Chaos of the Classroom Kills Special Education Goals

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I'm asked at least 3 times a week by parents... "Why is it so hard for the team to just do this".  Then the parent continues to tell me, their IEP advocate, about the simple solution or IEP goal that they've asked the team to do AND how the team agreed.  

Now the agreement has failed. The actions are not being followed through on and everybody is miserable. Yes, everybody, even the teacher.

You see, teachers don't stop following through just because they get a kick out of making you mad. Teachers stop following through because the chaos of just keeping their classroom running takes over from the top priorities on some days.

So here's how it looks....

Mom is frustrated because she doesn't know what's happening in her child's school day. (I hear this one the most in the Special Education Online Help Center.

Mom emails teacher and asks for simple communication each day in a daily notebook or email.

Teacher agrees because it is a reasonable request.

For the first week and a half the information is flying back and forth between school and home. Everybody is happy.

The school has a fire drill and the entire schedule is off. The note doesn't get written. Child is "off" because the schedule is "off" and mom can see there's just something not right about her kiddo when he gets home.

Then mom realizes that there is no note.  She emails the teacher and gets a response "sorry, there was a fire drill today".  

UGH! Mom is so mad! This is exactly why we have the communication going back and forth... I need to know these things!

Teacher feels terrible and tries to keep up with writing the notes home, but the above situation repeats, every time that the teacher is called to an end of the day meeting, is out sick for the day or the school has a special activity.

So now what... what do we do? Mom needs the communication. Teacher is doing her best to keep it up. Teacher feels terrible for failing. Mom is mad because it should be easy.  

Here's what needs to happen.  Parents, you need to make sure that the teacher understands that even a scribbled note or email saying "schedule was off today, all went fine" is OK! You don't need every bit of info everyday, but you do need something everyday so you know how to parent best when your child gets home.

Teachers, you need to figure out how to explain to the parents the chaos of the classroom without complaining and sounding like you can't handle it.  You can handle it... you just need to be trusted that on THOSE days when everything can't get done that you will definitely do what is needed most for every child.

That's the key... NEEDED MOST.  Each parent has a different expectation of what is needed most.   For some it's daily communication, for some it's knowing that therapies happened and for others it's homework (yep, homework!). Getting the IEP priorities straight and clear will stop them from being lost in the chaos.  Have a plan for the good days and the not so good days. You simply have to prepare for the chaos or goals and communication get lost in the daily grind.  Hint: I help parents figure out priorities and make them happen, HERE.

Both teachers and parents need to communicate to figure out what is for the day, quarter, year. Then, no matter what... even in the chaos in the classroom, everyone knows that together you're all working towards the most important goals for each individual child.

Prioritize, Communicate Priorities, Get Everything in Writing, Check In Often!

You got this!

With Hope Always,

Catherine Whitcher, M.Ed

Parents... figuring out how to get the most out of your child's day can be tough.  The Special Education Help Center is the online resource you need to get your questions answered and to know what to do next.  JOIN ME HERE 

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