A Teacher’s Cheat Sheet about My Child
This summer I was attending Summer School orientation with my child, and meeting her new Summer School teacher. I was waiting my turn with another parent as we quickly tried to explain, in 10 minutes or less, to the teacher the specifics and concerns about our children.
As I left the class, I thought to myself: “how much will the teacher retain of what was said to her about her new students?” The teacher had already mentioned she had not read through all of the students IEP’s. How fair was it for us, the parents, to expect her to retain everything in a brief (less than 10 minute) meeting?
As I was contemplating this, it dawned on me about how many other times it would have been helpful for someone to know about my child. People like her art teacher, who called to tell me my child was misbehaving in class. The reality was that my child was trying to prove to this teacher with “her skills” that she could help and was actually trying to please the teacher. Once I explained that my daughter was trying to show her independence, and was trying to help the teacher clean up (just a bit too early), the teacher was able to redirect it to an appropriate time. By giving my daughter specific responsibilities, it made her feel included and responsible. It was a quick fix once the understanding was in place. Then, I remembered the other times that I had been called about my child not behaving in the lunchroom. Or, when a chorus teacher put her on the second tier of a stage, not taking into consideration that my child “rocks” from side to side when she is excited, she lost her balance, fell from the tier, and got a black eye. All of these thoughts came flooding back to me and I thought there has to be a better way.
I have seen other documents developed about “getting to know my child”. For example, portfolios set up like scrapbooks. There are many very nice ones that exist. But, for what I was thinking for school, the samples I have seen were cumbersome and I was concerned if they would really even be read. They may also be costly to prepare for more than one (1) person. I wanted a quick reference guide (a cheat sheet, if you will) about my child. A simple, clean, easy to read front and back sheet, that would let everybody that works with my child know specific information that would help them understand my child. All of this, in the hopes that it would benefit everyone involved.
I created a “Getting to Know My Child” form. At the start of school this year, I filled out the form, pasted a current photo of my child and made copies- one sheet both sides. I placed it in an envelope and addressed it individually to anyone I thought this could benefit. People like the Principal, Assistant Principal, Secretary, Aide, Art teacher, chorus teacher, and P.E. Coach. I took it one step farther and while preparing this form for her teacher, who is new to her school, I attached a copy of my child’s syndrome and her summer school evaluation. For her O.T., P.T. and Speech therapist at school, I included a copy of her most recent evaluations from services she receives outside of school.
So far, I have received very positive feedback on the “Getting to Know My Child” form. Her teacher thanked me and said it was very helpful. Her Chorus and Art teachers also thanked me. The Assistant principal stopped me to say “thank you it was very informative”. She mentioned that she learned some things she did not know about my child (this is my child’s second year at this school, so don’t assume, as I did, that they know your child). The Assistant Principal also said she wished she had one of these forms for ALL of her students in the school.
In keeping with the theme of this Magazine, I am sharing the form that I have created with you. I hope this form helps you, our children, and anyone working with our children. You may download the form by clicking on the link.
Getting to Know My Child Form.pdf: quick reference guide about My Child, a simple, clean, easy to read front and back sheet, that provides specific information about my child that will help anyone working with my child.