My children have been in school one week. This is the first year I have not met with my son’s teacher ahead of time, or written and called about my son’s special needs before school started. There are a couple of reasons I have restrained myself this year. He is at the same school as last year and the staff knows him and his IEP. He is in fifth grade and would be embarrassed if I show up or call unnecessarily, and most of all, I remember what it was like to be the teacher starting a new school year.
It is a crazy, busy time. The days are filled with staff meetings, getting your classroom ready, and preparing for teaching. Most years I had an average of sixty students to learn all about in those first few days. Therefore, I have been trying to keep in mind the five things I think your child’s teacher wishes you knew.
1. I have made every effort to learn about your child and the class make up ahead of time. Class lists have been made with the utmost of care, consideration, and thoughtfulness. Your child’s teachers from last year have made the best decision as to your child’s placement based on many factors. Some of those factors are ability to work with others, personalities, needs, and teacher styles. Try to trust we made the right decision. If in six to eight weeks you still feel it was not the right placement, please tell us.
2. If your child has special needs, allergies, or receives special services, I am aware of those needs. However, we are still learning together how the classroom will function and how best to get those needs met. The first weeks are a period of adjustment. Unfortunately, sometimes errors occur or children miss a service due to scheduling conflicts. It will be worked out.
3. As far as learning about your individual child, I have seen their records. I have not memorized their cumulative file. Please understand if I do not remember your job, family situation, or your child’s past achievements/infractions. I do want to know any family information affecting their daily life such as an ailing relative, loss of a pet, or an upcoming move. Feel free to share that type of information as soon as needed at anytime during the school year.
4. I may not always be the same teacher every year. I also have family, personal situations, and different classes that require me to change my style on occasion. Please know I am always trying my best for your child. However, I may not do the same activities or lessons I did with a prior class due to a change in the curriculum, behaviors in the class, or lack of time.
5. I want you to be a partner with me regarding your child’s education. However, I do not desire daily communication with you regarding your child. If your child is old enough to communicate his needs to me, encourage him to advocate for himself; this is an important life skill. Before you call, email, or write me, take a moment (or evening) to calm down, collect all the facts, and then decide if you still need to communicate with me.
Now it is time for me to head over to the school, say hi to my son’s teacher, and hand over some wheat-free treats to keep in the classroom for birthdays. There is a difference between being proactive and overactive, right?