Should I email the new teacher?

Momma_Bird_OHJuly 16, 2002

Most of you know from my other posts that my oldest son has a mild disability (Sensory Integration Dysfunction). To look at him, he looks perfectly normal, and in most areas you wouldn't know he has a problem. However, it is pervasive, which means that most areas are not 100%, but he's not "bad enough" in any single area to be clear-cut disabled. It can be maddening until you study up and realize what the poor boy has to cope with every minute of every day.

He went to kindergarten at his preschool, and last year before he started 1st grade I wrote a one-page letter to the teacher breifly explaining his condition and suggesting some ways she could help him in class. She told me she really appreciated it and the insight it gave her into his performance and behavior. I mostly did it because he was changing schools.

I am considering sending an email to his new teacher - he's going into 2nd grade at the same school. She sent home a note at the end of last year with her email address and a list of school supplies. BUT, I'm wondering if it's appropriate since he isn't starting a new school. Can I depend on the 1st grade teacher "filling in" the 2nd grade teacher? Is it overkill to send her an email explaining SID? I would appreciate your insights and input.

Thanks in advance!

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I'd send it. If I could, I'd prefer a phone call, something more interactive. But if the email is what you can do right now, I'd do it. Then when I met her, follow up with "did you get my email? have you ever dealt with SID before?" Then she'll have already had the explanation before you meet, save time in the conversation. The email is a good idea anyhow. Seems like it would be a very effective way to get the information across uninterupted.

I don't think you can count on the previous teacher filling in the new teacher. Not that they wouldn't want to, just that they couldn't do that for every student so I wouldn't count on it for any single student either. If the new teacher tells you she's been filled it, you can be pleasantly surprised, but she still might have forgotten something or just not explained it the way you would. But at least you did everything you can as a parent, ya know. I just wouldn't assume anything.

Can you believe the break is more than half over already? That it's even time to think about school again already! We'll be sending them off again before we know it. My summer has been a blur!

    Bookmark   July 16, 2002 at 2:16PM
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I think Stephanie's advice is very good. It's always good to start off letting the teacher know that you are an interested parent!

    Bookmark   July 16, 2002 at 8:56PM
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Oh yeah, email her. Even if the old teacher has filled her in (she probably has), she probably forgot some of the specifics of what you told her at the beginning of the year. The new teacher will be happy to get two different perspectives on your son, and she will be happy to get a perspective on YOU!

    Bookmark   July 17, 2002 at 2:01AM
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Thanks to all of you. I think I will send the email this week. I wish I'd kept a copy of the letter I sent last year - but I didn't save it. I have't actually met the 2nd grade teacher - last year she taught 3rd grade, and I had met last year's 2nd grade teacher & got to know her quite well through PTA. I expected her to be DS' teacher next year, but the school decided to do a "looping" - where the same teacher stays with the class in 2nd and 3rd grades, and a different teacher stays with the class in 4th and 5th grades. It sounds like a good idea if the teacher is good & your child "clicks" with her, but what I worry about is a "bad fit" - then my child would have her for 2 years! I have a lot of confidence in the principal at the school & haven't heard a bad thing about any of the teachers, so it should be a good thing.

I also have my #2 son starting Kindergarten in the fall at the same school. He doesn't have any disabilities and I've talked to the K teacher on many occassions, so I don't think I need to send her a letter.

Was it easier in our parents' day, or did it just seem that way? My folks just sent me to school - I don't think they agonized over things like I do. My mom wasn't involved at all, they only spoke to the teachers at open house, and they just trusted that the school was educating us. I just can't seem to detatch like that - maybe that's a good thing, maybe not.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2002 at 7:57AM
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Back in the day, people didn't worry so much about education because there was no doubt that the US was doing a great job, in comparison to the rest of the world. I think people also had more faith in the power of governmental systems to achieve unbelievable things - like winning wars and developing new technologies. Personally I am still astounded at the power of democratic governments to achieve wonderful things, but that is not a real common attitude anymore.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2002 at 5:59PM
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Definitely send a note, and add anything you have learned from your doctors since the last conference and from his experience in 1st grade. You might ask to talk to her before school starts.

I do think our parents had an easier adjustment to our heading off to school. To begin with, in my community, all the moms were at home, so when school was out, they were there to supervise us, make sure we did our homework, give us a healthy snack, and make sure we played safely. Also, all these learning disabilities that we are identifying were not known then. We may feel we know so little about autism or dyslexia today, but no one knew anything about them at all back then. The condition did not even have a name. The big fear was polio, especially in the summer. The average U.S. adult did not even have a high school education. We have come a long way since then.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2002 at 1:10AM
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Maybe it's that a couple generations ago what parents wanted out of early education was to teach basic skills so children could be functional adults. ya know, reading, 'riting, 'rithmatic. As long as it did that, parents were satisfied. And even today, if that is enough to satisfy parents, most would be satisfied.

But it's not enough anymore. We need to know our children's education is "competitive." That they are not just learning the basic skills, but the higher skills they will need to get into college, or even to earn scholarships. It's not enough for us know they can function and be productive as adults. They are growing up in a more global community, their education needs to prepare them for that.

That, and I think, in general, we have less trust than previous generations. Less trust in institutions, in authority figures, and in people we don't know well. We go into it thinking of the teacher as a stranger, instead of giving her immediate trust based on her position.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2002 at 2:00PM
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I agree that it is a good idea to contact the teacher. It lets her know that you are an interested, caring parent who wants the best for her son.

If possible, I think it would be better to try to arrange an in person meeting with her. (Maybe offer to bring her some gourmet coffee one morning.)

Email and notes can be interpreted in so many different ways. In person communication is much more effective because you can read each other's body language.

You sound like a wonderful and supportive parent. I'm sure it is going to be a good year for you and your child. :)

    Bookmark   August 20, 2002 at 9:46PM
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I e-mailed the teacher, giving her a brief explanation of Sensory Integration Dysfunction & how it affects DS. She wrote back a very enthusiatic note and seemed really interested in learning more, so I sent her back come Web site addresses. I'm looking forward to meeting her in person next week!

    Bookmark   August 21, 2002 at 9:38AM
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Glad to hear you emailed the teacher. I just came back from my daughter's school. She will be in 5th grade this year so that is at the new middle school. I stopped in at the nurses ' office to introduce myself and explain my daughter's condition. She wasn't there so I left a letter with the front office. In it I gave my daughter's eye condition (cronic uveitis associated with JRA), what meds she is on, and her doctor's numbers along with our home phone numbers. I'll be emailing her teachers also before the start of school which is next week. Her records will be sent over to the middle school from the elementary school but I always like to talk and let the teachers know ahead of time what to expect. They can also always call me or my husband anytime they have a question. We have always been very open and matter of fact about our daughter's condition and that is the way she is about it also. We don't make a big deal about it. It is just the way things are going to be for her and she knows that. I know your meeting with the teacher will go well. You have already set the ground work for a good relationship with her. Take care, NancyLouise

    Bookmark   August 27, 2002 at 2:10PM
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The teacher called me yesterday! I was so excited! She wanted to follow up our emails and let me know she'd done a little reading on SID so she can know the best ways to help my son in her classroom. She is one classy lady! I thank God for teachers like her, and am so excited for this school year, I think DS will do great with her!

    Bookmark   August 28, 2002 at 9:35AM
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