Playing the Role of Teacher and Parent

Me with my son

Me with my son

Last night I attended open house at my son’s school…my former school. I was genuinely excited about connecting with his teachers as I knew some of them from my time inside its walls. One of the reasons that I changed districts was that I needed to be able to advocate for my child with zero guilt. Sometimes working in the same district makes it hard to raise sand when needed and I have had to raise my share of sand.

I have a child who is of the percentage of kids that are correctly diagnosed with ADHD. Lucky for us, his ADHD came with a slew of other terms as well. It’s pretty intense in our home at times and he has a 504 at school. As his hormones change, his medication has to be adjusted. Sometimes, at 14, he forgets to take his medicine. Any person that knows him can tell when he’s off. That’s how much of a difference that it makes for him.

As a 5th grader, my son was told by his reading teacher that he would be imprisoned by 16. As a 7th grader, he was told that he did not belong in his pre-ap classes. He had a grade in the high C range at the time. The same teacher denied the existence of his condition as she said that it wasn’t plausible since most kids are over medicated. As an 8th grader, his teachers decided to start a “discipline” plan for his forgetting of his pencils even though I had a plan in place and a case of supplies at school for him. They thought that they could teach him “how to be responsible” by denying the provisions that he had in place…and on his 504. I will ALWAYS advocate for my son. Had I not, he would’ve surely been broken by now. Every child wants and deserves teachers who care and unfortunately this has not always been the case for my child.

A few days ago, I wrote a post about my son’s school and the decision to bring in a “mentor therapist” without parental contact. I am STILL annoyed by this, however I was able to talk to one of the AP’s that I trust last night and his words are why I will be okay with this year.

The guy that they brought in is known for his ability to reach kids, something that some in this school struggle with. My son, who rarely likes anyone, likes this guy because he seems to genuinely care. Anyone that truly knows my son understands how much of a BIG DEAL this is as my son does not open up to anyone, yet he does to his school mentor. This is where I had to put my “school policy” hat aside and listen to my kid. While my teacher self was fuming, my parental instinct is excited for him.

Yes, I still think that antiquated teaching practices have to change. I still think that engagement must happen in the classroom. However, I applaud my son’s school for bringing in someone to do what some of its teachers would not.

They brought in a guy to reach kids and my son gets to benefit from that. He gets to have someone on campus who cares for him and while I am miles away dealing with my  own instructional issues, this makes me happy.

The next step for me is hopefully meeting the man who is mentoring my child.

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