Wednesday, April 20, 2011

I'm pouring my heart out

This is year number 10 for me of teaching. So what I'm trying to say is I've got some experience under my belt. I have mentioned
before that I teach in an urban school district so really
not a lot of things surprise me anymore. This one did.
I have a student that I have been struggling with all year. Well actually I have several but that's not the point. He is constantly out of his seat, talks back and at times can be quite disrespectful. For this student I have tried it all and have been working with the parents all year. Which is why when I entered a meeting with the principal, psychologist, special ed teacher and social I was surprised to see two unfamiliar faces. They were introduced as his godmother and a friend. Then they went after me. They blamed all the struggles this year on me. At least that's how I felt. It went like this. Why have you not recommended extra help if he's struggling? You always send notes home about bad behavior? He hates school and tells us every single day. He is not in the right classroom. You are not mean enough to him. My answers were...I have, it's a communication log and they are not always bad, he doesn't seem like he hates school when he's here, there's no where else to put him and I'm sorry. After which they said we are not attacking you so why are you so defensive sitting there with your arms folded? I just apologized again and put my hands in my lap.

So then they asked we want to help what can we do? Again this time trying not to be so defensive I said, "Remember our discussion about the possibility of ADHD I still think it's a good idea to speak with the pediatrician." The guests at the meeting had no idea about this conversation. Also the reading sheets that I send home twice a week are still not coming back signed. It would be helpful if I knew that he was reading the sight words and stories that I send home. After which I shook hands left the the room and headed back to my classroom. I locked the door and cried. I'm sure I was defensive because I felt attacked. I have tried to reach this student and a really felt like I was working with the parent. I guess I was wrong, very wrong.

The next day the special education teacher who was in the meeting with me brought me flowers. At least now I know I'm not crazy and that they were going after me. It made me feel a little better.

Please go visit Shell and read some other stories of people pouring their heart out.


Mary Aalgaard said...

Oh, I am so sorry that happened. Naturally, they want to blame someone and picked you. And, so unfairly. You are compassionate. You try very hard to reach every student. And, in the end, you have to accept that you can't save them all. My guess is a dysfunctional family in denial.
Give yourself some R & R.

Mrs. R said...

My parents, brother, and four of my closest friend are educators. I would argue that the potential for impact, the overall importance of the role, and the grief and crap that they must tolerate is underestimated by anyone not in that role. Parents don't get it either because their kid is never the problem.

So...I appreciate you!

And resist the urge to ignore/give in/push him through. He needs someone to expect more of him. To believe he can be better tomorrow than he is today. And if his parents and other guardians aren't going to do may be his only hope.

Shell said...

Oh, I hated conferences like that, where I felt like I was being attacked. Not productive or helpful at all.

Brittany Ann said...

Oh, girly, I have sooooooo been there. And, gosh, I just hate that that happened to you. I used to cry during those meetings. Well, after. I just hated feeling attacked. Just remember that it's not you. Not you at all.

Megan said...

What a dreadful meeting. You sound like a lovely teacher - don't let those two get you down!

Adrienne said...

It must be so hard to be in your shoes. It seemed like they came for battle. How will that help their child? It sounds like you're a great teacher who is doing everything you can to help that child. There's only so much you can do. I'm sure it's a frustrating poistion. Stopping by from PYHO!

{NiceGirlNotes} said...

Sounds awful. :( Hugs!

Kim said...

I think this must be the hardest part of teaching. I am so glad that woman brought you some flowers. A teacher friend who came over last night, spoke of almost an identical story at his school. I think you are a wonderful teacher - I can feel it. You need to keep doing what you feel is right. Hugs my friend!

Heather said...

I am sorry. That is terrible. You should like you were really trying to help the little dude.
I hope the flowers helped.

Kristin at My Art and the Mom in Me said...

Kath.. I saw that entire experience in my head, down to your facial expressions.. I saw your arms folded.. I heard your voice. It just put me right there.. I am so sorry to hear about this experience.. I wish I could have been there to give you a hug and a big ole smooch on your cheek. You are such a wonderful teacher.. and those flowers only prove that. What a wonderful gift, must have made you feel loads better.
Love you!