That child in your classroom with an individualized education program (IEP) is my kid. She has a special education teacher, of course, but when she is in your classroom, you are her main teacher, and this is why we need to talk.
I need you to read my child’s IEP and make sure accomodations stated are put in place.
I need you to consider my child when you plan your lessons.
I need you to consider my child when you plan field trips, special learning activities and end-of-school-year events.
I need you to pay attention to what my child has to say, because although her speech is hard to understand, that doesn’t mean her ideas are not valuable. My child contributes to the great diversity in your classroom.
I need you to remember that good teaching for kids with disabilities is teaching that will be beneficial to all your students, not just my child. When you teach concepts so my child can understand them, you are teaching to every learner in the classroom. It will probably mean more work for you, making sure your lessons are auditory, visual, tactile, but my child can make you a better teacher as you learn to reach every learner.
I need you to take responsibility for my child’s learning, and not expect the paraprofessional to be the one doing the teaching.
I need you to consider your role to be as important as the role of the special education teacher.
I need you to take initiative, and not just wait for the special education to get things going for my kid.
I need you to be aware that it is you who determines if my child will have a positive year at school or not.
I need you to remember my child is not a guest in your classroom, but an active participant — a student like everyone else — who is there to learn from you.
But most of all, I want you to remember we are on the same team. When you have questions about my child, I will be glad to answer them. If you want me to come to the classroom and talk about my child’s disability so her peers understand her better, I will be there. When you want to try something new, let’s talk about it and discuss what that new approach could mean for my child. I may not be an expert in your other students, but remember I am an expert when it comes to my child.
I know you have many students in your classroom, and my child is just one of them. I understand. This is why I want you to know I am committed to helping and supporting you this year, but that also means you have to do your part.