progress" reports til next week, but the last one was full of comments related to her known issues re: dyspraxia. There is no excuse for that kind of apathy in teaching. *hugs* to you and N and may 4th grade be a fresh start in every way.

Anonymous said...

I think it's worth pointing out to someone (teacher? principal? ?) how hurt you were by the lack of any recognition of N's abilities as well as his needs.

You have a history, and a personal relationship with this teacher, but in the abstract it is possible that a tired and overwhelmed teacher couldn't just find the heart and time to say the kind words that would have made a big difference to you. Knowing how much they matter might encourage her to find the time to add a few kind words.

Anonymous said...

No. Not acceptable, not at all. (though the 'not acceptable' part started way back with not reading the IEP...) Big cheers to N for his progress and grace under pressure.

- Susan M

Anonymous said...

That's just awful and completely unacceptable. I'm with PnP...send it to his teacher, but I also agree with Niksmom...send it to the principal. While reading it, all I could think about was "But what about the play last week!?!" How could she not say something positive about that??

Maryann E.

kristenspina said...

Sorry, I'm in the teacher needs to hear this column. Maybe not this exactly, and maybe not in an aggressive way... but yes, she needs to know how hurtful and disheartening her remarks are. If not in time for N, in time for next year's N.

And, yes, 4th grade will be better.
xxk

Stimey said...

Oh, man. I'd be so mad. It makes me so sad that some educators can't get past their prejudices to look at the child. I'm so sorry. I really hope the next teacher is better. :(

kris said...

don't you wonder why teachers like this bother teaching... they so obviously do not like children (except the 'golden' few they have deemed worthy), why are they still teaching and ruining a year of some kids life? we just went thru that sort of year with my 4th grader...here's hoping his 5th grade is better and your 4th grade is better. i say piss on the joy-sucking teachers...

Meg said...

I am furious for you. This teacher is a nasty piece of work. Kids want to know what the teacher has to say about them and will read the comments themselves. How can she not have time to make a positive remark and wish him a happy summer and good luck in 4th grade? How could she not have made positive comments to go with the negative (which were totally unnecessay). I know you have other things to complain about but I would definitely bring this to the teacher and to the principal's attention. Totally unacceptable. Hugs to you and N.

Maddy said...

UGH. Some teachers are just awful. We had a terrible 3rd grade year once too. Different issues, but bad nonetheless. Hope next year's teacher is a great one and glad that other experiences were good.

joannawnyc said...

T's math teacher this year has been like that. He actually told him that it was "a waste of my time to try to teach you math." Ugh. But fortunately, in middle school you have more than one teacher.

Diane said...

This had me shaking with anger for N and you guys, because it is exactly what we've seen several times for our S. Same notes, same reason, no encouragement. FWIW 3rd grade was the worst and the worst teacher (who didn't read his IEP ever--I asked her) and 4th grade was so much better. He had good and bad notes on the report card, but was encouraging to S. But, oh, did we have our guard up going into 4th grade this year, for sure. I hope it's better for N too. Resource room teachers really help and actually know and appreciate our special needs kids. I'll miss ours next year (middle school bound) as much as S will. And we never show him his report card.

nwhiker said...

Blech on that nasty teacher. :( That's just wrong.

Agree with the send it to her, in some form or an other, and send it to the principal, and anyone in the district that you think might listen.

Anonymous said...

Sorry about this. As a SPED teacher I try hard to find nice things to say about kids I work with.

And I wouldn't work with them if I couldn't find nice things to say!

Every child has something good going on for him or her. I'm sorry his teacher is such a negative person. Perhaps this is more about her than your child.

Sarah said...

When I first started reading, I thought, sounds like the kind of kid I'd love in a classroom if I were a teacher!!! Works alone? Yippeee! Doesn't bother others? Yahooo!!!

Sometimes I wonder how quickly some of the teachers fill out those reports at the end of the year, and don't really take the time to think of how sometimes those reports are the only way we as parents know what is going on in the classroom. And I agree with the others...it IS their job, so they better do it and do it right.

mommapolitico said...

Hi there,
I am new here, so hope I am not speaking out of turn. But why is it your son was being graded on regular content and not progress toward his IEP goals? Tracking progress toward IEP goals is part of the regular ed teacher's function, too.

Even the toughest kids to love have redeeming qualities. They're children - how does a teacher not find the good in them? Pulled my boy out of a class with a similar teacher. People like them must lead sad, unhappy lives, and it is a shame they have such an effect on kids.

As one parent to another, I am certain your kiddo has much to love, and I applaud him (and you) for overcoming such difficult challenges. Lucky kid to have you at bat for him, too!

Anonymous said...

Not only do I not show my son his report card....sometimes I wait a few weeks to even open it up myself.

Ambre said...

So Lori, I know you're done. But whose job is it to make sure that see-you-next-tuesday doesn't continue to hurt kids like Noah?

You may have missed the exchange on Facebook in which I said something similar to Joey's teacher and my friend (who is on her school board) said "you have to write a letter to the principal, Ambre. She can't do her job if parents don't write letters." And I said "I know you're right, but I'm sick, and I'm tired." But she made me write one anyway.

Sorry, sweetie. It's your job. I know you want to crawl into your shell and not deal with it, but that person will continue to victimize little boys like Noah until some parent does something about it. As my friend told me, YOU are an authority figure. Not them. YOU. This is YOUR school.

So I did, and I was glad I did.

Roni said...

So sorry to hear this. What a horrible way to end the year. I agree that it needs to be brought up to the principal. If parents don't speak up, no one knows. {{{HUGS}}} to you all, and I hope next year is WAY better!