Never Debate Your Job Description With a Parent (and other lesson's I've learned along the way)

I wish you could take a picture of a conversation. Because, then, I could just post the picture here on my blog and you could all look at it and see immediately that it is wrong, wrong, wrong. Instead, let me relate it to you via the written word...
A face-to-face conversation between the father of my 6th grade student with Down Syndrome, and her classroom teacher [it all started yesterday when the teacher wrote the parent that "Suzy" had been a little "trying" lately]:
Dad: "What's causing you to say that Suzy has been "trying" lately?" (he asks, as 25 other students wait for the teacher to start class)
Teacher: "She has had a lot of bathroom incidents in her pants lately. Fifteen to date. Have you brought her to the doctor to rule out medical reasons?"
Dad: "No, not really. And I can see that you've really turned against my Suzy"
Teacher: "Absolutely not! I love Suzy and treat her with the utmost respect, even when she has an accident. Special needs or not, though, when a student is taking away learning time from 25 other students, like when my class sat for 30 minutes during math while I helped Suzy get cleaned up, then it becomes a problem."
Dad: "When we've met before, Mrs. B [that's me!] told us there were other placement options out there for Suzy. Why hasn't she told us about what these other options are?!?"
Teacher: "Isn't that something you should be looking into for YOUR daughter?"
Dad: "It's HER job to inform me of what the options are. I don't have the resources to look for a different placement" [I'm sorry; does he not have a PHONE???]
Teacher: "What are YOU doing about looking for placements next year?"
Dad: "It's not my job. SHE's the special ed. teacher. SHE should know what's out there and then tell me."
Special education teachers do play an important role with these kiddos. But let me set the record straight: it's the parent's responsibility to be the best advocate for their child. That is just Common Sense 101. Next, I'll bet Dad will be whining about how I don't come over to their house and get Suzy dressed, and feed her breakfast, and drive her to school, and help her with homework, and drive her to gymnastics........


Anonymous said...

I am empathetic to your dilemma.
I have to admit I'm glad it's Mrs. B rather than Ms O. How many more days left?

Sarah said...

41 DAYS!!!! But who's counting?

Ms. H said...

Words escape me.

Anonymous said...

Me too!

Anonymous said...

What? I should have been pursing the best for my 3 kids? So that's where I went wrong! dad

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a "special needs Dad!" Hang in there! Mom

ms-teacher said...

I wish that ALL parents understood the importance of being an advocate for their child.

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