Thursday, February 25, 2010

Field Trip Success and Teachers Who Deserve Medals

As I mentioned yesterday, Superman had an all day field trip yesterday and although he was not happy about going, I sent him off to school with a cupcake in his lunch hoping for the best, but prepared for a phone call to come get him. I had landline and cellphone with me at all times and did not leave the house. 

 (Great excuse for a long afternoon read while chicken stock simmered away on the stove.)

So, no pleas to come get Superman came and at 3:25 Superman walked through he door.  I asked how the field trip went and he said, "I was so furious!"

Before I go on, let me celebrate with you Superman's appropriate use of a descriptive feeling word.  You go, Superman!

OK, so I ask why.  He then explains that they practically starved him as he had to wait too long for lunch. And why did his Cheetos taste funny??? (Damn!  I was busted for switching to the baked variety!)

We finally got to the content of the day and he actually enjoyed most of it other than making an atom with marshmallows and pretzel sticks.  Well, the making was fine.  The eating of the atom, not so much.  Pretzels are meant to be eaten plain, you know.

About an hour later as I checked my email, there is a long descriptive note from Superman's classroom teacher.  

Their stories matched.  Sort of.  She provided all the behind the scenes bits.

Longer story shorter.....  She had packed a bag of activities for the long bus ride. She said she was really proud of herself until she realized she forgot to pack Superman's snack! She spent the bus ride engaging him, did lots of distracting singing and dancing as he grew hungry at the destination.  She stuck with him during the entire trip and engaged him again on the bus back.  

She deserves a massage.  

She deserves a medal.  

She deserves daily fresh flower delivery for the rest of the year.

Really.  She took Superman with no special ed support!  She was willing to give it a try to see what Superman could handle.

But the part of her email that got me all choked up was how she said that SHE learned a lot.  That SHE had a better understanding of what it takes for a kiddo with Autism to tolerate and fully experience the world as it is.  She was proud of both of them.

And so am I.

Superman's IEP is coming up so we will insert some field trip supports as an all day trip to the State Capitol is coming up as well as an end of the year trip to an amusement park.  I believe that the classroom teacher should not be tied to Superman.  Her other charges deserve a piece of her too.

Another milestone.  Another celebration about something most parents don't have to give a thought to.

Special needs students need to be able to participate in their classrooms, but perhaps more importantly, they need to participate in all the related and enriching activities.  To do this, schools need to provide the kinds of supports the kids need to enjoy and benefit from such activities.  This means extra personnel, rearranging of schedules, preplanning, teacher training.  Maybe even preparing classmates and putting them in helpful roles during the field trip.  There are always a handful of mother hen types who thrive on being helpful.  Let me be clear here.  Special needs kiddos should never be a burden to their classmates.  We all need to be mindful of that.

Today I will spend my time continuing reading about recess, homework, and effective school leadership.  

Without being tied to the phones.


  1. We had parent teacher conferences today (at least until the mayor decided the snow and the ice was making it too treacherous to continue- although he was able to predict things would be okay tomorrow) none-the-less after sitting in on numerous conferences I got the picture. The teaching world is split between teachers who "get" (or at least try to) special needs students and those who don't.
    I'm really glad Superman has one from the first category.

  2. Yes, it is a sad reality. We are a group split by such issues and it just weakens us as a whole.
    We are grateful for Superman's teacher as we are all too aware of how a teacher who doesn't get it effects our whole family.
    Good luck with the whole weather issues you all are facing. Nice to know your mayor has a crystal ball and know how to use it!
    Let me guess.... he can work from home or has a driver to drive him to work.... and he can be late as he won't have 30 little cherubs in his office waiting for him.


Although I am dangerously opinionated, I am a flexible thinker and welcome your thoughts.