Thursday, December 26, 2013

What A Good Listener Looks Like.

You know I requested data. Well, Christmas Eve, I got an e-mail from one of the people who work with my Goofy One. It wasn't the data I asked for, more of a quick report, but one of the things mentioned had me seeing red and texting my friends cussing up a storm. Goofy's RTI appears to be for behavior. I don't understand what they have going- why he would have RTI for ADHD behaviors (true. swear.), but not academics when he's struggling with reading, how remedial reading wouldn't be RTI, why he wouldn't have qualified for an IEP for ADHD if his behaviors are making him struggle to the point he needs RTI, why he's getting behavioral RTI instead of the Functional Behavior Assessment I requested last year... etc. but whatever, this is the part I was cussing about:

"For Listening: a good listener has a still body, faces the speaker, is quiet, nods while listening, etc."

Is she insane!? What the hell is she thinking and where in the world did she get whatever credentials that would "qualify" her to be teaching this crap!? Absolutely not. No.

Does she have any idea what she's doing to my son? I follow her kind teaching and conversations wear me out. I can only hold a conversation for so long before I just lose it. Not like flipping out or melting down, but seriously just forget to pay attention to what I'm doing.

What she's teaching doesn't work. It actually makes it worse. Going in I'm all, "act normal. act normal." I keep my hands below the table, sit nicely, make eye contact...75% of my attention is on acting normal, 15% is trying to figure out the subtext- "I would like to thank you for explaining it to me three times because I didn't get it." was that sarcasm? whoop, there went the next 5 sentences while I try to figure that out, 5% is trying to pretend I'm super focused- never missed a word, 3% trying to copy the people I'm talking to- following their lead for the rules I haven't figured out like how long do you need to hold eye contact? what's too short, what's too long? when can you glance away and still be "listening"?, and just 2% is actually on what's being said. By the end of the conversation, I have no clue what just happened.

I can't even take notes to help me remember because there is no room for it. Hands down, eyes up, sit still, pay attention, be a good listener. all the way up until I lose it all. I forget to act normal. My hands come up, my eyes go down, my brain works the way it works, links what it wants to link and I can tell you.

I can tell you the beautiful pattern of diamonds on the pen that was a magnificent shade of blue that twirled at just the perfect angle in the sunlight and I can tell you the subject we were discussing, what was said about the subject, but I can't say I didn't miss something in the split second I was wrapped up in admiring the pen in my hand. I can tell you how the paperclip looked laying on the table, how it felt under my finger and what was said in the moments I looked at it, touched it, and as it slid into place on the pages of my notebook where it belonged.

I can tell you about the moment I looked up and caught the look of surprise on the face of the person sitting across from me and realized my "normal" slipped. It probably looked to them like I was not being a good listener, like I couldn't care less what was being said, like I was distracted, would rather be somewhere else, like they were boring me. I wouldn't want to be rude, or make them think I don't take this seriously. I wouldn't want them to think that I'm not a good mom because I won't even focus on a conversation that I asked for so I sit up and try to follow the rules: a good listener has a still body, faces the speaker, is quiet, nods while listening... and I struggle to follow when 98% of my attention is focused on being a good listener.

Not my Goofy One. I'm going to have to find a way to unteach her teaching and teach him to use what he needs to increase listening comprehension instead of worrying so much about looking normal that you miss the entire content. With any luck, he doesn't apply what she said to the real world anyway- hands pinned to his side, eyes wide open, face reaching toward me in response to "What is a good listener?" is just that- the answer to a specific question and nothing more.

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