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The First Day of School Couldn’t Have Been More Annoying If I Had Planned It That Way Myself

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Today was the first day back to school, but before that story unfolds, let’s recap yesterday, shall we?

The Extended Day Program (after-school program) was operating all day yesterday, and given the disaster we just went through with the napping nanny, it was the only choice for the day.  Of course, we knew it would not go well.  It’s not pessimism, it’s realism.  It would not go well, there would be bad reports, and there would be the same old talk at home that we have almost every day.

And?

It didn’t go well.  There was biting and hitting, but they aren’t “giving up on him”.  So I picked him up after work, and we had the same conversation about hitting and biting, and we went home so Connor could learn how to wash dishes.  There are no TV shows if we’ve hurt our friends, and there are chores.

As usual, I left the room to cry because I’m a big baby.  I mean, really, it’s been three long years of this, you’d think by now I would just be mentally prepared for it, but every single time it sends me spinning.  And all I can think is, “what if it never ends?  What if he never learns?  What will life be, if he can’t ever learn to manage that?”

Now let’s move on to today.

New light-up Spiderman shoes, a new Transformer’s shirt, new Darth Vader backpack, and new Star Wars lunchbox.  We were superheroed up, and ready for action.  We met the regular teacher and resource teacher last week, all that was left was to show up.

Hubs starts work at 7am, so I do school drop-off in the morning.  We took our first day pictures in front of the house, and got in the car.  It was 7:10 a.m., a perfect time to leave and get there early.  Except…the car didn’t start.

Back in the house and a call to hubs, who got back to the house at 7:35 a.m.  Off we all went, and walked in just as the bell rang.

It's all about the backpack!

We went to the resource room first, since that’s where Connor will start each day.  The resource teacher was very welcoming, and informed us that Connor will be in a different class, with a different teacher, than he originally met last week.

Wait, what??

It seems there was a last minute change, and he was moved across the hall, with Ms. Smith.  I suppose I was already on edge from the morning chaos, but I was not pleased to hear about the change.  I asked why, for a student on the spectrum, they can’t have their teacher and room assigned at the end of the school year, for the following fall.  It makes for much better planning and transition management.

“No, there are far too many changes that take place over the summer, with teachers leaving or coming on board.”  Okay, I can see that.  But why could we not have a teacher and class set in stone at least two weeks before school starts?

“Sometimes there are changes going on right up to the last minute.”  Okay, but could we not have something set as of the day of “meet the teacher”??  This seems really unfair to a student that has challenges with transitions in the first place.

She assured me that it would be fine, it was a great teacher, and these things happen.  I could tell she was already getting super angry with me, but I just couldn’t fathom how a special-ed teacher could be telling me about this last minute change, and not understand what that means.  Why could nobody at least call me the day before, so I could have a preemptive conversation with Connor about it?

If there are any readers here, that are also teachers, I would really value your comments and feedback.  Am I really that unreasonable to want at least a little notice of a classroom change??

Ugh.  We left school and headed home to jump my car, so I could go get a new battery.  But first, I had to take several minutes to cry, AGAIN.

This first day of school seems to have been much, much harder on me than on Connor.  Maybe if I start biting and hitting I will get their attention, and I’ll at least feel a little better.

This is going to be a long week, I better start drinking now!

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About Flannery

Kid, husband, dogs, my mother, full-time job, maximum stress, minimal relaxation...sooner or later I had to vent. AND we moved from California to Texas. I could start a whole other blog about that.

19 responses »

  1. I love your post’s. You should probably turn them into a book…I know it would hit bestseller. I always smile when I read them…..

    Reply
    • @nmbrsgrl123Shawn Wow, that is a very nice compliment, but I think we all know I’m not a “real” writer. Plus, a book has to have lots and lots of pages and words, and I have a hard time just writing a post. But you sure made my day, and I’m so glad someone likes what I write!!

      Reply
  2. We had the last minute lie at the beginning of Gr 3 in regular program. It was a disaster and long story very short starting last year in Gr 4 he was in spec ed with a wonderful teacher. He’ll be there until Gr 6. I’d like to say that was the only “mess” but with 2 on the spectrum (either end the other is NLD and going into Gr 7 this year)… it never truly ends.

    Reply
  3. My experience with the spectrum is based solely on a handful of blogs I follow. And yet, based on what I’ve picked up from those blogs, I’m stunned that a special ed teacher would not understand the importance of maintaining some continuity–and providing notice enough to help develop strategies around that additional change. I wonder if her increasing irritation wasn’t directed at you, but rather at a situation over which she didn’t necessarily have control? I’d hope she’d have more sense than to wave a dismissive hand at something so important.

    More importantly, *hugs*. I felt such endless frustration for you as I read this, and wish I could do more than to say (FWeIW) I’m cheering you on from here.

    Reply
  4. Ok, you may have to edit this or delete it all together by the time I’m finished. I’m going to be banging away on my damn keyboard here.

    I’m sorry, but what the fuck?!? I get there are changes and teachers don’t know where they are going till the last minute. Hell, my daughter has a brand spankin new teacher who found out the day before school started she was going to be teaching at our school. That being said, someone, AKA your resource teacher, should have gotten her ass on the phone to you PRONTO to let you know of the change. And the fact she was upset with you?!? Now that’s just a load of bull-shit plain and simple.

    What’s in your IEP? Does it say prep for changes or transitions or something along the lines of priming for new situations? If it does they you have every right to go back and crawl up her a-hole. She failed Connor and she’s got a long year ahead of her.

    I am so pissed for you guys. I really want to go down there and beat some resource teacher ass. And now what? I bet this new teacher doesn’t have a clue about Connor and you have to start over. Not to mention wasting your time the other night at the meet and greet the teacher thing.

    Start printing out all those Autism sheets and make out your Connor cheat sheet and hand them to her. Don’t forget to document this situation. This sounds awful but the more I crawl up their bung holes the easier it gets. I think it’s because they’re sick of me and partly because I just don’t care anymore. They have no right to fail your son.

    Get the new teacher’s e-mail (I got mine of the school’s web page, I’m good like that) and get her up to speed quick. Who knows, she may just be the silver lining here. I’m sending positive thoughts your way.

    (((Hugs)))

    PS–I was cracking up, I was all, “Wow, I don’t think Connor missed a super hero.” Well done mama, well done.

    Reply
  5. My district was moving teachers around right up until five minutes before school started yesterday. The budget cuts have been very hard on us, and by extension, the kids. The special education teacher should have been a little more understanding, I agree with you on that. That’s what they get the ‘big bucks’ for. But tomorrow will be better!!!! (crosses fingers)

    Reply
  6. I totally understand where you are coming from and I’m a special ed teacher. The problem is that she’s right…they’re often moving people around right up until the last minute. I doubt there was anything she could do to change that. I’ve been incensed about the same such issues with students I’m in charge of. It’s irritating for everyone involved (except those higher up, who have no clue what they’re doing to the children).

    PS: Thanks for your comment. I’m glad to have you following me!

    Reply
  7. So given the craziness you experienced last week, none of this was supposed to happen. Just reading the random stuff that has been whipped at you like chimp doodoo at the zoo, I’m developing irritable bowel syndrome. Or gout. Or eczema. I need to stay off webmd.

    I digress. I’m sending you paper bags to breathe into after you’ve removed and downed the tall boys enclosed. Big hugs your way.

    Reply
  8. as a former teacher–the above comments are true–and not just last minute changes. I would get continual changes through the first few weeks of school–a new school year used to make me crazy because NOTHING was set in stone until norm day.

    That being said–a Spec. ed teacher should be a *bit* more understanding at your frustration.

    Reply
  9. I can’t even imagine, that must have been beyond frustrating. I’m so glad your son had a better day than you did. We were incredibly lucky. My son (oddly enough also named Connor also on the spectrum and just started first grade) was lucky enough to be introduced to his teacher at the end of the school year last year, then when we were filling out the registration paperwork she came by again and then the school had parent/teacher conferences a few days before school started. Made for a super easy transition. I hope the rest of your year goes a lot better!!!

    Reply
  10. It wouldn’t have killed anyone to send you an email, letting you know that changes were still in the works. Yes, I know they’re busy – and you’re busy getting your son ready for his new year of challenges.

    My son started his sophomore year last week. No hitting, no running from the building any more – just biting sarcasm and insults.

    And I also ask “Will it ever end?”…apparently not.

    Reply
  11. Sorry, I’m a day late, but I am suffering from earthquake-related post-traumatic stress disorder and all. . .

    What Lizbeth said. And Kara. And everyone else.

    My son would be totally jealous of Connor’s backpack. I cannot find a Star Wars backpack anywhere.

    Reply
  12. I do not have any input as far as the teachers go…but I still wanted to say that I hope things get better and great job with the super hero gear!!

    Reply
  13. Yes my dear…I would have been pissed too! That is freakin’ ridiculous! I was so blessed in elementary school to have a staff who got it. And if they didn’t get it…they knew I’d be all over them! I don’t take no shit when it comes to my kids. If you don’t stand up for them…they can and will fall through the cracks.

    Your writing is excellente! I want you to guest post over at Confessions! Pretty please…with sugar on top!

    Ready for those cocktails anytime!

    Reply
  14. Sorry to hear about the difficult start to the new school year. i agree with Lizbeth. record EVERYTHING! They could have let you know sooner, the fact they didn’t shows their distinct lack of understanding regarding Autism. Hope things improve as the year goes on!

    xx Jazzy

    Reply
  15. So, if they knew they were going to make last-minute changes (i.e., “shit happens”), why set up the fantasy activity, “Meet the Teacher” day? My new daughter (with a boat-load of challenges) knows that she won’t know her schedule until the first minutes of the first day of school. Not real good for prepping her for the transition, but it would be *far* worse for her to think, all summer long, that she was going to have Mrs. XYZ, and then be told when she showed up that she’d have Mr. ABC. Nice way to earn the trust of a child and set a calm, safe, consistent climate on day 1. Ugh! If the school culture is chaos until the last minute, then they should *OWN* that, and not pretend they handle transitions sensitively. Ugh, ugh, ugh. First day of school for us is Thursday, September 1st. I think I’ll just sob in frustration preemptively 😉

    Reply
    • Thanks all for your comments. I’m going to have to accept that these last minute changes happen, I just with they were more considerate of the kids that have a hard time with change. I’m going to have to pick my battles though, and there will be some bigger ones than this.

      Reply
  16. When anything changes (@ school for my boy) I have to have an ARD meeting.

    Reply

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