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the teacher jackpot

Friday, March 13, 2009

I don't think there has been a boy in the history of education that has had the amazing string of 'luck' in the quality of teachers he gets.

Alek is incredibly blessed.
I mean it. I don't think there has been a boy in the history of education that has had the amazing string of 'luck' in the quality of teachers he gets.
There is only one teacher I can think of during all of Alek's academic career I haven't been over the moon for...and she was okay. Just not stellar like the rest.
There was Mrs. K in preschool. She did a great job of pulling these precious little gems out of their shell and into the world of learning.
In first grade there was Mrs. McKittrick who loved these children, with a deep, abiding love. Four years after Alek left her classroom she would still come up to him in the hall at church (yes, she attended the same church we did...both first grade teachers did, which was an awesome blessing) to see how he was doing and to give him a quick hug. Even though he didn't want hugs from Mom in public anymore...he never refused Mrs. McKittrick. He adored her.
Last year it was Mrs. Turpin. Despite being confined to a wheelchair after a horrific accident two years ago, this teacher's desire to return to the classroom and see 'her kids' succeed was inspiring. She worked hard to make sure Alek had everything he needed in place to do the best possible job he could. No matter what it took.
This year Alek did it again. He landed Mr. Johnson.
Mr. Johnson already has one thing going for him in Alek's book - he's a man. And THAT's cool. He's young, he's energetic, he's loves kids...he's perfect for my Q-ball.
He ended up with mostly boys in his class...which could have been a recipe for disaster, but Mr. Johnson has turned it into a positive, ending up with a class that is not only gets along well, but is excelling academically and socially.
These are some awesome kids.
We've had a pretty good relationship with Mr. Johnson.
You never know what kind of response you're going to get from teachers when you start talking about IEPs and other special education needs. I've heard of teachers who think they know everything about what it takes to educate your child and will fight you tooth and nail on implementing the things in their IEP that are designed to help your child.
And I've heard of other teachers who don't think IEPs are necessary - all the child needs is 'them' to reach their full potential. So they ignore the IEP whenever possible.
I've always braced myself for the I've watched so many other parents deal with...but we've been blessed with teachers all along the way who have gone out of their way to help our kids.
Mr. Johnson has taken it to the next level.
You may remember a few weeks ago when I mentioned that Alek no longer has an IEP. The federal government doesn't recognized Central Auditory Processing (CAP) as a learning disability worthy of an IEP...and since he doesn't have speech or language issues anymore, and since he has developed some coping mechanisms to help him get around his CAP (like memorizing everything) the state doesn't think he needs services that an IEP would provide.
Thankfully he's going to a Title I school where his former speech teacher can pull him out for those services anyway...but that's another story.
Back to Mr. Johnson...
So Mr. Johnson has done an excellent job of listening to our concerns, keeping an eye on Alek and making adjustments as necessary.
Even so, I was a little surprised the other day to get an email from Mr. J. He said he was just writing to give me an update on how Alek was doing. (I've received a few of these over the course of the year - and I've never requested a single one! :)

I wanted to give you a quick update on how Alek is doing (he gives me an update on some tests he's taken recently)...
I don't think auditory processing played a huge part in his tests. I have noticed that Alek has some days where he seems to be checked out or focusing on something else.
(auditory processing) This doesn't happen every day but it happens more often the closer we get to a break. He sometimes is not thorough when it comes to to taking tests or daily work, but he is improving...

The length of the test could be a contributor as well. I have been monitoring Alek during tests and have given him options to take a break or go out into the hall if he feels distracted. He hasn't wanted to use this option. It might be beneficial if I force him to take a break so he is better able to focus.
Taking his time and looking over his answers is the best option for Alek to be more successful on longer tests or assignments in general.
I try to encourage him to do this, but there needs to be more of a want on his part.

Overall, I would say Alek can work on being thorough and checking over his answers to make sure he has given his best answer.
Alek is a big part of the dynamic of the class. I have truly enjoyed having him in class and the students have as well.

Mr. J.

I love how this guy keeps an eye out for Alek when he's struggling and comes up with ways to try to help him succeed! I sent a note back telling him to force Alek to take that break...anything it takes to help him focus...and I would have a sit down with Alek about taking his time on those tests.
Boy, I wish Alek could take this guy with him to sixth grade!

8 salty messages:

Tina in CT March 14, 2009 at 5:57 PM  

Just saw my error in Alek's name.

Christine March 14, 2009 at 10:27 PM  

Tami, you and I know it isn't luck. ;)

Tina in CT March 14, 2009 at 10:33 PM  

Alek has been blessed with having such a terrific teacher.

Guess I didn't post the comment after I first typed it.

Tami March 14, 2009 at 10:36 PM  

Christine, you are ABSOLUTELY right. ;>)

MoscowMom March 14, 2009 at 11:26 PM  

Wow. What a teacher! What a blessing!!!!

Drew, Michelle, Luke and Tetyana March 15, 2009 at 9:33 AM  

Our son has his first male teacher this year in 4th grade and it has been his best year yet! He also has an IEP (tramatic brain injury)that we really haven't used but it is there if we need it. Our teacher recently talked Luke into going to the learning center to take the state standarized tests and he agreed. He never would have agreed if I approached the subject with him. Men get boys and how they learn!

mrsbroccoliguy March 15, 2009 at 1:21 PM  

Boy do I wish Mr. J could teach R~'s teacher a thing or three! That is exactly the type of issue R has with tests and her teacher is beyond clueless on how to help her - in fact, I think every little thing he does makes it worse. Anyway, that is just awesome for Alek that he has had so many great teachers - hope the streak continues next year!

Old DAN AND Little ANN March 16, 2009 at 12:11 PM  

That is so cool. I am going back to college for my ed degree. I put things on hold when the babies started coming. I hope I am the kind of teacher parents will be 'over the moon' for.

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