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Teaching Students with LD and ADHD

School won't help 7th grader with organization skills, help


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Joined: Jan 23, 2004
Posts: 1
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Posted Jan 23, 2004 at 12:10:12 PM
Subject: School won't help 7th grader with organization skills, help

My son was placed in special education in 3rd grade because he still couldn't read and tested in the 9th % for auditory memory processing disorder.

He does extremely well in small groups, and so his first year in RSP he learned to read at grade level. He was allowed to go on to the next grade because he was making great progress, although his grades were all Failing and unsatisfactory. Once he learned to read, he tested above grade level on his Stat 9 and other standardize tests they gave him.

6th grade he finished the year with strait F's again, although he did fine on statewide testing standards. His biggest challange is staying focused in a large group setting, and ORGANIZATION. His backpack was knicknamed the black hole, and his teacher turned his desk around so he couldn't keep anything in his desk after we found months worth of assignments partially done that he never turned in stuffed in it. He had to take everything home daily so he wouldn't have any excuses (this was the teachers idea, not mine). Nothing changed, he still lost things and never had the right materials for homework. I asked the RSP to work on organizational skills with him, using calendars, checking his Minder Binder daily to make sure he wrote down what the homework was correctly, verifying if he turned in homework was also important.

This was never done regularly, even thought the IEP stated it would be. My son has never had the chance to learn, get used to, organizational tools that would help him because no one has ever showed him how effectively on a regular basis for longer than a few days.

He was promoted to 7th grade despite his failing grades, now we have multiplied our dilemna. The junior high school teachers state that they do not have time to remind my son to turn in homework, or check if he has the assignments written down correctly. We tried daily progress reports, but my son forgets to have of his teachers fill them out, and the teachers will not help him get into the habit even if only for two weeks until it becomes natural for him. He tends to forget what he needs to do and so he needs help developing a system using check lists.. whatever works for him. He cannot come up with these tools alone, and needs regular reminders for a couple of weeks, maybe a month, max two months, and he will remember on his own.

The school year is over half way done, and he is still getting all F's. I am getting upset because the school is diligent about following up on detentions for tardies, but can't help remind my son to have his progress report filled out. My son was late one time to PE and got a detention. Well he forgot to go to detention after school, and went home. This doubled his detetion. We are currently on the 8th detention stemming from the original tardy. He kept forgetting to go to detention and it was doubling.

I get calls weekly, sometimes daily, telling me that he has to stay after school for forgeting detention or forgeting assignments or supplies. WED he had to serve detention, the final one for forgetting the first one. Well he had gotten a TEACHER DETENTION also for not having his assignment and supplies for class scheduled WED also. My son went to the general detention (after eight times he finally remembered to go, which should have been praised). But yesterday when he got to history class, his teacher gave him an in school detention because he should have informed him that he had a detention conflict. An in school detention means he was immediately sent to detention and MISSED CLASS.

This is the last straw. I've had it. I've had advocates from SELPA helping me but this school isn't willing to put any effort in even if temporary. Time is ticking, my son is not learning anything but that he's incompetent and school sucks.

I need to do something now. I've given these schools four years, and I need to stop letting this go on. I don't know what I need to do that is aggressive enough to gaurantee my son get some guidence in school to develop good study and homework skills.

Legally, they have failed to show progress on his IEP and have not dealt with the LD's dx at his Triannual assessment in 5/03. I just don't know how to proceed from here in a way that will give us the quickest response.

Any advice, suggestions will be greately appreciated. I am in Alta Loma, CA (if that matters legally).

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arizsped
Joined Jan 24, 2004
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I am a special ed teacher in Arizona. We have an organization here called PINS - they are parent advocates. Do you have such an organization in your area? I know you mentioned SELPA, but I am not familiar with them.

It seems to me if it is in the IEP that the teachers will regularly check that homework is turned in, organization is taught, etc. they need to do it. This happens often in our school because teachers (especially junior high) say they 'don't have the time'. As the special ed teacher/director I make it very clear to them they must make the time or our administrator steps in and deals quite harshly with the situation.

Is your son's special ed teacher involved? It seems he needs somebody at the school to advocate for him and make sure things are done according to the IEP.

Your son must be extremely frustrated at this point which, I'm sure you are aware, puts him at great risk for dropping out of school, getting in with the 'wrong' peers, etc. I would definately push the school. Even if it means filing a formal complain with the Department of Education. The school/teachers are doing your son a huge injustice.

Susan

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Anonymous
Joined Nov 28, 2014
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Posted:Jan 31, 2004 11:27:00 PM

How is his room? Does he have any chores or other things he can do to help teach him organization? Is he on any medication? If he is on meds, it really sounds like it isn't working and if he isn't on meds perhaps it is time to try them. He has to take ownership of his inattentive ways and become responsible for them.

One can't wait for the school to get him organized. Get him an ADD coach, in addition to teaching him organization skills at home through chores and giving him some responsibility.

The schools have never taught my kids organization skills, we taught them at home. We read lots of books on ADD and one book that helped us with our kids was 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens. When my HS son starts to lose things and miss assignments, we are on top of them right away. What we do is e-mail the teachers, and they are really good about getting back to us. But as a parent of ADD kids, I have to be really organized; I am ADD so I understand where they are coming from and I also don't cut them any slack.

I wish I could be more positive about having the school teach him organization skills but in my experience the best teacher is hiring an ADD coach if you find that you are at the end of your rope and you can't do it at home.

Good luck.

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Jean
Joined Feb 07, 2004
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Posted:Feb 07, 2004 7:15:08 PM

I can understand. I have had to go to the middle school 3 times in a week to check my son's locker. A parent feels like an airport baggage security person. Not only do I have frequent locker checks (usually when he forgots to have his teacher sign his planner). I also check the backpack, binders, ask a dozen questions after every school day, and email teachers. This year he is taken the Writing TAKS test (standardized test). One of his disabilities is in writing. The teacher said they had been doing some writing. I wasn't aware of the quantity of writing since it was largely done in class. The TAKS test is going to be taken in a couple of weeks and I am very concerned about his success on this test. I hate the way they wait (seems more pronounced for a student with ld) until after the holidays to prepare. I don't like teaching to the TAKS, but there are ways to prepare without bringing up the TAKS. Considering the organizational, time management, extra time needed to develop writing skills at the 7th grade level. I have been researching homeschooling. Jean

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Anonymous
Joined Nov 28, 2014
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In my experience the person who has the most contact with the child should be doing most of this. Are you, the parent, setting your son up with a binder with dividers?

Do you inspect his backpack regularly, if not daily and help him organize the wad of papers that are stuffed inside? Why do you expect the school to do this? Our classes las about 55 minutes and we have many content area standards to teach. There is not really much time for organization, though we can help. But, you have the time to go over this at home daily.

But a three-hole punch, if you don't already have one, get him organized.

I am ADHD. We don't organize like others do, we let things pile up and then organize. So, what is wrong with making certain that he leaves for school each morning with every paper in his backpack safely in his binder in the appropriate section, including homework? This would take you a few minutes per night.

Parents do have some teaching responsibilities.

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Anonymous
Joined Nov 28, 2014
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Does he attend ALHS? I teach in a neighboring H.S. I have a frightful time trying to remember to ask kids to bring me their progress sheets to sign. It is often not as easy as you think it should be, for the teacher just to do this every day.

Why not try to set up some e-mail with certain teachers, get assignments, if you can get them to, get grade updates. That is something I CAN remember because I can even do it from home when I am not dealing with a classroom full of highschoolers. etc. Plus, it takes so little time.

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Anonymous
Joined Nov 28, 2014
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Posted:Feb 08, 2004 1:12:30 PM

Quote "Anitya":

In my experience the person who has the most contact with the child should be doing most of this. Are you, the parent, setting your son up with a binder with dividers?

Quote "Anitya":

My son's school would throw a fit if they knew I was doing this. I am but I do it against the school's explicit instructions. They believe in sink or swim school and parents should not help but to see the homework gets done. How we're supposed to do that without getting involved with homework mystifies me. But yes, I do set up a binder and I fight with my middle school son every single night to go through his backpack. He is ADHD and can't organize on his own but as a middle schooler he badly wants independence he's not ready to have. So every night to keep him from being a problem for his teachers in school, I deliver a kind of slap in the face to his young self-esteem by insisting on going through the private space that he sees his backpack as. He'd rather fail in school on his own but if I let him do that, he earns the approbation of all his teachers who don't want me to help but don't want him to come without his homework done and in his binder.

Quote "Anitya":

Do you inspect his backpack regularly, if not daily and help him organize the wad of papers that are stuffed inside? Why do you expect the school to do this?

Quote "Anitya":

Well, I've learned not to but when did school become just handing out assignments to be completed and collected?

Quote "Anitya":

Our classes las about 55 minutes and we have many content area standards to teach. There is not really much time for organization, though we can help. But, you have the time to go over this at home daily.

Quote "Anitya":

Why is the curriculum more important than the organizational skills? Why isn't time made if there isn't enough time. And what happens to the kids from broken homes or single parent homes? I'm sure it's a question for a bigger audience than you but how long can people think of this as the land of opportunity when if you're from a poor or dysfunctional home all you have the opportunity to do is fail in school?

Quote "Anitya":

When my immigrant great-grandparents came here, school was the place of true opportunity. They were poor, they worked in factor and sent their kids to school. They wouldn't have had time or the English language skills to help their kids with binders and organization! Yet their kids were successful in school and without binders and dividers!

Quote "Anitya":

I think we need to recognize the role that schools aren't playing anymore in helpng the poor and needy to have opportunity. Are schools playing a role in creating a permanent underclass because they've designed an educational process dependent upon binders and dividers yet can't design a school day that includes enough time to help students with those binders and dividers?

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Anonymous
Joined Nov 28, 2014
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Then please become a one woman evangalist and fix our situations, we will thank you very much!!!!

In my high school we are overextended, understaffed and underfunded. Worse still, our one period per day that we have allocated to monitor is being taken away from us in favor of teaching yet another class, so next year what little noninstructional time we do have becomes even less.

Why? Perhaps because we are pressured with standards, testing, increasing test scores.............it never stops. Perhaps trying to help our classes of 15-20 sped. students it is all we can do to try to teach standards and skills, something often parents are not as equipped to do.

Why? Why not have parents TEACH, at home, organization skills? I mean, parents are the child's first teacher. Parents do spend more time in a smaller adult/child ratio with their child than teachers will ever hope to do. How is a home run, if not on some standard of organization?

Why? You know it is mighty sad that kids come from dyfunctional homes and so on and so forth. The public school cannot be charged with taking the full responsibility for the social problems we have in this country. We do not create them and we can probably do a small part to help them.

But, for this, I say if schools are charged with teaching content standards, then why the heck can't other social organizations and social workers take some responsibility for these social issues that are beyond the scope of what teachers are tasked with doing, funded to do and permitted time for doing?

Why don't you get out there and beat the drum. You cannot expect the schools staffed by teachers to perform these myriad functions and still find time to teach what there is often not enought time to teach.

Remember, we are teachers. In high school we see your child about 55 minutes per day. We must teach, in English, literature, written language skills, vocab. skills, grammar, and there is simply no down time.

We can help in small ways, but to completely organize a child daily, frankly my district has tasked me with more than I can do in a school day, so I have to do what I can manage to do.

Get out and beat the bushes to get more funds into your school to hire more paraprofessional staff to handle these issues. I'm frankly pretty doggone busy testing, writing reports, monitoring students' grades, creating lesson plans, grading papers, etc. I already pretty much spend my 60 hours a week just doing that stuff. Sorry, I can't do much more and still have any time to rest and rejuvenate myself, let alone my family.

Yup, that was a rant. As long as we are stretched as thin as we are, you will always think "why can't the teacher ogranize my child?" So, why can't you do half of this, what do we think parental responsibility has come to? Is it wise or appropriate to expect teachers to do things that were always considered the domain of the parents?

I think this attitude of why can't you do this or that at school is part of our problem here. Come to me or another teacher and ask, what can WE do to help my child? These are the problems, this is what I have tried, what can WE try that won't overly tax any single person's time that may help.

Ok. off my rant. Believe me, I am totally aware that most parents do this and more. We teachers resent being told, by parents, that it is our job to fix these things, just as much as you resent being told that you as the parent are the cause of all the problems. Rarely can either the parent or the sped. teacher do this alone.

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Anonymous
Joined Nov 28, 2014
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Posted:Feb 08, 2004 8:21:02 PM

I've clearly touched a nerve and you raise some points that intrigue me.

In my high school we are overextended, understaffed and underfunded. Worse still, our one period per day that we have allocated to monitor is being taken away from us in favor of teaching yet another class, so next year what little noninstructional time we do have becomes even less.

Why is assisting with organization considered "non-instructional time"?

Why? Perhaps because we are pressured with standards, testing, increasing test scores.............it never stops.

Yes but wouldn't better organized students help raise test scores? Organization would only help to meet the standards and testing expectations. And isn't organization one of the standards or no? If it is not, why is there such emphasis on it in schools? If it is important, it should be one of the standards.

Perhaps trying to help our classes of 15-20 sped. students it is all we can do to try to teach standards and skills, something often parents are not as equipped to do.

Isn't organization a skill if not a standard? Why does it fall outside the instruction?

It seems to be that organization has become almost crucial to success in modern schools. Why would something so crucial not be a standard and a skill to which time is allotted? Why would something so crucial be left to parents?

Is it wise or appropriate to expect teachers to do things that were always considered the domain of the parents?

Organization in school has not always been considered the domain of parents by any means. And that's my question. I know when that changed - from my generation to my son's - but why did it change? I don't understand why something so critical to success in school is not allocated time in school. It's rather like a doctor saying vaccinations are essential to your health but you can't get them here-

I'm not saying teachers don't work hard - my question is a very specific one to the role organization plays in school and the role is does not have either in standards or in time slotted for it. Is this a major flaw in the organization of the school day itself?

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Anonymous
Joined Nov 28, 2014
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Rachel, it is simple, students are assessed in language arts and math every year. NCLB has demanded that ALL students score that the "profieient" level in language arts and math. NCLB does not test a student's organizational skills. Also, I teach content classes where I must teach standards that are TESTED.

As parents who have posted on this board can attest to, an ADHD student can perform well on standardized tests and due to failure to turn in work, receive poor grades. NCLB does not look at grades.

All school minutes are allocated to teaching content standards, to earning graduation credit. None are allocated to housekeeping chores.

You have parented your children since they were babies. Organizational skills are functional living skills. We are not provided enough time or resources to teach functional living skills to students who are on academic tracks.

I still state that if parents will purchase the appropriate school supplies and conduct daily backpack/binder checks of their students, assisting them in organizing their papers, then much of this difficulty will be solved.

If you had 15 children at home at night, I might understand that this is hard to do every night for each child. You do not, we, however have 12-20 in our special education English, math and social science classes. There is scarcely time to teach the content standards. let alone organize your child.

If your child does not turn in homework, then make darn sure it is in the binder each morning when he leaves for school and tell the teacher to look there for it. We can help where we can, we cannot do all of this. Our days are very full.

We technically are not allowed to look in backpacks, etc. I believe we can search desks, they do not belong to the child. But, I cannot shove my hand in your child's backpack. You can.

My advice is to do your job at home, you do have responsibilities and it is not just to feed and clothe your child. Then enlist the teacher to give support where she or he can and you can probably improve this.

But, if you cannot get your child's backpack and binder organized at home, where you have time, means and the right to inspect, then what do you think we can do with a class full of students and standards that reach the ceiling?

No, in all the years I went to school, teachers did not organize students. They do far more now than was ever done in the 1960's, for instance. Our elementary teachers, for example, set aside time to write homework in the overhead while they have every student copy it onto the homework sheet they have provided.

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Anonymous
Joined Nov 28, 2014
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Quote "arizsped":

I am a special ed teacher in Arizona. We have an organization here called PINS - they are parent advocates. Do you have such an organization in your area? I know you mentioned SELPA, but I am not familiar with them.

Quote "arizsped":

I am interested in finding out more about PINS. I am an LD teacher in Arizona. (not for myself).

Quote "arizsped":

Do you have a website or something in case I need it?

Quote "arizsped":

Thanks.

Quote "arizsped":

Michelle AZ

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Anonymous
Joined Nov 28, 2014
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However, call for an IEP meeting on this issue to determine what kind of plan can be drawn up that will involve cooperation between home and school. In ADHD issues the home does exert more influence, so you must be prepared to consider some ideas such as I have suggested:

Regular at home inspections and clean-up sessions on backpack and binder.

e-mails to teachers, perhaps

In elementary school when the student is in one classroom there is a desk and I know about desks. Some teachers do better with desks than others. I did send my aide to look after about three or four disorganized students last year in elem. (I teach H.S. now). I allocated some time once per week. We were do up to our necks trying to teach reading and math skills (something parents want us to do and takes a major effort in the case of many students) that I did not have much time I could allocate. Sometimes I would visit a classroom to help a child with end of day pack-up, but there was one of my across "x" number of classrooms and I could only really visit one classroom with the few minutes I saved at the end of the day just before dismissal. My aide's work day ended 30-45 minutes prior to dismissal. So, I was really stretched.

Upper grade teachers often had over 30 students, they did check assignment books and sheets for some kids. They did do periodic desk cleanings, but again, there is little time the can take from basic skills instruction in this day and age of NCLB and other pressured. Our teachers didn't have prep time while kids were in specials, either in CA, so they taught all day, stood on recess duty, had about 35 minutes to eat. Really not much time for handling details for one or several highly disorganised students.

In JHS there is no desk, just a backpack. Come on, how hard is it for the parent to check it on a regular basis and sort papers with child. 5 minutes per day would get the job done, but 5 minutes when you contend with multiple students is relatively speaking much more time.

Work out an agreement. You take responsibility that you as a parent should do and most times they will also take some on their end.

Get some accomodations written into IEP, like accept late assignments for those assignments you find in the backpack that were never turned in. Or, weekly or more often e-mails home to parents stipulating the assignments. Then you can check the assignment book against the real thing.

It can be done as a team effort, just don't expect the teachers to do what you can and should do. Your child might have an IEP, but his teachers still have to contend daily with many students who have a variety of issues and teach academic skills pretty much all day.

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Anonymous
Joined Nov 28, 2014
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Posted:Feb 10, 2004 3:40:44 PM

My sister has been doing this for my non-LD but VERY disorganized nephew since 4th grade...she plans to continue until HS is over or until she doesn't need to -- which ever comes first, LOL!

His task: to bring it ALL home --nothing in locker or desk. Her task: to support him in keeping his assignments, study plans, and notebooks in an organized fashion. This does NOT make him helpless -- this models what he must do. He gets great marks, by the way -- but possibly wouldn't if left to his own devices. Org. skills take much practice in our family -- mother learned with me by leaving me to my own devices (great brain, no org skills equals lousy school record) and therefore taught my sister to do this herself, beginning in middle school. We ALL learned the lesson for our children's generation!

My son (dyslexic but no IEP) is grade 5 this year -- I often threaten to go in and clean his desk, which elicits a desk clean and bring-home on his part. We then sit together and put loose papers into the appropriate notebook, file completed work, etc. I have made it totally clear for next year that I have no problem going into the middle school to clean his locker -- if he is not willing to bring it all home. His choice -- bring home papers, or face peer embarrassment!

On contrast, a cousin's son who is brighter academically than both our boys did very well until 5th grade -- is now sinking in 7th since he has no home support as my nephew does. Same record as the child mentioned by the person who started this thread -- nothing comes home except bad reports, nothing gets handed in unless a teacher stands over him while he does it and then takes it. He's not LD but he's gifted -- however, he is heading for the same result I did -- loss of self-esteem and poor school performance since he does not have the skills or support he needs to succeed.

It's hard to do this, I agree -- but for some kids, it's the only way. And I agree with Anitya -- if it is to be done at HOME -- the parent is the only one who can support the child effectively!

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Anonymous
Joined Nov 28, 2014
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Posted:Feb 24, 2004 3:05:49 PM

Hi, I a mother of 12y/o dx with ADD recently. Would like to know more information regarding PIN in AZ if anyone knows, I would greatly appreciate it. I am trying to find as much information to help my dtr.

Thanks again

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Anonymous
Joined Nov 28, 2014
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I agree with Anitya that organization needs to be worked on at home too, but also Anitya you as a teacher have ownership in this too.

If your student is not focused or is not organized they are not learning the content you are trying to teach them. Your job is not to just stand up their and teach standards.

As a teacher (special education and regular education) and a parent of a child of special needs I am really sick of teachers who complain that providing accommodations or teaching/supporting skills that some kids are learning to APPLY and GENERALIZE into the regular ed setting is not their job, and or they do not have the time.

Also sick of hearing about parents who think their kids should be exempt from somethings, if you want your kid to make it in college and hs, they need to develop their independence and along with that the consequences along the way. An example is if you are forgetful, then write yourself a note or use a voice note. The key is compensatory (spelling??) skills.

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victoria
Joined Jun 13, 2003
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Parents sometimes seem to think that when a teacher says there's not enough time, the teacher is being lazy or irresponsible or prejudiced against their child. This is *not* the case.

I like the comment above that maybe a s a parent you wouldn't have time if you had fifteen children at home. Think about it.

Everything you do as a teacher has to be multiplied by twenty or thirty.
Parents often complain that they are only asking for a minute or two of time. But a minute or two for each child in the class adds up to forty or fifty minutes -- and poof, the whole class is gone, and all you have done is check homework assignments, you haven't actually taught anything that might make those homework assignments possible.


People talk about the "good old days". Well, I was around in those days, and I have older friends who were around even before my dark ages.
An awful lot of my older friends, like for example my next door neighbour, never went past Grade 3. Lots of my generation, like the guy two houses down whom I'm sure is ADD, never made it past Grade 10 or 11.
Sure, the schools were less complex and the assignments were less complex. And there was a lot of good in that.
On the other hand, one way things were less complex is that the teacher just said "read Chapter 5 and answer question 1 through 7, test on Tuesday", period. No muss, no fuss. Also no LD class, no assistive technology, no books on tape, no modified assignments, no marks for work beyond the test, no IEP's, no OT, no gym, no library, just to mention a few things. Either you read and wrote and passed the test or you didn't. And if you didn't you left school.
If you are going to ask for all the other stuff, you are going to have to take the complexities that go along with it.

I personally feel that the schools could do an awful lot better at teaching basic skills and helping immigrants and others who missed opportunities do better for their kids. But demanding that teachers take *more* time away from teaching skills to do non-academic things is highly counterproductive. Schools that are successful in teaching underserved populations are those where teaching time is protected against all inroads.

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Anonymous
Joined Nov 28, 2014
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Thanks, Victoria. Our jobs have been made very complex without the support to do the teaching, behavior management and the extra little things parents seem to think we should be able to find time to do for their children. Trying to remember small tasks here and there across the day, woven into lessons, schedules and other activities adds a level of stress that cannot be comprehended if you are not in the position of having to do these things. All the paperwork and nonteaching do detract from teaching, grading and planning good teaching.

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