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Home : 2004 : Jan : 9

    reply -somewhat lengthy
    By Sarah

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    I think it is evident you are a very supportive, positive and caring parent who is committed to helping your child succeed by seeking to understand his difficulties. I also believe it must be very challenging to try to have all his needs met through the public education system.

    As a teacher, I have received a similar (although much less detailed) letter from a parent before. It does help me to understand the child's needs better and reassures me that the parent(s) are supportive and willing to help. However, speaking frankly, I would not like to be told that I need to be consistent, patient and calm, etc... (i.e. told how to teach, even in a well-meaning way, by a parent). I try to do this anyway to ALL my students as they ALL deserve positive discipline and support. Each student is an individual and I make an effort to understand and meet each child's learning needs using my professional training to guide me. To summarize, getting your letter would provide me with valuable information in getting to know your son. I would not advise any parts telling the teacher what to do, as that suggests the teacher would not know what to do, i.e. sounds patronizing. I mean this kindly but sincerely.

    I cannot say that I understand the struggle you must be going through although I appreciate how frustrating it must be. From a teacher's viewpoint, I know how difficult it can be to adequately give enough time or assistance to struggling students. I do not know what size of classroom your son will be in. I have 28 students (4th grade) of whom 7 are English-as-a-second-language, 2 with labelled learning disabilities and 2 ADHD, and 1 visually impaired (who is also ESL). I have no aide and my LD students receive about 60 min of help per week. So you can see that I am spread a little thin! I accepted this challenge when I became a teacher (that's reality in public education in N. America!), and I enjoy my mission, but it means that I can't give a lot of individualized assistance. When one parent of an LD student gave me a list of things they wanted me to do for their son in September and that they expected he get extra attention ("being fair does not mean he gets equal attention with the others since he has more needs"), I felt they were not fairly understanding my role.

    So, I'd say that giving the medical information, etc... is very helpful and useful and lets the teachers know how involved and supportive you are. Perhaps do not include "teaching suggestions" in a letter but give them during your IPRC meeting (or whenever you meet to develop an educational plan) in conjunction with the psychologist's suggestions. And in a public school, expect teachers to give as much as they should, but not unreasonably so if they have so many other needy students (I'm not saying you do).

    Anyways, that's my 2 cents. I wish you and your son all the best.

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