Guest blog: A Letter to My Son’s Teacher

 

teacher_from Microsoft Office Clip Art

Dear Teacher,

I have a huge amount of appreciation by what you do. Besides being a parent, there is no other job more important or more challenging. The district and the state are telling you that you have to teach certain things at certain times in certain ways. I know that you probably feeling enslaved to standardized tests and that these tests are a major way that you are judged for the quality of your teaching. I know there is not enough time in the day to cover all the material you need on the limited budget you have with parents complaining in your ear all the time. No doubt you have a very difficult job.

But I’m going to ask a favor of you anyway.

I’m going to ask you to stop teaching curriculum to my child (every once in a while) and get to know him. What really means to most to me is to feel that you know my child. Really, really know him. Please just connect with him. Know at least one thing that makes him tick. Listen to him. Encourage him. Tell him he is a great kid. Doing this will make more of a difference in his life than learning his multiplication facts by third grade will ever do.

I know this is a lot to ask. I know you have 25 children in your class and to connect with each one is a major commitment. But maybe next time you sit to read with them you take a break and chat. You see- my son lives in a world where many people treat him like he’s a bad kid. As a child with an invisible disability, people may misunderstand his inattentiveness as rudeness, his hyperactivity poor behavior. People might think that his learning disabilities make him stupid. But the truth is that he wants so badly to do well but everything comes a little bit harder for him. He tries exponentially harder than many kids just to keep his head above water but you’ll never hear him complaining about it. He’ll probably never be the smartest in the class or the star of the show. He’ll be the one plugging along so he can get by. He probably won’t make it easy to crack through his shell either. You see, he’s built up some protective layers already but he will melt a bit if you give him time and investment.

I once walked into a parent conference and the teacher said, “Oh, Johnny. You know Johnny. He is a mystery. Such a crazy kid. We just can’t figure him out.” Broke my heart. I know that my son won’t be the easiest kid you’ll ever teach and there are many days when he is a mystery to me too. And I know he won’t be the one to boost your standardized test scores but he is the one who needs your encouragement more than perhaps some of those others do. Sometimes in a world that feels like it is against you, couldn’t we all use someone in our corner a little more often?

Kim is a stay at home mom to two boys. She came to parenthood through adoption and was a teacher and school administrator before taking the plunge to stay home full time. She lives in New Jersey. Her previous guest blog for this site was Diagnosis: Relief or Despair?

Adrienne Ehlert Bashista is the co-editor of and contributor to Easy to Love but Hard to Raise: Real Parents, Challenging Kids, True Stories, and is also the author of two picture books about Russian adoption. She’s had stories, essays, and articles published in a variety of journals, both print and on-line. She is the owner of DRT Press. She was a school librarian for many years before giving it up to devote more time to the rest of her life. She chronicles her adventures raising her son, recently diagnosed with FASD in her blog, A Square Peg, a Round Hole. She also writes for the blog for Easy to Love but Hard to Raise and her writing/speaking website is adriennebashista.net. She lives in central North Carolina with her husband, two sons, two dogs, 21 chickens, and a lot of bees.

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Related posts:

adhd and school, adhd behavior problems, General ADHD, learning styles and Adhd, school behavior, school failure, teacher ·

About the author

Adrienne Ehlert Bashista is the co-editor of and contributor to Easy to Love but Hard to Raise: Real Parents, Challenging Kids, True Stories, and is also the author of two picture books about Russian adoption. She’s had stories, essays, and articles published in a variety of journals, both print and on-line. She is the owner of DRT Press. She was a school librarian for many years before giving it up to devote more time to the rest of her life. She chronicles her adventures raising her son, recently diagnosed with FASD in her blog, A Square Peg, a Round Hole. She also writes for the blog for Easy to Love but Hard to Raise and her writing/speaking website is adriennebashista.net. She lives in central North Carolina with her husband, two sons, two dogs, 21 chickens, and a lot of bees.

7 Comments

  1. I need to “borrow” parts of this and share with my sons’ teachers. We’re having a difficult year and his “shell” is only getting harder to crack.

    Reply
  2. Dee says:

    So true!  I may reprint this for my son’s teacher some point in the future.

    Reply
  3. tina says:

    Thankfully this year in a different school the teachers are all learning that my son is different but not bad. Last year I just wanted the teachers to get to know him. I feel a lot of teachers could do with reading this letter.

    Reply
  4. KarenO says:

    ” …You see- my son lives in a world where many people treat him like he’s a bad kid. As a child with an invisible disability, people may misunderstand his inattentiveness as rudeness, his hyperactivity poor behavior. People might think that his learning disabilities make him stupid. But the truth is that he wants so badly to do well but everything comes a little bit harder for him…”SO TRUE!!! We are having an extra hard time this school year  and it breaks my heart seeing my son trying so hard and not being able to gain a little bit of respect from his teacher. 

    Reply
  5. Martha says:

    This is fabulous!  I’d love to use parts of this to my son’s teacher.

    Reply
  6. Kimberly Moraes Walker says:

    I love this, except for the part where it says “he may never be the smartest kid.” I think our children with ADD/ADHD have gifts that are so disregarded in school. Just because an individual doesn’t fit an arbitrary model doesn’t mean he or she is smart.

    Reply
  7. Tracy says:

    Amen! It has taken changing school three times in as many years to finally find a teacher who would do this for my son. Now he is in a school where his strengths are encouraged and his challenges are supported. His teacher really knows him and wants him to succeed. He is blossoming and is developing a sense of self-worth at school that all the previous teachers had taken away. Thank you, Terry Constable, for caring about my child and nurturing his belief in himself and his ability to do well at school. The teaching profession needs more angels like you!

    Reply

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The "ADHD Mommas" are not medical or mental health professionals, nor an ADHD coach. Any opinions shared here are just that, opinions. I, and the other "ADHD Mommas," are sharing our experiences with our own ADHD children. Please do not re-post or publish any content or photos without a link back to {a mom's view of ADHD}. Have the courtesy to give credit where credit is due. Copyright protected. All rights reserved.

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