By in Parenting

Phone Call From the Special Ed Teacher

If you have a special needs kid you've probably had enough calls from school to know why I always hold my breath when I see the school showing up in my call display. Calls to come in and bring home a sick or injured child. Calls to come get a child who is having a tantrum. Calls to notify you of your child's latest transgression. Calls to tell you an inappropriate behaviour requires a meeting and intervention.

I dread those calls!

The good thing is, some teachers go beyond calling to dump trouble in a parent's lap. Some teachers actually call to collaborate or to tell the parent their child is doing well. Yes, I know it's hard to believe! But honestly, this has happened to me

Since moving to British Columbia my autistic son has been in a wonderful self-contained special education classroom. And his teacher is the best!

Mr. R. makes personal visits to students' homes when they are away for a long while due to injury. Mr. R. drives students home if their ride doesn't show or they miss the bus. Mr. R. teases kids playfully, instead of nagging them or using threats to get them to work.

Mr. R. also calls home to ask for advice, instead of asking parents to come get their kids if something isn't quite right.

One day Mr. R. called because the Bug was having a bit of a tummy ache, but he really wanted to stay in school because he has two favourite classes later that day.

Mr. R. told me all the details and said he was concerned how the Bug might react if sent home. (Yes, I know it's odd for a teacher to think beyond getting a sick kid off his own hands!) Then he asked what I thought we should do. We settled on giving the Bug a cup of tea and a little time to figure out how he felt, because we knew how much these classes mean to him.

Other days Mr. R has called to ask about problem behaviours. But he calls to tell me how he dealt with them, and then he asks if I think he did the right thing. It's not a “drop everything now and come get your unruly child” kind of call. He just wants to know if there's anything he hasn't thought to do, or if we would rather he dealt with a situation differently.

If you've had enough of the other kind of call, you know how much this simple gesture can mean to a special needs parent.

To be asked, rather than told. To have a teacher put my wishes first. To know the teacher will always contact me if he thinks my boy might be needing a little extra help. These things are more precious than gold!

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Image credit: Rotary phone by Clemson/Flickr ( CC BY 2.0 )

Note: This article has been migrated from Bubblews where it was originally published

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who_wants_a_fish wrote on January 1, 2015, 7:52 PM

Oh wow that is so lovely! I have never heard of teachers going beyond their job so much before. Where I am from that would never happen I have only heard of teachers turning up at a students house to make sure their parent wasn't lying about them being ill. This is a lovely post,and I love that things like this happen it's lovely :)

Brenda wrote on January 1, 2015, 8:20 PM

Great teacher need more of this kind of teacher who really cares and thinks through the situation and all people involved. Too many times the parents rights are dwindling and even teaching the child the parents views are not important. Glad to hear not so here.

Ruby3881 wrote on January 1, 2015, 9:08 PM

We are a very small region with only one high school for several towns. Most of the teachers live here in town, as opposed to a lot of urban areas where teachers often commute to vastly different neighbourhoods to work. We also have a lot of teachers who have taught several branches of the same family (cousins, siblings) or even two generations of the same family. So we're blessed with more than one teacher who puts in the extra effort.

But yes, Mr. R. is also really special. He has a huge heart and is very dedicated. I love that about him!

celticeagle wrote on January 1, 2015, 9:21 PM

My grandson is in what is called Excell here. It is a programs for kids with special needs. He has O.D.D. but one of our PSR workers seemed to think he could have Esperger's which is a form of autism. He is supposed to be assessed early this year at some point to see. I know what you mean about the anxiety of seeing the schools name in the caller ID. Behavioral issues you don't even want to know about. Ugh! His teacher is a jewel. Good communication is so important between teachers and parents. I am grandma but I am helping my daughter raise him so I feel like one of the parents.

bestwriter wrote on January 1, 2015, 10:30 PM

My brother was a teacher and I could relate what you have said in this post to him. He was handling normal children but took special care for students who were doing badly in their studies. He brought them home and spent hours with them.

LadyDuck wrote on January 2, 2015, 7:45 AM

I have known some very good teachers, but not all of them are able to deal with special children.

bleekley wrote on January 2, 2015, 9:59 AM

Mr. R sounds like a good man and teacher. The grade school and the high school that I attended in an Illinois village in the 1950s also had good relations between parents and teachers.

seren3 wrote on January 2, 2015, 10:08 AM

He sounds like a gem! It is wonderful to have a teacher who has a real vocation and is not simply doing a job.

Soreiya wrote on January 2, 2015, 1:37 PM

They sound like a wonderful teacher. It's incredibly rare to find one who will go out of his/her way to do what they think is right for the child or parent.

I'm special needs, but not in the same category. In my case I am legally blind. So I had a special class, but it was more like study hall as it was to help me with work from other classes.

beachchair wrote on January 3, 2015, 2:01 PM

He sounds like a gem. He is teaching your son not just doing his job. I wish more teachers took the time to do what he does.

FernandoSHA wrote on January 4, 2015, 2:01 AM

Some teachers do take their work as a calling and not a mere job to earn a living. These are the people whose tribe I'd like to see increase nowadays.