Thursday, December 11, 2008


My response to D's teacher was:

The spitting is not something we have seen, but we did speak to D. last night. We look forward to hearing your suggestions on how to help D. engage more in the academic work at school.

I had called the school yesterday afternoon and was awaiting a call back today.

The principal called me at 12:10 and apologized for the delay in getting back to me. Dude, I call my kids' private school and no one replies for days, but I covered my astonishment. Her next question was awesome. "Tell me what's going on. How can I help?" she asked. This is such a simple statement, yet it made me feel so empowered. Maybe I'm naive or whatever, but I felt like I was being responded to and given a chance to be heard.

I read her the entry from yesterday's folder and I said, "Look, the spitting, although that's not something we see, it's entirely appropriate for her to tell me about it and to tell me how she's dealing with it. But the other part, the part about D. having no interest in school -- well, duh. That's why he's in that class, and I kind of feel like, she's the professional, and she should have some idea of what to do."

We had a 30 minute conversation where the principal never once made me feel like I was taking up her time. She listened and responded to everything I said. She understood my frustration and concerns. She explained the teacher's frustration -- with herself, not necessarily with my son -- which I can certainly understand. And she said she is bringing in a specialist to observe and make suggestions. Would I be willing to first have the specialist observe and then have a meeting to discuss what she saw and what she suggests? This woman is supposed to be in school either today or tomorrow. In any case, the latest I would hear back from the principal regarding a meeting is a week from today.

This sounded reasonable to me, and I said so.

Again, maybe I am naive, but I don't want to come in with the attitude that the school is out to get me or my kid. I want to think of them as being on our team, working for my kid's success.

Mr. WG listened in on the whole conversation, it turns out, and he agreed with everything. And you? What do you think?


Iheartfashion said...

It sounds like you're lucky to have a school principal who's so willing to listen and work with you. I hope it goes well.

Anonymous said...

Great! Your principal and her reaction sounds like our principal. I love them both!

What they're suggesting sounds reasonable and in the best interest of D. and the teacher. The teacher, however, should be able to express her frustrations "with herself" more appropriately or more clearly.

lisa said...

Sounds reasonable to me too. You have a good principal there! And I agree with Mia, the teachers frustrations need to be expressed more appropriately. On one hand I understand her wanting to approach the parents to see if there's a piece of the puzzle she's missing (Julia's teacher has done that with us and since she's verbally so far behind her peers I'm happy to fill in what blanks I can). But as you said she's the professional and when it comes to getting him to focus on the academic work at hand, well, that's entirely her domain.

Jenny said...

Sounds like you have him at a great school with an excellent principal. I think the plan of action sounds totally reasonable.

Lisa b said...

ok good. glad to read that the principal is on top of this.
seriously that teacher needs help.