I love my kids’ elementary school because the people there seem so genuinely to be on my kids’ teams. I love my kids’ elementary school because I feel like the people there are willing to partner with me for my children.
I read posts that other parents write about the anxiety that parent-teacher conferences bring up. I read posts about teachers that seem to do little but bad-talk children to their parents. I read posts about parent-teacher relationships where there is obviously a fence between parent and teacher.
[I'm frantically knocking on wood now.]
I don’t feel any of that from my kids’ teachers.
Sam is a kid born for school. He is smart, well-behaved, and eager to please. If I were a teacher, I’d want Sam in my class. (If I do say so myself.)
But with Jack, there are ample opportunities for his teachers and aides to get frustrated with him. His teacher says she doesn’t know a whole lot about kids on the spectrum, but she still is so understanding and really seems to get that the way he acts out is due to his disability. Trust me when I say that I don’t take that for granted.
His aides are similarly fabulous. They constantly tell me how much they love him, even after he’s put them through the wringer. (He poked one of them in the face with a pencil once. She responded to my apology note with a written comment: “I still adore him!”) I can’t express how much that means to me.
I walked into parent-teacher conferences today a little skittish, but not too worried. I was wrong to feel nervous at all. The aide and teacher who spoke to me about Jack were so encouraging and validating. They confirmed things about Jack that I believe, and they listened to me when I told them about Jack. Even when talking about some of Jack’s less desirable behaviors (spitting, hitting, trying to sharpen his finger in the pencil sharpener), Jack’s teacher was not even slightly condemning.
Even with all this support though, it is clear that Jack needs one to one support. We have hired a lawyer and an educational consultant and have begun what looks to be a long, slow process. I am just so glad that in the meantime Jack has three amazing women (two aides and his teacher) who give him such thoughtful, compassionate, and loving support.