Okay boys and girls, sit tight and get ready for one of the biggest rants I have let loose in a long time, or skip this post. I've been trying to be good and post stuff like this on Packemin HS
but this needs to come out here. If I try to contain it, I will explode.
I broke a cardinal rule today by attending an IEP conference. I hate those things. The few I went to years ago just wanted the general ed teacher to sit there quietly and sign. Since I am no ones rubber stamp, I opened my mouth, argued when necessary and eventually no one asked me to attend anymore, which was good.
My inclusion boy had his conference today and he, along with his mom asked me to be there. They even arranged the conference around my schedule so I could attend. The conference began with introductions and Ms. Inclusion Teacher (forever more to be known as Ms IT) reading from the IEP and announcing several changes she wanted to implement. When she announced removing the reader from his exams, I spoke up. Inclusion Boy doesn't need the reader for everything, but, when some of his exams are read to him, he does better. Leaving the reader in place on the IEP will give him options. His mom agreed. His sister pointed out that since he will be going to college eventually, it was better to leave the IEP as it stood. Ms. Inclusion teacher had to change what she wrote. Already, she was unhappy.
Next we got to Inclusion Boy's schedule for next year. Ms IT didn't see any need for him to take trigonometry but once again, I butted in and backed by the sister, won. Then we got to science. Chemistry was an option. Ms. IT didn't even know if Inclusion Boy needed another lab science or not but after some discussion, it was decided he didn't. She wanted to put him in a general science class and once again, I objected. Those general classes are full of kids with behavioral problems and not the right environment for a child like him. I suggested forensics. Mom and sister agreed. Inclusion Boy agreed. Ms IT tried to shoot it down but was once again unsuccessful.
I brought up the fact that inclusion students are not included on my ARIS class list, something I have been asking for since the beginning of the year. Once again, excuses were made, others were blamed, even Principal Hula was blamed for the over sight although I know for a fact he has no control over this program and he did attempt to get those kids on ARIS. Instead of trying to fix the problem, I was told I am the only teacher who has a problem with this, so the problem must be me, not them. Not wanting to let this rest, I spoke to a few other teachers of inclusion kids and hopefully they will start making waves about this problem as well.
I asked if Inclusion Boy's teachers were hand picked, because they should be. Not every teacher has the temperament to work with a child like him and some I know would chew him up and spit him out. Of course Ms IT said this was impossible. When she left the room, I told mom and sis that if Inclusion Boy had a problem, he could always find him. I tend to be just annoying enough to get my way and in the past I have been able to get kids into classes that no one else can get them in to. Ms Condescending Guidance Counselor did not like that at all. She made a big point of trying to make it look like I thought I was the only one who cared. Luckily mom and sis knew how wrong she was and how right I was and defended me. I just got up and walked out, came home and wrote the mom a long e-mail apologizing for abruptly leaving the meeting and not saying goodbye.
On my way home today, I ran into another one of Inclusion Boy's teachers. This teacher adores him as much as I do and also goes out of her way to do everything possible to help him and make sure he is becoming all that he can. She was sorry she did not know about he meeting because she too would have attended and brought up many of the same issues I did.
Inclusion Boy has come a long way in the short time he has been at Packemin. When he first started doing well, instead of praising him, Ms Condescending and Ms IT questioned the integrity of his teachers.
I am sure Ms IT and Ms Condescending have nothing against this child. In fact, I am willing to bet they like him as much or even more than I do. But, when it comes to going to extra mile to give him the help he needs, they are out of gas. The jealousy they felt and showed when they saw how the family felt about my concern for him was unreal.
Educating kids like Inclusion Boy properly is not an easy thing to do. I don't have all the answers. In fact, I have very few of the answers. I went to the conference to try to learn some but no information was forthcoming. I heard the same crap over and over again. "Most of the kids are not gen ed kids like this one. The teacher that was here a few years ago dealt with a different population. Why are you the only one making an issue out of this? We have four kids to take care of."
One thing I learned from all of this is that I still want to avoid IEP conferences. As far as inclusion goes, it will probably be a cold day in hell before Ms. IT puts one in any of my classes again.