I often ask myself this question even though I worked in the classroom for years prior to starting my own business as an educational consultant and special needs advocate.
This is the reason why I left teaching. I was tired of the politics and quite honestly the nonsense that was very prevalent within the school and even on a wider scale, the district.
Educators Actually Make Fun Of Your Child In Private
I can’t tell you how many times, I would take my lunch and sit in the teacher’s lounge during my break and walked out disgusted at the behavior that I witnessed. The staff would take this opportunity to talk about the students, make fun of them and just plain demean them.
These are not people that care about the children.
This was not just in one school but in numerous ones as I initially worked as a substitute teacher and therefore allowed me to be in many schools in many districts. In my 24 years experience, 18 of those working for myself, I am disgusted each and every time I see how the children with special needs are treated and looked upon by the very people who are supposed to be in place to help them.
They All Say The Same Things To Placate You
How many times have you heard from your child’s school, more specifically their teachers: “Your child is a pleasure” or “Your child is doing so well” or “Your child is progressing nicely.” These statements from “educators” run rampid. They are meant to placate you, as the parent. In speaking with teachers, administrators, therapists, aides, etc. I hear the same exact verbage.
It seems as though they have all been given a script to follow.
When you ask your child’s teacher questions, do you get a straight answer or do they “sugar coat” a response?
When you ask your child about a particular subject and what they learned, are they are able to answer correctly or at all, after you were told that they are progressing nicely and doing so well?
Are you being told that your child has no socialization issues but the way your child acts outside of school would denote anything but?
Are you told that your child does not have any behavior issues at school, but the reality is they do but will not admit it because it would shed light on the fact that the staff can’t handle your child which would be a direct admission of quite frankly, them being inept. Perhaps the staff has not been trained, perhaps after training they still don’t get it or perhaps they just don’t care OR it is a combination of them all.
They Don't Care.. At All
When it comes to teaching the special needs child, educators are overwhelmed. There are not enough hours in the day to focus on each child and their particular needs. Additionally, because districts do not want to pay, schools are short staffed and therefore many times the child is not receiving the support services that they are legally entitled to (per their IEP/504 Plan) or the individuals administering the services are not qualified and do a sub par job, at best.
Unfortunately, in order to help a special needs child properly, all of the pieces need to fit correctly. I have always thought of this process as a puzzle. There are many pieces that are required for a particular child. Each piece needs to be addressed separately first.
Once this is done then each piece needs to be looked at as to how it fits in with all of the other pieces in order to yield a cohesive finished product.
Unfortunately, when you work with many different individuals, not all of them are on the same level as to education, qualifications and just downright an attitude of engagement in order to make a difference for your child.
Again, in my opinion and experience (this is what I have seen first hand) most educators look at the special needs child as a nuisance. One that is causing them to do more work and where there is an accountability factor. Everyone pushes the responsibility on the other and ultimately the situation becomes, as I compare it to, a dog chasing it’s tail. In this scenario, which is all too common, nothing gets done.
The child is not receiving the help at the level and intensity that they should and therefore any progress, if at all, is slow and lackluster.
You Know Your Child Best... They Don't (no matter what their credentials say!)
It is very easy for school staff to sit at a conference table and tell you, the parent, what their opinion is. Quite frankly, if the information that you were being told was coming from a credible source who genuinely was invested in your child, then I would say that they would be worth listening to.
However, the bottom line is as parent, you know your child best and for some stranger to tell you what to do, how to do it, when to do is quite infuriating and crosses the line of being disrespectful towards you, your family and more specifically your child.
Educators look at themselves as what they say is the gospel when in reality, they are blowing smoke in the wind.
Educators look at each child and the assistance that they need as a “cookie cutter” industry.
As you well know, each child is an individual and should be looked at and addressed that way.
Yes, each child may have an IEP or 504 Plan but is it followed and are the services administered, as the law states within these documents?
Unfortunately, educators are lazy and don’t want to do their job, therefore it is easier for them and detrimental to your child when they look at your child within a group versus as a “special individual” with specific needs.
Evaluate Everyone.. Trust Few
My experience has brought me to the realization that a very small percentage of educators nowadays actually love their job and care about the kids.
Very few individuals, nowadays, decided to enter into the educational realm for the pure love of helping the children. It is not just about helping the special needs children on a short term basis, but teaching them and providing the skills that they need to become a productive member of society.
When looking at a special needs child, everything should be looked at for the long term. All of us can and should be productive members of society.
We all are special in our own way with our own disabilities and an educator needs to find and tap into that special component of each child. Their job is to nurture and to help, not to dismiss who these children are, no matter what their difficulties are.
As I have said to parents many times in regards to their children: “You should not try to fit in when you were born to shine.” Everyone deserves the same chance to shine. No one has the right to take that away!