When I was in school, I don’t remember parents and teachers talking very much at all, maybe because it took close to five minutes to dial a seven-digit number on a rotary phone. So communication was pretty minimal: a nod at Open House, a note on the bottom of a report card, an awkward handshake at a Parent-Teacher conference.
When my son was in grade school, the spiral notebook was the way to “stay informed.” Tucked neatly in his Nike backpack, it carried notes from home to school and home again. Straight-forward, reliable, easy-to-use, the only complications with this method was legibility, fraying of pages and oh yeah, getting the teacher to read it.
In this day and age with the advent of cell phones, text messaging and instant emails, you’d think communication between parents and schools would be so clear that there’d be nothing left to discuss at an IEP meeting. So why is it that we still don’t understand each other? Here are some possible examples (all fiction, of course).
Hope you are fine.
Thank you so much for sharing the highlights of my son’s school day. It makes me feel like an important part of the team.
I see he has math homework today and a science lab write-up due on Friday. I will look at his assignments as soon as he comes home from school today.
Since we have such a busy schedule, between doctor and therapy appointments, could you maybe try getting some of this work done in school?
All your help and best efforts are very much appreciated.
Look forward to seeing you and the team at our upcoming IEP meeting.
Hope all is well.
Thanks for the summary of my son’s school day. Your many observations were extremely informative.
I looked at the math yesterday, but as it’s been a long time since I’ve studied math, I couldn’t figure out how to do the problems. Could you please send home either math notes or a few sample problems?
Also, despite my best efforts, I was not able to help my son with his lab write-up since no data was sent home. Please send lab results tomorrow.
We will put forth our best efforts to catch up on homework tomorrow as we have PT today. Could you please try to get some of the homework done during a resource period in school?
Thank you for all your help.
We will see you very soon at my son’s IEP.
Hope you’re ok.
Again, thanks for your daily reports, but the degree to which you are detailing my son’s day must be very time-consuming for you and is not really necessary. Please know this level of intimate detail is not really useful/beneficial.
I’m still confused by my son’s math assignments which have doubled since our last email and continue to come home without support. Please tell me where to find the information or get them done during one of my son’s three scheduled resource periods in school.
As for the lab write-up, I still have no data from which to help him write the conclusion. Nor do I have the proper equipment in my home to enable me to recreate this lengthy and dangerous experiment. Plus my son has OT tonight so he will not have time to do any homework. So please send results home immediately, and I will write the damn thing up myself.
See you at the meeting.
Doing all right?
Please refrain from sending daily reports. These indepth and petty descriptions of my son’s inappropriate and involuntary behaviors and verbal outbursts are neither helpful nor welcome.
Yes, I know he has math. But I can’t do it. I’ve already paid the neighbor kid $50 to do your job. And he wants another $50 by Tuesday or he’s cutting me off. And give me the goddamned data for the lab write-up, because I don’t have a bunson burner and if I did, I would use it to set myself on fire and not have to worry about the freakin lab write-up. And now you want me to read him a book by Monday? Fat chance!
I wish I’d never met any of you.
You ok? I don’t give a damn.
Thanks for another play by play, I thought my head would explode. Either stop sending me these mean-spirited, hurtful, descriptions of my son’s behavior at school, or I will file a complaint with the Board of Education for harrassment.
And why can’t you help my son complete his math homework at school? What are resource periods anyway? They’re not like natural resources, like you’re going to run out of them, so we must use them sparingly. And I’m tired of getting the run around with the science data, so my lawyer will be serving the science teacher with a subpoena for lab results. And frankly I’m more than a little suspicious about the secrecy which surrounds your “supposed lab data.” He has forty eight hours during which to respond.
I dread seeing you and your smug little face at the next IEP meeting.
Yada yada yada. You know the drill.
I’m pulling my son out of resource and enrolling him in Shop. And the repeated requests for math support -- forget it, I bought my son a calculator and hired him a CPA. As for the science, my son isn’t even taking science. And you’re not even his teacher!
Stop sending me emails. Forget you ever knew me. I demand no further communication from you of any kind. I am deleting you now, right now. I swear. I delete you . I delete you . I delete you. You are spam. You are spam. You are spam!
I’m cancelling my son’s IEP meeting . I can’t stand the sight of any of you!
cc: Special Education Attorney