Monday, February 01, 2010
Don't Call Con Edison
If you happen to have seen the steam pouring out of my ears today, don't worry about calling Con Edison. For once, they had nothing to do with the problem. What you saw was the slow explosion of everything inside my head after my conversation with the resource room teacher.
Actually, I found out she is more than a resource room teacher. She is an inclusion teacher, grade advisor and guidance counselor. She does it all for her 7 students. Yes, all of her 7 students. I approached her to find out why my student was given the regents in January and why I wasn't informed. I think she can start a new store, EXCUSES 'R US.
Excuse 1: It was a spur of the moment decision to let him take the exam.
(Since when is a regents a spur of the moment decision?)
Excuse 2: It was his decision to take it now.
(Since when do students decide when they should take an exam? Should we also give them alcohol and cigarettes because they want to? This boy's mother does not trust him to cross the street himself and she is trusting him to make a decision about his education.)
Excuse 3: It was a safety net for him.
(Even walking a tightrope requires training and a safety net is necessary there.)
Excuse 4: He already took the course three times so there was no reason to think he would fail.
(Duh, he failed because he did not know the work. Besides, the course this is only the second year the course is offered so he could not have taken it three times.)
Excuse 5: He got an 80 in your class so I assumed he was doing well.
(Never once did she come to ask me how he was doing in my class. I learned, from another teacher, that he does not handle failure well, so I have been sitting with him, while he does the exams, to ensure a passing grade. His grade was partially because of his wonderful class participation and homework.)
Excuse 6: I don't really know much about regents exams. Most of my students take RCTs.
(It's your job to know about regents exams.)
Excuse 7: I have so much to do, I can't chase after every little thing.
(Those 7 kids sure fill up your day.)
Excuse 8: I didn't think he needed to go to tutoring.
(I blasted her for not encouraging him to come to the tutoring sessions run during the week. He only needed a few more points to pass and those meetings might have done the trick. He is also receptive to extra help and has a mother who would have made sure he made it to school for the extra help, had she known about it.)
I don't know what I expected her to say when I went to talk to her, except maybe "sorry", or "I made a mistake and it won't happen again." Instead I heard excuse after excuse after excuse. The only thing she worried about was the stink I was going to make about it and how this would impact on her.
Being an inclusion teacher can't be easy. These kids have special needs and dealing with them can be trying. I would hope anyone who takes on this assignment does it with the best interests of the students at heart. This boy is the second inclusion student I've taught. She reminded me of one I had a few years ago and I reminded her that she did nothing to help then either. She never came to the class to see what was going on. All she did was send a para by once every few weeks to make sure things were going well. I still have not been told the difference between the ISS program she runs and the one that is officially part of Packemin. I don't get how anyone can look themselves in the mirror and do the sort of job this woman is doing, or should I say, not doing.
I know I am getting myself in deep doo doo with her. I already went to Mr. AP and the principal of Packemin about the situation. I hate doing this to a fellow teacher but I hate seeing my students abused even more. These kids have no one to stand up for them and as long as I am here, I will keep on fighting. I somehow think this boy will be the last one programmed for mainstream with me. There is nothing I can do about that. But, hopefully, I laid a foundation so future students will have an easier time.