So, I don’t like to say I told you so, but… actually, in this case, it gives me a certain amount of satisfaction.
Back story – my youngest son has both learning disabilities and behavioural peculiarities. We’ve seen a psychologist. He’s had an assessment completed. He’s had a learning plan written up, accepted by all parties, and put on file with the school.
The plan says, as clearly as can be, that he struggles with transition, and that it would benefit both him and the poor teacher who has to cope with his behaviour (not to mention the rest of the class) to manage transitions for him carefully. Give him a heads up before changing activities. Let him know in advance if the routine is going to be changed. Warn him before bringing new people into the classroom.
The previous principle and classroom teacher were really good about this. He was even allowed to come into school a few days before the year started to meet his new teacher, find what classroom he’d be in, figure out what desk he’d be at, and (if he promised not to tell) learn which friends would be in his class. It all worked a charm. He was able to cope with the back-to-school transition better. The teacher had less acting out from him. We got fewer behavioural issues at home. Everyone was happy.
However, we have a new principle this year. She’s great, and she was fine with my kid coming in early as usual, so everything started off well. But then the ministry mandated some class shuffling, and rather than leave him with the teacher he had (which would have been ideal) or giving him some time to adjust and a chance to meet the new teacher, check out the new classroom, and so forth (which would have been somewhat helpful), we were told on the Thursday that he’d be in a new classroom with a new teacher and only some of the same classmates – starting the very next day.
In an attempt to mitigate this disaster, both my wife and I went in with him early the next morning. We took him down to his new classroom, found his desk, and met his teacher. Then my wife took him out to the playground while I explained to the teacher that she might be in for some behavioural issues over the next few days, just as a heads up. She assured me that it wouldn’t be a problem, her attitude clearly indicating that I was being helicopter parent, and that she had everything well under control.
When I went to pick him up from school on Tuesday afternoon, however, her tone had modified somewhat. I was watching him run around the schoolyard with his friends and do the monkey bars backwards (which is his newest trick) when she came out to her car.
“How are things going?” I asked.
“You weren’t kidding about the behavioural stuff, were you?” she said. “Tell me it gets better with time?”
I assured her that it does, that he’d settle in after a few days, especially if she could mitigate the regular day-to-day transitions as much as possible. I also pointed out that there was lots of information in the assessment and learning plan that might be useful when she got settled in herself and found some time to read it.
And as she drove away, I thought, I don’t like to say I told you so, but… actually, in this case, it gives me a certain amount of satisfaction.