the team

Thirteen years of my life have had annual meetings where a team gets together to determine individual goals for my girl. The team presents the positives and then the test scores and then the goals and objectives.  Aside from a two and a half-year window of excellence, the remaining IEP meetings have been rarely anything more than a time when the concept of a ‘team’ is portrayed but in reality, it is far from a team.

As a player on this so-called team, I am the one that is expected to sit quietly on the sidelines while the rest of the team goes about their game strategy.  When I decide to ask questions about the strategy, the team recoils and it is soon evident that I am considered by the majority of them as an opponent and not a team player.

A team player is a person who willingly works in cooperation with others. Cooperation with others in the form help is accepted, ideas are shared, willingness to do something different. And yet, on this particular team, help and ideas have been considered to be the tool that has drawn the line in the sand–the line of opposition.  Again.

I am not the opponent. I am the voice.

In a couple of years, other players on this team will get to take her file and put it in the drawer of files that no longer get looked at.  But for this player, the file will remain open and the journey will continue as we will venture off into world beyond goals and objectives.  Perhaps it will be in that game, the voice of an advocate won’t be penalized, but instead appreciated.

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2 thoughts on “the team

  1. As another player on the “team,” I hear your voice. I have been a Literacy (English Language Arts) teacher for the past three years. It is my passion and my dream. I don’t love the grammar, the novels, the practice – but instead I invest my time and my strengths in seeing the potential in every student. This is a very difficult task. I often ask myself why I choose this over handing out grammar worksheets everyday and assigning multiple choice tests. I truly believe in the potential of each student – but, daily this gets tough. Unfortunately, the last (and first) three years of my career, my voice is always outweighed. In IEP meetings I am to act as part of the team as well… but tend to feel that I am just a signature that’s required.I have even had my cooperating teachers lie about strategies or time spent with students on IEPs and I can’t stand it.

    I know a few people who devote their life and career to these situations and I praise them because their work is only getting harder with the state demands. I promise, for you, that the parents voice will be the loudest in my head as I sit in this team meeting in my coming years. I will advocate not only for the student, but also for listening to the parent that cares and will be there after the child has left my classroom.

    Thank you for this!

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