Thursday, October 29, 2009


1. I have this crazy-long post that I am STILL working on, and I may just give up and post it in parts or incomplete, because it's getting ridiculous and preventing me from actually POSTING.

2. My latest email to D's teacher:

Do you feel that it would be worthwhile for us to go to ARD and request an aide? I guess I have a couple of different thoughts -- in no particular order:

  • I desperately want D. to be able to function in the group, so that we have a chance of moving on to an inclusion classroom ultimately.

  • In the meantime, I want D. to acquire as many skills and learn as much as possible, and if that can only happen 1-on-1, then we have to do that as much as possible, so how can we do that within the constraints of the classroom?

  • If we give D. an aide, we run the risk of enabling his behaviors/making it to easy for him to hand tasks over to the aide.

Let me try to get a better understanding of what's happening in the classroom. What kind of group activities are you doing? And is D. physically getting up and walking away, or is it more of a tuning out? If the former, can one of your assistants stand behind him with hands on his shoulders to keep him in place and remind him that he needs to sit and stay? Weighted vest? Something like that? If the latter -- that's a sign that he is not understanding the material and needs the 1-to-1 in order to learn. In that case, maybe by bookending the group activity with a shortened, targeted, one-on-one lesson before and after. Then, he has to sit thru the group lesson, and even if he can't follow all of it, he's getting the info before and after, at his level. What do you think?

3. At the Day School the other kids attend, they are running a reading program. The kids have to read 10 books from a selected group of state award winners and write summaries. In cursive. Which this school never bothered to teach my kids, but whatever. Anyway, S. wrote 3 reports. I saw her work on them multiple times. And on Sunday she rewrote them again and I looked them over and she handed them in. And then her teacher sent home a note that said, "S. says you saw these, but I'm not sure if that's accurate."

Yes, that's right. She called my kid a liar.

And S. was hysterical because she had to redo them AGAIN, and she might not finish in time to participate in the ice cream social for kids who do the reports. And when I went to check on her in bed, she was crying, and she said, "You said they were OK, and she said they weren't good enough. I'm the only one in my class who couldn't do them." And So I went downstairs and sent the following email to her teacher:

S. showed me your notes on her Bluebonnet reports. While I agree that her reports are not great, there are several things I want you to know:

  • I did see her reports, but I don't like to correct all her mistakes at home. I think it's important that her teachers are aware of S's abilities, not mine.

  • S doesn't know how to write a proper book report. Part of this is a S. issue -- she has enormous difficulty differentiating important from irrelevant information -- but I really believe that part of it is that she has not had enough guided practice. She had those reports handed back to her multiple times, because I saw her writing them again and again. But, I feel like no one has taken the time to sit down with her and show her *how* to write a report.

S. was really sad that we didn't have time to sit down and redo her reports last night. She's upset that she won't get to be part of the social. And I think that it's a shame that a program that's designed to encourage reading and foster a love of it is leaving her frustrated and disappointed.

I'll work with her on these reports over the next few weeks. But I wanted you to know that she was telling you the truth when she said I saw them.

Her teacher replied:

Mrs. WG,

I assure you that I went over the summary writing process step-by-step in class more than once. Not to mention, the Gollywhopper Games summary was done or was supposed to be done in class. I first provided whole group instruction and then I sat down with students in small groups (groups of three) to provide more guided instruction. I certainly would not expect students to write a summary and not give them proper instruction on what to do. I can understand your frustration, but insinuating that I have shirked my responsibilities as S's teacher is quite offensive. It appeared to me that S was not following any of the guidance I was giving her and she was not completing the information that is required for the summary. At the same time, when the title of a book is not spelled correctly, it sets off a red flag for me. I sent the form home in an effort to make you aware of what information is required.

That being said, I don't have a problem with S attending the social on Thursday. You have made me aware that she is making progress toward completing the summaries more thoroughly and that is all I need to be aware of. I thought I made the students aware of this, but perhaps I was not clear enough. The summary portion is only one step in the process and I agree with you that it should not detract from the intended purpose which is to enjoy reading new books.

Got that? I offended her. Whatevs. Add her to the list of people who hate me. It's getting pretty long.

4. I got another email, from a different teacher, that was sent to all the parents of kids in the "Honors English" program for third, fourth, and fifth grades. Keep in mind the age of the students in question as we go through this.

Dear Parents,

I am very excited about this year's new honors reading and writing program and am proud to be teaching this section. Unfortunately, I have limited time with the students, and it is imperative that all assignments, especially homework, be completed prior to the students entering my room for their lessons. Please remember that learning is a building process and homework is essential to this development. The homework assignments are created to assist students' writing ability, reading comprehension, and analysis skills. These assignments are not optional.

My homework policy is as follows:

1.Homework is due when students enter the classroom. Work must be complete, stapled if necessary, and have a proper heading. Although work is accepted anytime prior to the deadline, no late work is accepted after the deadline. If you are absent the day the assignment is due, the assignment is expected the day you return. Long term assignments should be e-mailed to me the day they due if you are going to be absent.

2. Assigned reading is considered homework.

3. A complete heading must to be on all assignments.

Again, this program is only successful if students complete the outside work.

Thank you for your cooperation in this matter.

Now, it might have been helpful to tell parents AT THE START OF THE SCHOOL YEAR that you want papers stapled and headings written, because WE DO NOT READ MINDS. Also, the chances that I will EMAIL YOU MY FOURTH GRADER'S ASSIGNMENT BECAUSE SHE IS HOME SICK? NOT BLOODY LIKELY. Also, WTF?

So, I wrote her back and asked if, by chance, either of my daughters had done something to prompt this email. And she replied that S's entire class had not completed their homework, "and I cannot teach in this manner."

Lady, you have issues.

Wow, I feel much better now.


Teej said...

Jeez Louise! Issues is right.

Shosh said...

oh man. some people take themselves way too seriously.

stapled? with a header? come on. for real?

DESJ and Company said...

Sounds like my loverly bio teacher this semester. Maybe we can set them up on a blind date :)

ella said...

Oy. Sorry things are so frustrating for you. Hope you get good results from D's teacher, and that S's teacher takes a chill pill.

Jessie said...

wow - that sounds super stressfuly -

fern said...

I've read your blog a few times, but now I have something to say.
As an educator, I am appalled at the responses you have received.
1. Homework (which I think should not be given until jr. high) is just that, homework. It should reinforce what a child has learned in school and the child should be able to complete it independently. And it should not take more than 30 minutes for all homework to be completed.

2. The teacher was rude and defensive, that is unacceptable and unprofessional. And you should let administration know about this (you should have seen me when a teacher told me my son's IEP did not apply to his class).

3. I have long held the belief that if a child is not learning than the teacher is not teaching. It's that simple. All children can learn (I used to teach spec.ed), but not all teachers can teach.

4. And do not tell me that you can't teach my child because you have so many others in your class--because I really don't care.

Anyway, sorry for such a long comment. Oh, one more thing, I have a lot of experience with this as a teacher, mom, and administrator. I am very good at getting schools to do what I want them to (and not run away when they see me coming). Feel free to contact me at

fern said...

Let me clear up my other comment--the responses you received from the teachers, not on the comment section.

dee said...

Wow, all this and they're only in elementary school?!? Makes me dread what's to come for us.

Sorry you're dealing with such asshats, especially ones that are being paid to educate your children.

funny girl said...

I know I'm two weeks late, but I am livid on your behalf.

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