Thursday, December 09, 2004

Oh momma is a little upset

David's teacher sent home progress reports. This is what she said about my child.

David has a lot of potential as a first grader. He tries hard when working one on one with an adult, but has not yet established the independent work habits we expet of first graders at this point in the year. He requires constant reminders to stay on tasks by himself. I believe the scores which have placed David at risk from the beginning of his school career, and his current aacademic rank placement at the bottom of my classroo are a direct result of his inattentive behavior and lack of focus.

I have not heard anything about how he is doing in class since Oct. when we had parent teacher conf. She has stopped sending homework home, I get nothing. I assumed he was doing better. He is doing much better reading at home. His reading teacher has got it in her head that he has ADD, and I think she has convienced his teacher that he has it. He doesn't have it, but that is beside the point. I sent this letter to school with David today and I am sending it to the reading teacher, the principal, and the super intendent of schools.

teacher(not her real name),

I mentioned to our Dr. that reading teacher thought David was ADD. He said he did not think so, but we were there for other reasons at the time, not for that. I think ADD is an excuse used when confronted with difficult children, “let’s put the blame on the child because it could not possible be us.” I understand that David is a difficult child to teach, he does not understand half the stuff you are asking him to do, and when he does not understand something or is not interested in doing it, he will become unfocused and inattentive. It is your job as his teacher to make him pay attention while he is in your class. It is your job as his teacher to make sure he does not fail, because his failure is indirectly your failure.

I have talked to him about some of the things going on in class and he always says two things: 1. there is too much noise. 2. I do not know what she wants me to do. I have encouraged him to ask when he does not understand something, but he is his mother’s child and does not want to look “stupid” when everyone else gets it and he does not. He will not even tell you when he is sick. Just before Thanksgiving break, when I picked him up from school he was running a fever. I asked him why he did not go to the nurse he said he did not want to interrupt class. I was the same way in school. I was lucky I had teachers that saw the potential and they took me in before school and after school to make sure that I was “getting it”.

I talked to my mom and she said I struggled through 1st and 2nd grade with reading and writing problems. I still cannot learn something if I do not have a quiet, structured environment, David is the same way, and I do not see that in the classroom. Children get up whenever they want, there are groups of children roaming about the room; they need to be in their own individual desks being taught not in groups at tables where they are easily distracted. They need structure, not a fun environment. I am frustrated, and please do not feel that I am telling you how to teach your class, I am sure that most of the children are getting it, but I know mine is not and to many people want to place the blame on him and his inabilities. He is very able to learn if he has the right setting to learn in.

It is the school’s responsibility to find the best possible way of teaching him, if that means me bringing him 30 minutes early in the mornings for extra help or picking him up 30 minutes later after school, if that means finding a different classroom more structured for his needs then that is what needs to be done. I feel that the school is not doing everything in their means to teach my child. I entrusted the public school system, which my tax dollars pay for, to teach my child and they are failing him miserably. Everyone wants to discuss learning disabilities and ADD, there seems to be a lot of knowledge about the problems, but I have yet to see any improvement so to me that means you people do not have any solutions.

The schools do not know what to do with a child like David so they label them and try to find fault with the child instead of finding accurate ways of teaching. You mentioned at the parent teacher conference about headphones. You mentioned “at risk” meetings also, and I have not heard anything else about that. I have offered to do extra work with him at home, but you say that what the children are learning in class is not stuff you can send home. I have left my phone number and my email address, I am at the school at least 3 times a day picking up and dropping off children, I am not very difficult to get in touch with especially when it is concerning my child. I think my next step is to come in to monitor the class for a week and see exactly what is going on and what I need to do next to ensure he gets the education that he is entitled too.

Thank you,

Jennifer Schall

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