Teacher drama (and the year hasn't started yet)

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    • #56698

      First post here guys.

      My son is 9 and has been diagnosed with ADHD since 2nd grade (he’s going into 4th). His past 2 teachers have been good at working with him to curb his tendency to blurt out in class and his inability to focus, however he has drawn a teacher for 4th grade who has a reputation of being completely inflexible when it comes to working with students who have learning challenges. I have already called the principal and asked to have him moved to another teacher but I fear he may be stuck with her for the year. He has an IEP and a 504 for accomodations in the classroom. How can I make this year as good as possible while working with a difficult teacher?

    • #56711

      One thing I would suggest is that you try to give her the benefit of the doubt and give her a chance to prove that reputation wrong. (Keep in mind: she may have ‘heard’ about your son too–teachers talk; wouldn’t you want her to give him the benefit of the doubt and a clean slate instead of holding past stuff against him?)

      Teachers often get ‘reputations’ that are sometimes unfair and unfounded and due to circumstances and situations where we don’t always have the real story (as Dr. Phil says, “no matter how flat the pancake, there are always two sides!”). Also, there’s a chance that she’s recognized her need to change and has made a commitment to do better/differently this year. You don’t know.

      So my suggestion is that if your son winds up with this teacher, (or with any teacher he winds up with), you approach her with a clean-slate mindset right from the get-go: let her know that your goal is to find a way to make this year the best year yet for your son (and for her) and that you welcome her input and suggestions. Let her know how to contact you with questions and concerns (and even find out what her favorite beverage or treat is so you can surprise her from time to time!) If you view her (and treat her) as an ally and a valuable member of your parenting team, she will be much more likely to rise to that.

      Hope this helps.
      Joyce Mabe
      Parenting Coach, school counselor, author, mom of adult son with ADHD
      website: http://www.parentcoachjoyce.com

    • #56831
      Penny Williams

      I completely understand your hesitation to embrace a teacher with a reputation of inflexibility. When my son was in elementary school, the principal hand-picked the teachers for all students with IEPs, to ensure as good a fit as possible. My input was welcomed on that as well. Hopefully, the principal will either work with you on a change or support the decision to leave your son in this teacher’s class (maybe she is the best fit for him of all the 4th grade teachers).

      You can certainly embrace the final decision and make the best of it. Here are some strategies for effectively working with teachers:

      Don’t Wait for the Parent-Teacher Conference! 11 Year-Round Cooperation Rules

      United We Learn: 11 Rules for a Better Parent-Teacher Partnership

      ADDitude Community Moderator, Author & Mentor on Parenting ADHD, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism

    • #56924

      I was just told my 3 year old who I have custody of and has been diagnosed with ptsd, rad, autism, severe anxiety and adhd will have a similar situation. I was told his new teacher is not as nurturing as his previous ones. She strict and she leaves no wiggle room. I too am concerned about how this will work as last year I had a parent advocate for him that if it was a bad morning I gave her a quick heads up she would meet him straight off the bus and help him transition. I too have to wait an see, but I will not tolerate him being triggered by her and then a meltdown! And his are very violent. It it his first full year!

    • #57110

      @shudson76 – absolutely, treating your child’s as a behavior problem is not a great solution. We had a very difficult kinder year, and learned (the hard way) that we need to change how we interact with teachers.

      In addition to @Parentcoachjoyce and @ADHDmomma responses, a couple of things:

      Put it in writing. (use the clean slate approach, and try to emphasize the team aspect as much as possible.) If you do not already have it in writing – at least get that communication started.

      (I use our parent coach for these letters, my tendency is put my passion for my child into strongly worded letters – that do not motivate folks to help us. So know your strengths)
      Understand the school. Volunteer, donate, remember birthdays, clean up days on the campus. Become a familiar face. We have seen an improvement since we started committing ourselves to volunteer hours.
      Go hi:District level. What is going on at that level? Are there special events or training sessions? Our School District has an annual Dyslexia conference. We go, we shake hands, we talk to teachers and vendors. Even though reading is not challenging for our child, we meet other parents.. we meet school staff. We listen to how they frame problems, and in particular we listen for the priorities of the district. Then we take that, and use it when we team up with the teacher. If we understand the pressure on the teacher from “above” – then we can frame our advocacy correctly.

      Go lo: Teacher In our case, we sponsored the teacher to go to several seminars. They all offered “sponsored seat” deals for teachers that were less expensive than if the teacher paid directly, and the teacher got some CUE’s – so it was an attractive offer for her! We did not just donate to the PTA continuing education fund because we wanted to reinforce the relationship with the teacher.

      • This reply was modified 4 years, 5 months ago by lynnl.
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