A Special Education Secret Revealed

For exceptional parents, small tokens of appreciation for their child’s teacher might smooth the lines of communication
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At this time of the school year, parents start to feel the pinch of all the requests for fundraisers, booster clubs and any other spring functions that need money. Every club, department or after-school activity seems to have a hand out.

If you are one of the unlucky ones who must be very choosy about who gets your money, then this post is for you. If you happen to be a lucky one who is able to give to everyone and anyone, well, this post is for you too.

Where is the need?

It is not so much that schools keep asking for money —  they have lots of good causes, but it is important to support those where we will see the most benefit, such as our child’s special education classroom.

We are approaching the year-end finish line. Students and teachers seem to understand each other’s personalities and, for the most part, classes are running smoothly. But on the other hand, tempers and frustrations might also be high on either side.

Provide Support

I hate to say it folks, but yes, money matters; I don’t mean that in a bad way. On the contrary, our kids’ teachers need our support more than ever, and that support might need to come in the form of some tangible donations.

Supplies are low now and let’s face it, in some classrooms so is the morale. If my child is in that classroom, I want to keep the momentum going until the very end.

Don’t be afraid to act, but do it strategically. In other words, buying your child’s teacher a $100 gift card and assuming your kid will get a better grade is not in anybody’s best interest— and is not even legal. No, what is important to teachers is the parental support. Communicating, following through on assignments, and making sure your child is prepared sends a better message to the one person who takes care of your child all day long. It never hurts to throw in some tissues, wipes, pencils or even a $5 gift card for an awesome cup of coffee.

In it together

I recently had a parent call me to complain about her child’s teacher. While the mother has some very valid points, it was impossible for me to ascertain the teachers’ point of view without talking to her myself. I suggested the parent set up a private conference with her child’s teacher and discuss some of the challenges. I also suggested the parent take some classroom supplies. Everyone likes to get surprises, and teachers are no exception.

The parent wanted nothing to do with my suggestion and was adamant she was not going to buy anything. That is too bad because the reality is that her child is in that classroom all day long.

Parents of special education children need communication — and so do teachers. Extending an olive branch with some much needed materials is a wonderful ice-breaker; a small price to pay for peace of mind.

Wade in slowly

Honest communication between parents and teachers can help both dispel fears and foster a better classroom environment for your child.

Teachers want to feel appreciated and most want parents to feel the school staff is doing the best they can for all the students.

I can’t guarantee that surprising your child’s teacher with a small token of appreciation will make everything better, but I can guarantee you it won’t make it any worse.

Categories: A ‘Special’ World