Oct 25, 2008

Parent-Teacher Conference Nightmare

Last Thursday afternoon I had Kristin's first parent-teacher conference. Unfortunately I left mad and have continued to get more mad. Ok, before I go on about the conference, I have to give the backstory. Most of you know that two years ago Kristin was diagnosed ADHD, which came as no surprise to us, and she has taken Strattera everyday since then and has done great with it. Siloam schools do not allow you to request a certain teacher for your child so I wrote a letter to the school just telling them about Kristin and that she has to have a teacher who will be loving, yet firm, who will be consistent and keep her focused. When I found out she had Mrs. Thomas, I thought it would be a good match. Mrs. Thomas is an older teacher who is known for being a little tough with the kids, but fun. So, at open house I told Mrs. Thomas all about Kristin, that she is on medicine, but still needs help staying focused and that she like to talk....all the time (I have no clue where she gets that :) ). I gave her all of my phone numbers, e-mail, and asked her to let me know if Krisitn has any problems. I heard nothing, Kristin was gettting good behavior reports, etc. Well, last month it was time for Kristin's Strattera check-up. I e-mailed Mrs. Thomas, told her Kristin was going to the doctor for her meds and to let me know how she's doing in class. I heard nothing. The day that I was taking Kristin to the doctor, she called me and told me Kristin does not listen, pay attention, do her work, and talks all the time. I said ok and that I would let the doctor know. Meanwhile I'm thinking, why is she getting good behavior reports if she's having all these problems? We go to the doctor and she decides to raise the dosage of Strattera a little since she's grown so much since last year. The next day I wrote a letter to Mrs. Thomas about the new dosage and to please let me know how she does..good, bad, no change, whatever, I need to know. I heard nothing, Kristin got great behavior reports, so I think things are great.

Last Thursday was the conference. Mrs. Thomas starts in on how Kristin is just out of control, does not listen, talks all the time, does not finish her work, does not know her sight words and is just having all kinds of problems. Why am I just now hearing about it???? She wanted to know if we started new medicine and I said it's the same medicine just new dosgae (did she read my note?). Then she said "well shouldn't that stop everything?" At this point, I was really getting mad because she was already talking bad about Montessori children and how they cannot handle the structure of public schools (hello, I am a Montessori teacher and she knows it!). I told her that the medicine just helps her to better control her impulsions, focus, etc, but that she still needs help, there is nothing to just "make it go away or stop." From what I gathered from the teacher, when Kristin talks when she's not supposed to, she just tells her to stop, there is no other consequence. Kristin has to have immediate consequences. Mrs. Thomas said she doesn't remember what she's supposed to be doing after directions are given and I told her she will have to tell her more than once and then check to make sure she's doing the work. If not, make her do it. If the teacher isn't checking to make sure she's doing her work, then of course she's going to talk or draw or whatever else she'd rather be doing instead. I suggested that she have Kristin sit at a desk by herself. She didn't like that idea but said she'd try it. I asked Kristin if she sat by herself yesterday and she said no, she was in her same spot.

I talked to Shawn a lot about it (her daughters are in the 5th grade and are both ADHD). I'm writing a letter to the teacher telling her things that have and have not worked for Kristin in the past. I'm going to give it a week, if I continue to now hear anything from her, I'm going to talk to the principal. That's what really makes me mad in all of this...I've asked numerous times for her to please let me know how Kristin is doing and she doesn't do it. The preschool I teach at is literally right across the street for the kindergarten school, so she has many ways to get in touch with me. It also bothers me that she told Kristin that I would be dissapointed in her and mad after the conference (Kristin didn't want to go home..she thought she'd be in trouble). I would never tell that to one of my kids. She made it clear to me that she does not like Montessori teaching and I figure since she's and "old school" teacher, she probably doens't believe ADD even exists. I really don't think she's taking any time with Kristin. On the report card there were several things Kristin has known forever that the teacehr says she doesn't know..days of the week, colors, rec. numbers 1-10. It's just crazy. So, that's been my past few days...mad and frustrated. As a teacher I know how hard it is to have to keep remining a child to their work, or to be quiet, or to keep checking up on them. I've got two in my class that I have to constantly stay on top of or they will be off somewhere doing who knows what, and I've got other children I have to teach too, but that's just part of it!

Ok, I'm done vernting now and feel much better. Kristin spent the night last night with Shawn and her girls...she will probably never want to come home!

Oct 8, 2008

Picture Day!

Kristin and her Halloween decorations

Fall is here and so is the Kids Special at Main Street Studios! Kristin had her pictures taken today. This year they were at a big yellow barn out in the country. It was such a pretty fall day today. I can't believe this is the same child who just two years ago refused to smile for the photographer. Now she thinks he's her best friend! She had a great time posing and I think he was able to get some really good pics. These pictures were taken after we got home and she was still in "model mode".

We have gone from a stomach bug to a chicken pox outbreak. There are a ton of kids in the middle school coming down with it, as well as both of Shawn's girls and some of the preschoolers. Thankfully if they've had the shot, it won't be as severe, but it's still no fun.

Summer is over, fall is here, I've brought out the shorts and sweatshirts and have come to life! This is my favorite time of year and the colder it gets, the happier I get. I'm as crazy as my preschoolers!!!