new kid on the block

It's been a rough first week back from Spring Break. It was the usual "Oh-no-there's-eleven-more-weeks-to-go" slump, plus I got a new student.

Remember when I kept saying what an easy and great year it's been for me? Well, apparently I should have been knocking on more wood.

The new girl, "Tammy" has thrown quite a wrench into things. She's a nine year old second grader who came to our program because she's too high functioning for the multi-handicapped unit where she'd been placed this year.  The problem is that she's too low functioning for our program.

Tammy is a darling little girl with the most charming smile, but here are the issues I've been dealing with:

*Sometimes, she can only understand if you sign to her. This is an oral program and my knowledge of sign is limited.

*If I ask her a question, 90% of the time she'll answer me in "Spanish". I have to use quotation marks here because our Spanish-speaking aide can't understand her.

*She's a wanderer. One second she's at her seat, and the next she's going through my desk drawers.

*She's bossy and likes to tell the other kids what to do (Ha! Just like me!)

*She can only count to 14, and she knows 22 out of 26 letters of the alphabet. She can't write her letters yet.

So it seems that I have my work cut out for me! The sad truth is that our district is NOT providing her with an appropriate eduction: she would be very successful in a self-contained hearing impaired classroom (we're a mainstream program that pulls out for Language Arts). The problem is that the district doesn't provide that kind of program. They know they need it. There's just no money.

I wish I could tell mom to sue.

I really hate it when the educational system lets our kids down...


alicia said...

I'm so ready for spring break to be over here, but I'm sure as teacher it's rough. Thanks for stopping by!

Rachel said...

Ahh, I think your post proves exactly why one program isn't right for *everyone*.

I was pulled from a total communication program at a time when they had Special Ed funding galore.

I spent a year in a self-contained hearing-impaired classroom, two years in a mainstream program, and then the bullying became too much.

Placed in a tiny private school with no accommodations except to sit near the front of the room... were the best 2 years of my education.

Back to public school mainstreaming, and suddenly my curriculum was back down to the lowest common denominator.

It's just sad to see potential go to waste, especially in the formative years.

Glad you are working with her and hope that she is able to blossom!

Steff said...

When I was an aid in a Lifeskills class for 4 years, I saw this kind of stuff ALL THE TIME. It's so heartbreaking to see a kid that you know has potential, just get lost in the school system. Even if they just had an aid who could help them specifically, it would help wonders!

Bellismom said...

It is so sad to see stuff like that happening. Especially when you know the parents probably don't know any better and there is only so much you can do without taking away from the other kids. Such a tough situation.

Miss Kat's Parents said...

Can she attend your state school for the Deaf? Sounds like a better placement than your class.

Joey @ Big Teeth and Clouds said...

This makes me start to churn through my very mixed feelings about mainstreaming. I won't bore you with them here, but it's frustrating that "individualized" plans can still be so very general.

malia said...

Hi, That sounds like a challenging student... she's lucky to have you for a teacher. I don't know how you teachers do it... have so much love and compassion for so many kids.

SharleneT said...

And, it's not going to get any better. They're cutting programs like crazy here. Here's hoping you find a link to get through to her -- you'll both feel great. And, of course, you have to make your bricks without straw! Carry on. Come visit when you can.

Shell said...

Oh, that is so hard! I hope that you can figure out a way to help her.

Everyday Mom Ideas said...

My husband will start his student teaching at the elementary school this fall. Any advice?

Charlotte said...

Wow, that is tough. My sister taught in an autistic classroom for years and had some students that were inappropriately placed. It was always so frustrating!

Bethany @ Organic Enchilada said...

I can't imagine how hard that will be. So many obvious solutions, and no way to implement them!

Maranda said...

Oh that stinks. I hate that the education system and our kids are getting shafted because of lack of money. I hope she is able to progress quickly and do well in your class.

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