I’m leaning toward pulling Natalie out of summer school. Even if Nat’s special education needs will be met, I’m not sure there’s a good fit.
by Kay Marner
Here I am at Stomping Grounds again, and I feel the tears coming--AGAIN. Not out of anger, this time, but from worry. This summer school shit--I don’t know if it’s worth it.
The IEP business is resolved, and I expressed my gratitude by phone--without a single tear--to the director of special ed this morning. Now, I’m left with figuring out if the goals of the summer school program are a match for ADHD daughter's needs. And, if the teacher herself is a good fit for Natalie.
So far, Natalie, who will be in 2nd grade this fall, colored pictures, watched a movie about birds, and rode a city bus to the mall and back. The teacher is probably using these activities to teach language arts, as the summer school program promises. However, Natalie’s answers to my many questions didn’t confirm that.
Since the summer school program is primarily for at-risk kids, it may be that the main goal is to provide a structured setting, rather than to teach academic skills. And, there are kids in the program for whom English is their second language. Maybe the mall trip was used for vocabulary building. Neither of those are important goals for Natalie. I prefer the structure she receives at daycare, and her academic needs are for review and practice with reading and writing.
Today I left a message with the person in charge of the summer school program, asking her to clarify the program’s goals. I want to hear what she has to say, but, at this point, I’m leaning toward pulling Natalie out after today or tomorrow. Even if Nat’s academic needs will be met, I’m not sure there’s a good fit between Natalie and her teacher.
I’m trying to separate out my own feelings, and to take into account that we got off to a rough start. I also respect the fact that this teacher has years of experience, including teaching special ed and at-risk kids. She has a long track record with the district. But, Natalie is expressing quite clearly that she is unhappy.
Both of my kids have had incredible teachers in the Ames school district. Not just acceptable, but really, really good. The teacher that Aaron has this past school year was not a good fit for his personality. I’m confident that she was a good teacher, but Aaron had a really rough year—the only rough year he’s had so far in school. I told Aaron to suck it up and deal with it. Learn to get along. Do your part to make it better—ask questions, clarify things you don’t understand. Do your very best. This will happen off and on throughout life. Just remember, next year will be different.
I’d do the same with Nat if I thought it was worth it—academically and emotionally. Is it, or isn’t it? That’s what I have to decide.