I cannot get to sleep tonight. Tomorrow I have my first yearly 504 review. What exactly is it that we are going to review? There will be one teacher from my child’s team present as well as the school counselor. We are 3/4 through the school year and I am sad to admit that the teachers have not been complying with the accommodations. Somehow, I believe that they feel the accommodations are recommendations and it is up to their discretion if or to what degree they follow them. So what do I walk in and say? These accommodations are working perfectly and let’s just sign on the dotted line until we meet again exactly one year from now? I am really just disappointed that they don’t seem to get it. I imagine to them, Chase seems like a kid the same as any other. Again, they only see him when he is on his medication so maybe they don’t witness the total lack of attention and concentration. They don’t see what goes on at home when his 10 page packet is at least half wrong if it’s even halfway done at all. It seems to me that these kids are given these packets that are even hard for me to understand and given an extended period of time to work on getting all the pages of questions done. I am seriously curious as to whether their is any structured teaching going on at all or if these kids read the information independently and spend their class time searching for answers but never really grasping the information. Yes, I know I blog about this a lot and yes I know I am somewhat fixated on the topic but I am a huge advocate for the best interest of kids.
Here’s an example of something that happened today. My son is in orchestra. Remember, this is the teacher that did not realize he had a 504 until the end of first semester and then somehow did not realize my son was missing from her classroom a second hour he was scheduled to be in her class. He sat in the wrong class for 4 weeks before she even noticed, so before I get to the story, it is important you have the background. Every 9 weeks the kids are supposed to hand in an orchestra report. Semester 1, he got a 40 and when I inquired why I wasn’t aware of this report, it suddenly came to her attention that Chase had a 504 and that I should have been notified. Hmmm…one of the accommodations that is being ignored. So, here we are, end of third semester and my son doesn’t have this report done again. So I park the car and tell him to go inside and get the paper. He tells me it was due today and she won’t let him do it late. So I remind him he was absent on Friday and should have an extra day. So, inside the school we go. We see the teacher in the hall and ask if we can have a copy of the report and she tells us it is too late to hand it in. She explains she wrote the assignment on the board 9 weeks ago so the kids should have known to hand it in. She explains the kids need to be more responsible for their own work. I chuckled out loud a bit and said “are you kidding me?” I reminded her part of the reason we got a 504 in the first place is because Chase is so unorganized, was not completing his work and was not handing it in on time. Then suddenly her demeanor changed. She agreed since it was still Friday he could sit down and fill the report out right there in her office. I sent Chase out to the music room and closed the door. I asked this lovely lady to explain to me the common goal the teachers are trying to achieve once these kids are headed out of middle school and into high school. I sat there quietly and waited for it, but nothing. By this time I was quite heated and I asked what is the logic behind allowing a child to nOT hand their work in and reminded her that my goal and job as a parent is to make sure Chase does not believe he has an option at all. If work is due, he will do it for me regardless whether the teacher will accept it or not. I explained to her that unlike teachers, parents are not fixated so much on grades but rather on making sure the kids develop discipline and the principals necessary to help them be successful in school once into college. I apologized sarcastically for the inconvenience it must be to have to put up with a kid with ADD. I told her I understand her frustration about Chase needing to be reminded during a nine week time span that a report is coming due because he is so inattentive he probably doesn’t notice the board. I sympathized with her that we have to give a push in the right direction to keep him on task and make sure he gets his work in on time. I just about lost it and she became a sympathetic, agreeable individual because she knows damn well if she had put that assignment on parent portal like she is supposed to do, I would have known about it and it would have been done. Why do these teachers want to hold these kids (that are finding their way) to a higher standard of being responsible than they expect from themselves. I’m done. I’ve been nice. I’ve talked as sweetly as I can until I am blue in the face. I have watched them ignore my kid, ignore he even has a 504 and then when they do know, ignore the plan all together. What am I supposed to do? Please someone tell me. This kid is overwhelmed, exhausted and completely zoned out. He has 3 tests on Wednesday. One is in social studies and the information is the Caribbean Islands, Mexican, and Central America. He also has a report due the same day. His so called notes are a packet that he worked on individually and half of it was incomplete and much of it wrong. Then a science packet comes home today to be corrected along with a study guide. Again, my son said he read the information to himself in class and worked on this packet for weeks. And, the study guide was completely blank. His grades on the pages of the packet were as follows, 10/10, 4/10, 12/12, 2/8, 5/7, 2/12, 4/8, 7/13, 2/6, 3/3. Does this appear to be a kid that is ready for a test? And remember, no-one corrects the study guide. Would it not be smarter to review for the tests since clearly the kids did do poorly on their packets that they had to take them home and correct them. It seems to me that no one really cares whether the kids are learning just that they fix the work to get the better grade. When did the teaching stop and the kids start to work and learn independently on their own? Is this happening in every state or is it just mine? I am really hoping for some feedback because it is something I am really curious about. I can tell you this. I am 42 years old, I read the packet of the information, I studied it to help him study, and still I couldn’t answer the questions. They were confusing and difficult and I am sad that this is the experience my kids will remember as school. With all this focus on grades and tests, are we missing the foundation of what school was meant for? Teaching so the kids would learn? I am just confused as to what our priorities and motivations have become. I can’t even imagine what will happen years from now.
Teachers go crazy when I post this kind of stuff. I say this, if you are a teacher please make sense out of all of this. I gripe because I have legitimate reasons and simply I am finally fed up. What the hell is going on in our schools? I really am trying to understand.