The Special Ed department has marked me, along with a few other teachers, as a Golden Child. I've been chosen to plan inclusion teaching (SpEd kids in regular classes with a regular and SpEd teacher working in the room together). I don't know how good I am with those kids, but I make up for shortcomings in volume.
I have been in thousands of SpEd parent meetings, and most of all I remember my very first.
Imagine me as a wee baby Educat. Twenty three years old and just out of college. I am teaching at my alma mater. At the meeting we have myself, my really loud Southern principal, the matronly and patient SpEd teacher, and the child and her parent. The child always looked disoriented to me, like she really was perpetually lost. I have run into her several times over the years and she's kept that look, adding tired and perpetually pregnant to the mix. The father has a similar look (but not pregnant) and I think was the first person on whom I used the phrase "slack jawed".
The meeting goes well. It's a good mix of praising the child's strengths and admonishing her to work harder. The father supports us and by the end, we're happy chatting about the child's possibilites. Daddy tells us how glad he is to send babygirl to Alma Mater because he went there and...well...issa good schoo.
"Weeelllll!" Loud Southern Principal yodels, "Ms Educat went to almuh matuh too!!! Mi-uzzz Aeducayt, whut year did yew graduate!?"
I shoot her a look that asks is she really knows where she's driving this car. "Well" (pointedly) "1989."
Get it, lady, I. Would. Not. Have. Known. This. Man. Iwastwentythreeyearsoldandhehasateenager!!!
She, clearly not smoove, goes on. "Mistuh Dauhdy, whut year did yew graduate?"
"Well," Daddy replies, not getting it, "I graduated in sevventy six, but you woulnd'ta knowed me. Ah'z in Special Ed."
Save me. At least I hope I've gotten smoover at these meetings. I plan to blog soon on the story of my most recent one.