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04 October 2008

Need Advice.

So here's the sitch.  The other day, I got a call from my super low funtioning student's "service coordinator".  From what I understand, she's appointed from some agency to oversee all of his related service and educational things... I don't really know.  Anyways, she wants to have a meeting w/ me and his mother to discuss if he should be attending our school.

To be honest, I think he would be better in a more intensive school.  I can't give him the attention and behavior therapy that he needs all day.  He's at a VERY different level than the rest of the students.  BUT, that's not what I'm *supposed* to say.  Because it reflects badly on our school if we're unable to accomodate him.

My principal told me to go with my gut and to just say what I thought during the meeting, but I know she doesn't want me to say it.  The "unit coordinator" at our school is also sitting in on the meeting to give her input and whatever.  She's been in my class for a total of 10 seconds this year, so she can't have much say really.

So the huge moral dilemma is, who am I working for right now?  Am I working for the school or for the student?  My gut instinct in this case is to tell the truth... that I don't think we can meet his needs and that he should be in a separate school.  I don't want to be on my principal's bad side, but the second that I stop doing what's best for the kids is the second I stop really doing my job, right?

Who knows, maybe nothing will even really come of this meeting.  It's going to happen sometime this upcoming week.... so if any veteran teachers out there have any advice as to how to not make my school look bad, but also to get this student the education that he is legally entitled to?  Ideas ideas?


Anonymous said...

Tough question!

Personally, I don't think you need to decide for the parents. What you could say is that your school is able and willing to accomodate this student, but that you know there are other schools that probably suit this student's needs better. In this way, you will show that your school is able to teach him, but it's not ideal. Then, the parents can decide.

I think it's always best to be honest. You are the teacher, and the mother wants your earnest opinion. But you can give it without discrediting the school. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

This is definitely a tough one. I think you should state the facts. It's not your job to decide which school he attends.

Describe what goes on in your class and where he fits in with it. (You can describe the issues he has in class, especially with the other kids being on a different level than he)

This way you are telling the truth but not coming out and saying that he should be at another school. (Hopefully it will be painfully obvious as you describe his difficulties.)

Yes, you work for the school. But my feeling is that you have to have this child's best interest first. By describing your observations of him in your room (being honest with the situation), you ARE putting him first. (And hopefully getting him the help he needs to be successful.)

Good luck!

Beth said...

You will have this come up time and time again in education. I could list names of kids in which I had similar instances. I still remember the conferences to this day. You will too.

You work for the public school system. It shouldn't matter which school this child attends as long as he is getting the best education to suit his needs. You need to give your honest opinion of how he is in your classroom at this time. Things could change if he stays with you, but you don't have a crystal ball to predict that. You also are just starting off in this career and need the help from others to help the parent and the school make the best decision for the child. If you don't say your honest opinions you will always second guess yourself if he stays with you. Tell the parent that you love her kid but then be honest.

Good luck. You are teaching children and things aren't always black and white.