Wednesday, September 3, 2008

The honeymoon…it is over

With a crash, the veneer of optimism has fallen off to reveal yet another year of hard work and challenges.

It started with an assignment that the special one just wasn’t up for. What would be a no-brainer for the neuro-typical crowd was a brick wall for my kid. We just don’t have that level of expressive language. You can ask questions and get simple answers, but the blank slate of "what-questions" was too much. Much frustration ensued on all sides with a lack of understanding about how something that seems so simple, for a kid that is obviously so smart, can be so hard. Then I saw a general level of frustration and I started to wonder about the choice to push for an inclusive education instead of staying in a segregated special ed school.

A few minutes later, with a different kid, and I found out that the no melt-down streak was over. I started wondering what was going on when frustration with homework seemed out of line. After a little detective work I found out that at school there had been a misunderstanding about a homework assignment, leading to a frustrated teacher and said kid being singled out in the class with threats of detention. That in turn led to the shame of tears in the classroom. I was left trying to calm a once again crying kid that was groaning “What the hell is the matter with me…”

Then, the cherry on top – the 3rd kid was too sick to go to school the next morning. I gave the “tough it out” response to “my stomach doesn’t feel good” until vomit was involved. I guess I should have pushed for phone contacts in each class to get homework assignments earlier.

All I have to say is BLAH!


  1. I'm sorry that you're having a bit of a tough time. I have to say, that my biggest weakness last year was working with students with special needs because I had NO training on it -- besides how to read an IEP. If schools want to push inclusion they HAVE to be aggressive in helping teachers work with inclusion students effectively. I have now taken my Master's Degree from Hopkin's one required special education class, and it was interesting but not entirely applicable to my classroom. I can see why you're so frustrated.

  2. I agree that everyone involved needs training to make inclusion work, but inclusion is more than some initiative that the system is trying to push. Inclusion (at it's best) is about seeing the value and worth of special needs kids. The concept is like that of racial integration of schools (again at it's best) - to teach everyone involved that we have a lot in common. I want my special one to be included and valued by society - inclusive education is the first step for both parties to learn about each other.

  3. You're right of course -- and I misspoke (mis-typed?) when I said that the schools are pushing it as if it's just a random school initiative. I completely agree that inclusion can be a very good thing for everyone involved, when done correctly. I'm working on doing a better job of it in my classroom. Unfortunately, I have found that a lot of teachers are being told that we "have to do this" because otherwise "we'll get sued." Which is obviously the wrong attitude.


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