Last Sunday, I sent an email to six different key players that are part of my son’s education. In the email, I shared results from an assessment called the BRIEF and new information that I had gained from Dr. Dan Peter’s book. Combined, I felt like both of these pieces of information would help explain my son’s opposition to school and being educated in their one-size-fits-all-way.
Obviously, I didn’t expect a response on Sunday. I didn’t really expect one on Monday; however, by Tuesday afternoon, I was disappointed that no one had taken the time to respond.
Late Wednesday night, I sent an email to the Special Education Director, who was one of the recipients. I explained our discomfort with the fact that no one had responded. Only after this second email sent by me, did she respond that afternoon. She threw around excuses for the slow acknowledgment and said that another player would be letting me know their thoughts. At the end, I was reminded that the counselor (who would be emailing me) was very busy.
I sat and shook my head.
In the past, they said that I questioned their professionalism. I did. I still do. It isn’t out of disrespect for the job, but out of frustration of their lack of action when it comes to my son.
As an educator, you must grow comfortable with a certain amount of questions from parents. After all, we are the ones caring, influencing and educating their most valuable treasure. I didn’t get that as much until I had my own child; I really didn’t understand the questioning parent until I joined the “Special Needs Parent club”.
On Facebook, I read that parenting was like having your heart walking around, out there in the streets, independent of you.
I completely agree.
I had a conference with a parent recently. A parent that I would have, in my previous life, considered difficult. I got what she was saying. I got her. I am her!
The meeting went so differently now in 2014 than it would have gone in 2004. This time, I lead with compassion, understanding, empathy and I shared my own flawed parenting stories. I wasn’t trying to “prove” anything by sitting across the table with my pile of work samples and anecdotal notes that pointed out how he was not performing, not what he should be.
At the end of the meeting, she hugged me and thanked me.
As she walked away, I worried for her because while I got it, I knew that there would be others that wouldn’t. They couldn’t. Unless you walk in the scuffed up, worn out, exhausted shoes of the special needs parent, you might not understand.