Good, now quit yelling at my son!

The challenge of dealing with teachers

Sometimes it can be such a challenge to deal with teachers when you have a special needs child.  This is especially true at the beginning of the year because the teacher does not know your child and there’s a growing pain period until the teacher learns more about your child’s behaviors, attitudes, learning style, etc.  Unfortunately, sometimes the challenges persist the whole year long.

Earlier this year when I found out who our special ed teacher was going to be for 6th grade, the negative comments started rolling in.  And, the feedback has continued to roll in all year.  Can I just say that I’ll be glad to have 6th grade behind us?

The teacher: I suspect a wolf in sheep’s clothing

First I was asked what I thought about this particular teacher.  Well, I didn’t know her so I didn’t really think anything.  She seemed nice enough at the back-to-school day.  I have my suspicions that she’s a wolf in sheep’s clothing.  I heard from parents and children alike that she’s mean.  One boy actually told me that she was the meanest teacher in the school.  He should know.  He had her for awhile in second grade to help him with his fine motor skills.  She saw his handwriting this year and told him that it wasn’t any better than it was in second grade.  Nice.

A fellow Mom had several other parents coming to her saying that their children were reporting that the teacher was yelling at her son.  My son was coming home and telling me at least once a week that she is mean.  He still complains that she’s mean — more than once a week. And, he says she yells at him.  Unless the child is endangering themselves or others there shouldn’t be a need for a teacher to yell at them.

An e-mail to the teacher garners a somewhat unprofessional response

In October I sent her an e-mail about my son’s complaints about her, which were that she doesn’t use her manners (say please and thank you). Also he told me that she made a comment about how he was acting like a second grader.  Hello?!  Generally special needs kids don’t always use actions that are on the same level as their typical developing peers.

She responded by telling me that she had asked him for his binder more than once and so he was letting him know he did not have a choice.  I guess manners couldn’t be used in this instance.  What some of these special ed teachers don’t understand is that when these children are taught something, like manners for instance, it becomes important to them.  Using them will go a long way with the child and likely get more cooperation.  Also, she explained away the second grade comment by saying that it was not directed specifically at him but she was telling the class that now that they were in 6th grade she expected 6th grade behaviors, not 2nd grade behaviors.

Then came the kicker in the e-mail.  “He also tells us about things that happen at home and I am sure that is actually not accurate but his version of the story,” she wrote.  She could have responded without bringing home into it.  I thought that was somewhat unprofessional.

She just not warm and fuzzy

I had a meeting with the principal about some other issues and I addressed the fact that I’d received so much negative feedback about this teacher.  The principal told me that the teacher is very experienced, “she’s just not warm and fuzzy.”  I know my son.  He needs a teacher who is firm.  Someone who provides structure.  It would be nice if she was also a little warm.  I think he would respond better to someone who had those qualities.  He is not responding well to this teacher and it makes his learning experience a negative one.

More recently I spoke with a Mom whose son is now a freshman in high school had this teacher in 2nd or 3rd grade.  She went in to observe the class one time.  She said the teacher was even mean when she was there observing.  Ugh!

Today I exchanged e-mails with the teacher again on a matter considering an upcoming meeting with a middle school official and I was just so tempted to respond, “Good, now quit yelling at my son!”

Our most vulnerable children

Special needs kids are our most vulnerable kids.  They don’t have the same learning styles and they may have mannerisms that are not normal.  This opens them up for bullying.  So, why should they be bullied by a teacher too?  No child should have to endure a mean teacher.  Strict yes, mean no.  Administrators should make every effort to place teachers who are even-tempered and kind as well as experienced in the special education classroom.

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