I've tried to write this post several times this week. It never turns out right, it never ends any closer to the answer than when I started out.
We talk a lot about the us vs them mentality between parents and the schools. This past week I have witnessed both sides of it. I'm used to being on the parent side and seeing things from my own perspective but I try not to get too emotionally involved in the school side of it. I need that separation, I need to know that they are there to do a job and to expect them to do that job with no excuses. I need to see them as their profession, not as people. So far, the only person to sneak through that carefully built barrier was the Goofy One's principal. We still have a decent working relationship but I can't risk that with anyone else. I can't afford to care if they have family at home that needs them or if they have things going on in their personal life that are affecting their work. I need them to do their jobs, I need to be the boys' parent with nothing muddying the waters.
But then... someone else breached my wall.
Wednesday, I went to take lunch money to Alex's school. I've never had to take lunch money to school so I went to the office to get instructions. That's where I heard the voices that changed everything. I didn't hear what was said, I was focused more on the tone than the words. The parent was angry. So angry it sounded like she couldn't decide between yelling and crying. I heard the principal respond to her. He sounded... sad? He sounded like he had the weight of the world on his shoulders. He sounded like he just couldn't take another step. I'm sure the parent had reason to be angry. We've all been there, we've all had to fight for our children... mostly with the schools. but she's not the one my heart broke for.
I wanted to stop what I was doing and tell him that it would be ok. That this would pass and it would work out as it always does. I wanted to tell him that I know he's doing the best he can and that as angry as I get sometimes, I believe in him. and to not take what we say personally, even when it is. ...but that's not my place. I'm just another parent, not his friend.
This does muddy the waters for me, a bit, though. I was so ready to be right there in that parent's place: yelling, on the verge of crying. Demanding answers and attacking the school staff. If I had had the gas Tuesday, I would have been at the Goofy child's school. I had plans to go Wednesday afternoon.
I am angry. I am frustrated. I am so damned tired.
I'm not getting the information I need.
6 days into the school year, the information I'm getting is that Goofy's 504 is not being followed. I'm getting that information from Goofy.
Friday, he came home with an unfinished assignment and a blank report. so I e-mailed her. several hours later, she e-mailed me back that there is no homework on Fridays and he's off to a great start and with a little redirection he is getting tasks completed and following routines. So, I e-mailed her back asking about how the Goofy child described the reasons for his worksheet not being done and the parts of his 504 that would have solved the problems he described. No answer.
Monday, he came home with no behavior grade and an unfinished assignment. I e-mailed her asking what he was doing that the assignment was not completed. Several hours later, she e-mailed me back that he was working on math, it just took him a little longer and he did not finish. Math? Really? because he finished it here- both assignments- in less than 5 minutes- correctly- with no assistance. So... what was going on that it took him so much longer? What did she use out of his 504 to help him?
Wednesday. His behavior grade: Orange "talking and not following directions." Duh. It's in his 504. well, the following directions. The talking... we're not even going there. So, since my 504 related e-mails are being ignored, I wrote a note next to her note: "what parts of his 504 did you use?" We'll see if I get an answer on that.
Yes, I want his unfinished work to be sent home to be finished but I would also like to know why it wasn't done in class and how his 504 was used to help him before sending it home. We need to know what is working, what is not, where he could use more support and what support he needs. I need to know how his ADHD behaviors are so I know what to do with his medication. I need to know if it's ADHD or something else so I know what to look for. I need to know where he is struggling to know where to get help.
I do like this teacher (I remind myself of that daily) and I do think she is a good teacher (I do tell myself every time I get frustrated with her) but I'm wondering if maybe she's not a good fit for my Goofy One.
I have asked. I have explained. I have done everything I can think to do... well, I haven't sent him in unmedicated...*cough*yet. I'm just to the point I want to throw a fit. but, listening to the sounds of this discussion Wednesday morning... what good is that going to do?
I think since I am calm right now, it might be a good time to take my concerns to the principal. But I don't know what to say. I have no plan. No list. No solution. maybe that's the best time to listen to someone else's ideas?