Author Topic: Yes, I know I'm making it personal...  (Read 15593 times)

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cityslicker

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Yes, I know I'm making it personal...
« on: January 09, 2013, 02:31:02 PM »


I sometimes struggle with the line between personal and professional when it comes to my kid's teachers.  I want to be professional, I want them to be professional, they ARE professionals...and yet, my kids are very personal to me. 


I like some advice about if it's ever appropriate to make it personal with a teacher when being professional is not getting you what your kids need.  This incident happened a year ago, but it feel it still has reverberations through my kids school experience.  I struggle with wanting to apologize, try to make it right, but have been cautioned by someone I trust that this would be interpreted as admitting wrongdoing.  So I guess my question also includes the question of how to acknowledge and move on. 

To try to be brief, say my son has purple disability, in which it is commonly understood that some difficult behaviors can be attributed to symptoms of the disability.  Purple disability has a set of treatment techniques that are widely understood to be effective and are well known. 

His (new to him) special education teacher began applying techniques to him that are commonly understood to be effective with pink disability, but are 180 degrees different than techniques used for purple disability.   I felt that these pink techniques were detrimental to my son.  They included some physical restraining, which my son perceives as panic inducing rather than soothing. 

I spoke with her many times about this, and discovered in speaking with her that she did not know even the most basic information about purple disability.  She assured me she was learning about it as quickly as she could.  This problem persisted through the school year.  I spoke with her.  I spoke with her immediate supervisor.  I spoke with her director.  I spoke with the school principal.  I got nowhere, and was encouraged to be patient and work with her.  I requested that he be assigned a different teacher, and this was denied.  People listened, but it all kind of had the feel that I was complaining too much and didn't want to see my son disciplined. 

Finally, I was venting to a friend one day (this was months into this problem).  Her sister used to be teacher's coworker- just one of those small world things.  Friend shared with me that teacher had left her previous employment, working with pink disability, because she wanted to become a director of various disability programs in the future and the one hole in her resume was that she had no experience in working with purple disability.  Talk about information I didn't really want to know. 

We plugged along for another month, until she told me her plan for the next year was to divide his behaviors into volitional and non volitional behaviors and send him home from school early for volitional behaviors, which is a pink disability technique.  I asked how she planned to do this as she does not have any training in purple disability and she told me she planned to train in purple disability over the summer.  She also shared that she had not trained in purple disability over the school year as she had been busy. 

I, unfortunately, blew up at that point and told her very emotionally that I was aware of her career aspirations, that I was aware that she was using this job as a resume builder, and that my son was not going be her training experience.  She wanted to know who had told me that, which I did not share.  She did not deny that this was correct information.  She started crying and we left, both in tears and angry.

I spoke with both of her supervisors in the next few days- the immediate supervisor to be told that we were getting a new teacher, because current teacher felt that I had attacked her personally and felt she was no longer able to work with me, and the director, who told me that I had not kept the discussion on a professional level and had "made it personal."

We got a new teacher, who was experienced in purple disability, and things almost immediately got much better, where they have remained to this day.  Old teacher has clearly talked to several people at the school, who have referenced in passing the difficulties she and I had.  I'm concerned about this, but also really wonder if I shouldn't have "made it personal"?  I have considered apologizing to her over the last few months but keep coming back to the fact that this is how my son was able to get what he needed.

Plus, I keep thinking "yes, I made it personal.  It is personal!"

Thanks for reading this novel, I'd appreciate any counsel.


lilihob

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Re: Yes, I know I'm making it personal...
« Reply #1 on: January 09, 2013, 02:49:02 PM »
Did you swear at her?
Did you physically touch her?
If you can honestly say no to these questions, you did nothing wrong.
She let your child down, she wept when you busted her on why she was letting your child down.
I feel that she is the one making it personal by dragging others into your disagreement.
A teacher once tried to force my child to "mentor"(baby-sit) a disruptive child. She admitted this made her life easier. It did not make my child's life easier. I put a stop to it. Children go to school to learn and be supported by the adults, anything else is not acceptable. The child's only responsibility is to do their very best.
She was using your son to practice on, whether she was bolstering her resume or not.
 A student teacher is only acceptable if you can see they're visibly improving. She was obviously failing him.
Do not apologise for advocating for your child.

Moray

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Re: Yes, I know I'm making it personal...
« Reply #2 on: January 09, 2013, 02:51:14 PM »
I'm not sure why you're using "made it personal" as shorthand for "yelled at her".  :-\

First: I absolutely agree that you should (and have every right to) take things up the chain if she is not giving appropriate treatment to your son for whatever reason. That said, you had no right to yell at her, and I think your comment about her career aspirations was out of line for the simple reason that it was a personal attack, and also indicated that you'd been researching her/gossiping about her.

I know this sounds harsh, but you did yourself (and your son!) no favors by unloading on her. Now the school's focus may  be on your emotional outburst and finding another teacher who you don't have a "personality conflict" with, instead of finding someone already qualified to treat your son, or providing the existing teacher with the help and training she needs to be effective.

ETA: I misread; I see now that they've already brought in a new teacher.
« Last Edit: January 09, 2013, 02:58:25 PM by Moray »
Utah

lilihob

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Re: Yes, I know I'm making it personal...
« Reply #3 on: January 09, 2013, 02:58:21 PM »
I'm not sure why you're using "made it personal" as shorthand for "yelled at her".  :-\

First: I absolutely agree that you should (and have every right) to take things up the chain if she is not giving appropriate treatment to your son for whatever reason. That said, you had no right to yell at her, and I think your comment about her career aspirations was out of line for the simple reason that it was a personal attack, and also indicated that you'd been researching her/gossiping about her.

I know this sounds harsh, but you did yourself (and your son!) no favors by unloading on her. Now the school's focus may  be on your emotional outburst and finding another teacher who you don't have a "personality conflict" with, instead of finding someone already qualified to treat your son, or providing the existing teacher with the help and training she needs to be effective.

I think I messed up the quotes :-[
" This problem persisted through the school year.  I spoke with her.  I spoke with her immediate supervisor.  I spoke with her director.  I spoke with the school principal.  I got nowhere, and was encouraged to be patient and work with her.  I requested that he be assigned a different teacher, and this was denied."

I missed the yelling part, that was unfortunate, but OP did try to deal with it nicely, months went by, no progress til she did lose her temper. She admitted to doing no research, why is it the OPs son's job to teach her?

Steve

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Re: Yes, I know I'm making it personal...
« Reply #4 on: January 09, 2013, 02:59:57 PM »
You did fine, you got done what needed to be done. You should be really proud of yourself for helping your son this way.

In my opinion, an unqualified teacher should not be responsible for a special needs child alone. It is fine that she wants to learn, but it should have been under the supervision of an experienced teacher. You told the truth and obviously struck a nerve. You were obviously right, no apologising for being right imo



Moray

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Re: Yes, I know I'm making it personal...
« Reply #5 on: January 09, 2013, 03:02:41 PM »
I'm not sure why you're using "made it personal" as shorthand for "yelled at her".  :-\

First: I absolutely agree that you should (and have every right) to take things up the chain if she is not giving appropriate treatment to your son for whatever reason. That said, you had no right to yell at her, and I think your comment about her career aspirations was out of line for the simple reason that it was a personal attack, and also indicated that you'd been researching her/gossiping about her.

I know this sounds harsh, but you did yourself (and your son!) no favors by unloading on her. Now the school's focus may  be on your emotional outburst and finding another teacher who you don't have a "personality conflict" with, instead of finding someone already qualified to treat your son, or providing the existing teacher with the help and training she needs to be effective.

I think I messed up the quotes :-[
" This problem persisted through the school year.  I spoke with her.  I spoke with her immediate supervisor.  I spoke with her director.  I spoke with the school principal.  I got nowhere, and was encouraged to be patient and work with her.  I requested that he be assigned a different teacher, and this was denied."

I missed the yelling part, that was unfortunate, but OP did try to deal with it nicely, months went by, no progress til she did lose her temper. She admitted to doing no research, why is it the OPs son's job to teach her?

Where did I say it was the OP's job to teach her? I very explicitly said that she had every right and responsibility to advocate to her son. However, and this is a big "however", yelling was not appropriate. It was rude. Full stop.

That doesn't mean the OP isn't entitled to her feelings. That doesn't mean she doesn't get to cry and be frustrated. But yelling at the teacher was a personal attack, and it was rude.
Utah

Hmmmmm

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Re: Yes, I know I'm making it personal...
« Reply #6 on: January 09, 2013, 03:03:58 PM »
I'm not sure how this discussion couldn't have taken on some type of "personal" angle.

She "personally" had no training in dealing with your son, therefore, she could not professionally help your son. 

Her lack of training has an effect on your son "personally".

If you blew up at her and started calling her names, then I can see the director's point about you making it personal.  But really, I think you should just be glad you were able to finally convince them to get an instructor in with the necessary training needed.  And if anything, the Director should be apologizing to you for allowing the issue to go on so long that it ended up in an emotional blow up for both of you. 

Cat-Fu

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Re: Yes, I know I'm making it personal...
« Reply #7 on: January 09, 2013, 03:04:02 PM »
Did you swear at her?
Did you physically touch her?
If you can honestly say no to these questions, you did nothing wrong.

I think one can honestly say no to those questions and still have behaved badly. Yelling isn't appropriate, that's why people apologize when they lose their temper. We are all only human, but you have to own up to your mistakes. It doesn't sound like either you or the teacher did, cityslicker.
“Poetry is a sword of lightning, ever unsheathed, which consumes the scabbard that would contain it.” PBS

WillyNilly

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Re: Yes, I know I'm making it personal...
« Reply #8 on: January 09, 2013, 03:04:42 PM »
I completely disagree with Moray. You clearly did your son a huge favor by getting personal because your son is now getting the education and disability support he needs and is entitled to.

I also don't see why you, as a parent, which is a personal role,should be expected to act professionally. The teacher is a professional but your role *is* personal - her career (making things easy, her experience, etc) are not your responsibility, your responsibility is to your son and that is a personal role. Sure its great and preferable when your personal goals and needs mesh well with the teacher's professional goals and needs but that still allows they are vastly different roles.

So long as you didn't sabatage her career, I think you were 100% fine. You tried the "official" route of talking to her and her superiors and it didn't work and you needed to do *something*. If they didn't want it to come to you making personal, they should have fixed the problem before it came to that.

Moray

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Re: Yes, I know I'm making it personal...
« Reply #9 on: January 09, 2013, 03:07:32 PM »
It's a fact of life that sometimes (don't tell the kids!) tantrums work. They just do. That doesn't make them polite.
Utah

JustEstelle

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Re: Yes, I know I'm making it personal...
« Reply #10 on: January 09, 2013, 03:13:58 PM »
I don't know where you live, OP, but Texas law is such that, if a parent of a special-needs child requests changes in the child's IEP, which might include a change in teachers, the ARD committee has no choice but to try at least to bring such needed changes to pass.  It sounds like the teacher, her supervisors, and the school administration all let you and your son down last year.  The first time you requested a change, something should have been done.

From what I can see, you really tried to work with them and you tried to go up the chain of command to get things made right for your son.  It's unfortunate that you were made privy to some information that you probably shouldn't have known.  And unfortunate also that you blurted out that you had that information when the teacher refused to work with you.  However, I don't think you did anything wrong.  I don't think you're "hard to work with."  The other teacher was using your child as a guinea pig and it shouldn't have happened.  At all.

I don't think I'd say anything to that teacher. 

WillyNilly

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Re: Yes, I know I'm making it personal...
« Reply #11 on: January 09, 2013, 03:16:34 PM »
It's a fact of life that sometimes (don't tell the kids!) tantrums work. They just do. That doesn't make them polite.

But I don't think yelling is always rude or impolite either.
OP asked nicely, it didn't work. She spoke to someone else nicely, it didn't work. She waited patiently. She did everything politely as she was asked to and none of it worked.
I don't think reacting to be being pushed around is rude.

I mean its impolite to punch someone, right? But when its in self defense because they are actively attacking you its not impolite. Its impolite to yell in most cases, but not after asking calmly and repeatedly and getting zero results.

lilihob

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Re: Yes, I know I'm making it personal...
« Reply #12 on: January 09, 2013, 03:19:32 PM »
RE Moray, I messed up the quotes, I didn't mean to infer that you thought that the OP had a responsibility to the teacher.
I thought that the school did, that's why they were refusing to help until it all blew up.
I agree that if emotional=shouting that was unfortunate.
I also agree that

"It's a fact of life that sometimes (don't tell the kids!) tantrums work. They just do. That doesn't make them polite."

I too would have had that tantrum.


missed out a line+ I can't spell.
« Last Edit: January 09, 2013, 04:03:31 PM by lilihob »

alkira6

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Re: Yes, I know I'm making it personal...
« Reply #13 on: January 09, 2013, 03:20:03 PM »
Okay, as a teacher who does teach special needs kids, this woman was totally in the wrong. Even if you disregard the whole stepping stone thing she was doing with your son, you still went through months of frustration and stonewalling because this teacher was not doing her job.  Really, yelling was rude.  However, in this particular case, I can see why frustration made you go there.  Unfortunately, as you can tell by the rumors, the yelling put it back on you and her failure was completely whitewashed with the label of "personality conflict". Please tell me that you documented all that you did to get the problem resolved before the yelling, because you will probably need it later on if you have a problem.  Knowing schools the way I do,you have been labeled a problem parent and will need the ammo.

PS - Do not apologise. At this point it would do nothing but validate to her that she did nothing wrong and she is likely to spread this to the same people she told about the yelling.

TurtleDove

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Re: Yes, I know I'm making it personal...
« Reply #14 on: January 09, 2013, 03:28:23 PM »
I, unfortunately, blew up at that point and told her very emotionally that I was aware of her career aspirations, that I was aware that she was using this job as a resume builder, and that my son was not going be her training experience. 

As I see it, this is the portion where the OP made it personal - a personal issue between OP and the teacher.  As Moray pointed out, this shows the OP was gossiping about the teacher and/or researching her, both of which don't look great for OP, IMHO.  And, frankly, I don't have any problems with the teacher's aspirations or desire to build her resume at all.  For example, I am one of several in-house attorneys at my company.  It is well known that I have aspirations to be President or General Counsel of the company some day.  That doesn't mean I do not take my current position very seriously - I think ambition shows that I do because I wish to prove myself worthy of my aspirations.