Thursday, November 21, 2013

those dreaded words

"I'm sorry, but we can no longer meet the needs of your child."

This is why I teach special needs children.  These words guide me. I hate that any parent has to hear them ever. I want to stop them from being used. I want all children to be in a learning environment which can adapt to their needs, even if those needs end up being pretty great.

I am good at what I do. But even being good does not make me able to do everything for everyone. And today a parent got those words. "I'm sorry, but we can no longer meet the needs of your child."  Unless the parents can find someone to shadow him, full time, he can't come back to the school.

The director is making the right decision under the circumstances. He can't cope without full time assistance. It isn't good for him. It isn't good for the teachers. It isn't good for the other kids in the classroom.

He's a Jack In The Box. But no one ever knows how long the music will play before they get startled by the puppet jumping out. And this puppet alternates between non-cooperation, physical tantrums, verbal outbursts and hurting other kids.

The mom asked if she could hire me. I'm flattered, but no. I would be in my old position if I wanted to work five days a week with one child. I can't do that to my family and I can't do that to me. I don't want that many hours, and besides, it really doesn't suit me. I get tired and frustrated with a child if I spend that much time with them. It becomes more like parenting, and my kids know that tired and frustrated mom all too well.

I've been trying to spend half my time with him, on the two days I work. There are other kids in the same classroom who also need my attention. Other teachers in the building ask me to come make observations and teaching suggestions for them. I feel like I have a good balance right now.  But it wasn't enough for him.

I'm feeling sad as well as feeling some failure. His classroom teacher feels some relief and also some failure. Our director is disappointed. Other parents of kids in the class will probably be relieved. The kids won't miss him and may even thrive without his presence.  But his parents are surely feeling a lot more.

They are up a creek here. They both work and will need to use their Thanksgiving to search for either a shadow or another program placement. I'm not optimistic that they can find either. They haven't been ready to admit to his disability. They have a long way to go, quickly.

Friday, November 15, 2013

a little of this, a little of that

I feel like I need to catch up here.

  • The kids are outgrowing clothes. Pook hasn't put away the shorts but has worn long pants all this week. If he hadn't, I think the school might have turned me in. We had lows in the 20's. I went to a nearby thrift shop and bought him six pairs of pants for about $20. Glad the kid doesn't care about brands. Or, for that matter, doesn't care what he wears.
  • The garden has frozen. The leaves still look wonderful however. I'm looking around for things that need help next spring. I must get better at cutting back fall bloomers so they don't get too leggy.
  • I cooked teriyaki chicken with fresh baby carrots the other day and it turned out great. Last night we had some fresh spinach and everyone moaned with joy. (It had butter and Parmesan cheese on it.) We had about twelve leaves of swiss chard from our own yard. While I feel grateful that I have a family who likes food and all my cooking, Pook did surprise me by saying that "what really matters to me is just that it has calories." See #1, above.
  • I sort of stole a four foot basil plant from Bug's old school. The cold was already predicted and the plant looked so neglected that I couldn't help myself. I made enough pesto to fill two ice cube trays. I didn't have many pine nuts so I tried pumpkin seeds and it turned out great. Much cheaper. Stolen basil is already pretty cheap however.
  • The Halloween candy is gone; banana Laffy Taffy was the final sweet in the bowl. Bug doesn't like them, but ate one because "well, it was candy." I, on the other hand, am a candy snob.
  • The Paid Job is good. I don't have a well defined job description, no idea what sort of title best describes me, and I forget to pick up my little paychecks since I don't always work the day they get distributed. I come home exhausted, but I really like what I'm doing. I have a nice blend of shadowing a couple of kids who need support and doing observations in other classes when teachers request it. I think I'm useful.
  • Someone told me that the holidays "were upon us." I went into Starbucks and then Kroger one evening last week and discovered that Christmas had thrown up all over them both. Poor Thanksgiving.