Author Topic: Teachers do their best, teachers do their best  (Read 1745 times)


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Teachers do their best, teachers do their best
« on: October 27, 2016, 04:43:45 PM »
My third-grader most likely has dyslexia. I say most likely because she hasn't yet been officially diagnosed. But she's being followed by a speech therapist, we have an Intervention Plan at school and she is being evaluated for attention-deficit, which many dyslexics also have. So I'm aware there are issues.

I spoke at length to the teacher at the beginning of the year. We agreed that her enthusiasm for school should be encouraged and maintained.

They have tests every week: grammar, spelling, arithmetic, math. My daughter spends 10 hours a week preparing for these tests. She's very good at everything, except spelling. Her spelling is improving but it is still very very flawed. So in a spelling test, unless all stars align, she's always on the edge of failure. Particularly since now they also have to keep track of grammar in the spelling tests (plurals, gender etc, we're French, it gets complicated). Every week, there's a long note "You have to learn to concentrate better to make fewer mistakes..." "You have to make an effort blah blah blah" "You need to prepare better for the spelling tests etc". Mind you, she's getting 90-100% in all other parts of the weekly evaluation, and no comment is made there.

OH MY GOD. This is a NEUROLOGICAL problems. It is not a problem of effort or willpower. It's like telling a blind child they should make an effort to see more clearly. You gave a dyslexic child a spelling test and she got a bad grade, proving that... she has dyslexia and spelling problems.

The children can learn to cope. Maybe my daughter needs to use her tools better. But telling an eight-year old that she should make more of an effort when all she does is make an effort, that's just soul-crushing. She reads this note and thinks "wow, I already make all this effort and I'm being told to make more effort in order to succeed. That's just not possible. So I will never succeed." I cannot wait for the parent-teacher meeting. I always try to empathise with the teacher. My child does require more work. The teacher has 20 kids. Maybe I should be doing more to help her. etc. But right now, I'm sick and tired of reading this unhelpful rubbish. I'll be asking her to stop commenting on the spelling tests. My daughter knows that a 60% grade is not good. But unless you're going to write a gushing note for the 100% in math, don't say anything at all.


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Re: Teachers do their best, teachers do their best
« Reply #1 on: October 27, 2016, 05:29:26 PM »
How frustrating!  Maybe this teacher is not paying attention, simply putting a rote comment on a test with a lower score without checking whose test it is?   

I hope your daughter isn't too bothered with these senseless comments.  Hope you succeed in getting the message across to the teacher at your conference.
« Last Edit: October 28, 2016, 08:04:11 AM by trying2breathe »
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Re: Teachers do their best, teachers do their best
« Reply #2 on: October 27, 2016, 07:46:56 PM »
As a b-c student with dyscripta growing up this really annoys me. I used to study hours for spelling test and if I was lucky I might get 5 words right. I typically got below a 50% on spelling tests. I was always told to try harder and apply myself. I hated school.  As a adult with computers spelling is still sometimes a challenge but spellcheck makes me look somewhat literate.  I don't know what's required to get accommodations where you are. Here in the USA we have to have a formal evaluation.  If possible I would suggest a tablet/alpha pad.  There's also a new pen coming out in February called a learn and style pen. It turns text into words for those who struggle to read. I'm going to be looking into one for my dyslexic 10yoDD.  I wish I could do something for these types of kids. Last year my DD discovered she's pretty good at math thanks to that's and a teacher who told all the kids everyone's good at something she  now feels like she's somewhat smart.
Good luck, hope you can find a workable solution.


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Re: Teachers do their best, teachers do their best
« Reply #3 on: October 27, 2016, 07:47:48 PM »
My daughter is severely dyslexic (4th grade - numbers, not letters) and I have been in a three year battle with the school district to provide accommodations.  She will never learn basic math facts.  It will never happen.  You are right, it is neurological.  Three of her grandparents and I are all educators or former educators; it's not happening but the state will not acknowledge that.  Beware the diagnosis of ADD because then they can use that as the excuse for all of the problems without ever addressing the true neurological problem.  That has been my ongoing story for the past 3 years. At least here, the word "dyslexic" is taboo. 

The thing that just breaks my heart is that her teachers see it.  They are doing every thing they can but they are hamstrung by the system.  They do everything they can to help her, to work with her - because she is freaking off the charts brilliant in some areas but borderline, really borderline in others and they alone, along with us, see both, -  it is quite moving, really, how the teachers see it and want to help but have no recourse. 

I am still in limbo trying to get what we call in PA an IEP (Individualized Educational Plan); I've been working on it for 3 years.  If you want to PM me, I will tell you more about my experiences. 

NO third grader should be spending that much time on homework.  NO third grader should feel frustrated or "stupid" as my sweet child often comes home saying about herself or saying other kids said about her. 


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Re: Teachers do their best, teachers do their best
« Reply #4 on: October 27, 2016, 08:37:22 PM »
Thank you for the great answers. I totally agree with the ADD risk. I'm partially of the opinion not to share the report with the school. Her specialist and her homework tutor need to know to be able to help more efficiently. But her teacher? Maybe not. Getting a diagnostic doesnt change who she is from day to the next. I dont want her labelled. Dyslexia needs to be said because it gives her a few accommodations.


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Re: Teachers do their best, teachers do their best
« Reply #5 on: October 28, 2016, 05:13:30 AM »
My son has a form of dyslexia, he can actually "see" the letters, but his right brain and left brain can't put the letters together to understand a word he doesn't already "know".    If he reads locksmith he can't tell you what it means but if he hears it he can.   

I'm in Ontario and it took from grade 1 when he had an amazing teacher identify there was a problem as he could write but couldn't read until grade 3 to get formal testing and an IEP.   They don't fail kids in Ontario but a parent can hold them back which I was lucky enough to have someone from the school board tell me to threaten the school with doing that; as it would bring the entire school board into the school to figure out what was wrong. 

He was tested almost immediately,  the technology he's been given to assist him is incredible. 

He was given a speak to text program where he had to train his "dragon" to type for him, even though spelling wasn't an issue, making spelling tests obsolete.

He receives all his books on the computer with a program to read to him. He has a program that will read PDF files to him, so he can scan handouts and put them into the program. 

For tests, he can request a moderator to take him to another room and read the test to him if needed.

Sorry for the long post, but he's now in grade 9 and with a ton of great educators helping me once I got over the first hurdles he's now reading at about grade level and very rarely uses his dragon, the moderator or scanning documents.   And his midterm report card was an 80% average  :)  yeah boy!

I'm leary of the ADD label as well because here it almost leads to the education system writing the kids off, and as my son's teacher's noticed, once he could do the work with the technology the ADD like signs disappeared.  He wasn't attentive because it frustrated and embarrassed him to not be able to do the work.

I'll second the fact to no third grader should be doing that much homework! 

I'm more than happy to chat if you'd like.



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Re: Teachers do their best, teachers do their best
« Reply #6 on: October 28, 2016, 08:15:21 AM »
Sending empathy and solidarity here too.  My 3rd-grader was completely dismissed by his 2nd grade teacher who repeatedly pushed me to get an assessment for ADD/ADHD and did a whole "subtle" intervention pushing medication.  His punitive and "just pay attention, just make an effort" yelling style totally turned my kid off learning, to the extent that no work was ever done in class such that they had to do a WIAT test at the end of the school year to ensure he wasn't lagging behind his peers. And guess what - true to the pattern in this thread, he tested as off the charts in most areas but below average/w peer group in sentence structure and spelling. My DH could not spell and had numerical dyslexia. ITA with TooSoon that ADD/ADHD is being used the way she describes and specialists here advising the gifted community are saying that giftedness is often misdiagnosed as ADD/ADHD.  I'm coordinating all the psych-ed testing next month, and I don't think my son will actually score gifted "enough" for special programming and he may/may have ADD/ADHD, but I too don't plan to share all or much with the school, unless it is to the benefit of my child and I have confidence that they will do an IEP.  They have not been very helpful, and not "seeing" children for what is the real (neurological) issue.  I am still angry with the 2nd grade teacher for turning my child off learning and damaging his confidence to the extent that one weekend my son spent 30 minutes telling me how stupid he was (academically) and developed school anxiety, running away when it was time to go.  I am sorry you are facing this too. 


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Re: Teachers do their best, teachers do their best
« Reply #7 on: October 28, 2016, 09:30:17 AM »
My sister struggled with learning disabilities while we were growing up, watching me and my brother excel with little to no effort, while she worked so, so hard to be borderline or less in certain areas.  It's heartbreaking.  She still carries it with her and feels deficient.  I hate how much emphasis is put on academic achievement, such strange indices of "success" in a world that isn't aligned to that.  My sister is a successful hairstylist who radiates love and is so magnetic, makes people happy and feel beautiful several times every single day of her life, while my brother and I are stressed out professionals wondering why in the world we're doing this!  Our world really needs to get up to speed on what is valuable.  Your kid's teacher, too - people can be so stingy with praise and so quick and easy with the criticism.  I think many teachers don't truly understand learning disabilities.   

Edited to add: My parents are both retired teachers, so I don't mean this to be generally teacher-critical. 
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Re: Teachers do their best, teachers do their best
« Reply #8 on: October 28, 2016, 09:53:39 AM »
It would have been better for the teacher to contact you directly to get an idea what's the disconnect for your student rather than write that note to the student. It can kill the kid's motivation and morale for school. Both my girls are ADHD with LD (each has a different LD), my older daughter also had dysgraphia. Most American schools won't give you an accommodation for ADHD alone unless it is affecting their learning and grades in some way. Then you only get an accommodation for additional time to complete assignments and sometimes a change of environment for taking tests to minimize distractions.

I hate how people think these kids can control their ADHD. It's a neurological chemical imbalance. They can't control that and no extreme food diet will cure it either. Can you tell this is a touchy subject for me? Lol!


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Re: Teachers do their best, teachers do their best
« Reply #9 on: October 29, 2016, 08:22:43 AM »
Talk directly to the teacher now. No need to wait for parent teacher interview. Be polite voice your concern. 

Work with your child to tell her not to worry about it. realize yourself there is a limitation because her dyslexia. Praise her for her 6/10 or her 4/10.....tell her it's difficult but you'll find out what your good at sooner or later, this  just isn't your thing. Don't let her opt out of studying for them but don't set unrealistic goals either.

This advice is coming from a teacher...and a mother of 2 who was formally diagnosed with a learning disorder and ADHD and one Who I believe presented with the same diffculties who was not diagnosed. Both made it through school.

 Teachers can only do so much....your attitude and expectation can help your daughter even more. My son was horrible at spelling.....over and over again he would get a failing grade...and we worked at it but putting in 2hr  to learn it compared to 20 minutes only meant he would get 1 more right on the test!
I didn't get him a spelling tutor I said keep trying, do your'll find what your good at sooner or later....stay positive, encourage and demand their best.

During highschool I recognized their limitations....they took applied classes in subjects  in which they struggled, and academic courses in subjects in which they flourished. They weren't on any honour roll and I was not going to get them a bunch of tutors to get them their. It was ok.

I'm happy to say they have both found their niche..the one who was identified  as learning disabled is in 4th year university studying Physics...and doing well. He still can't spell well though! :P


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Re: Teachers do their best, teachers do their best
« Reply #10 on: November 13, 2016, 11:25:31 PM »
Theres a font that has been designed to make reading easier for dyslexic people. It bonds the letters on the bottom and changes the stems a bit. Helps to keep them from switching around.

Good luck is all I have beyond that.  And good job for advocating for her.
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Re: Teachers do their best, teachers do their best
« Reply #11 on: November 15, 2016, 07:40:22 AM »
I agree that there is no need to wait for the Parent-Teacher conference. Those are usually on a schedule where you only get a short set time period to talk, anyway. Like TooSoon, my son has never been able to remember the math facts. OTOH, he got 100% on pretty much every spelling test he ever had. After 2 years of non-stop, unsuccessful drilling math facts both at school and home, I said enough. I stopped it at home. They were pulling him out of classes he was successful in to do those drills. I told them no more of that. We have calculators in this world. They are on most phones now. He may always need to use one and that is okay.

I had a lot of trouble getting him assessed through the school district, needing to make multiple requests. When they reluctantly agreed to do the assessment they noted that the concern was parent-driven and the teachers had no concerns. Whatever. When the results came back, they were all shocked at how he had some serious deficits in some areas. I wasn't. I had noticed it before school when I was teaching him to write his alphabet letters. I think he didn't catch their attention, because he was so well-behaved at school(hell on wheels at home, though).

The best thing I can say is to keep pushing and being your child's advocate. I'm guessing my son's
 IEP team was never excited about seeing it was my son's meeting, due to me. I was always polite, but persistent. I also learned early on that the teachers don't get the IEP's often until a month into the school year. Given that eye contact was really difficult for my son, I wanted his teachers to be aware right away that he wasn't being disrespectful. So, I write letters to his teachers at the beginning of school making them aware he has an IEP that includes.....

Good luck. It is hard enough to see our children struggling without the teacher (likely inadvertently) making them feel worse.

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