I have tidied up the language a lot! I needed to get todays crap off my chest - so here goes:
I am on the open day treadmill as I type having visited an infants school earlier in the month and a local catholic school today with three other open days still on the to do list.
The whole process is disheartening and incredibly daunting. In spite of having been a high school teacher for nearly 20 years I found myself in tears raging, wondering what is the point of education?
Both schools I have been to have been are perfectly adequate and have good reputations locally. What I don’t understand is why educators aren’t beating down my front door. Here is a professional institution with a passion for learning – so why is it that they aren’t amazed and interested in my daughter’s progress?
I want a place where my daughter is welcome. Why do I have to negotiate with a school to accept my daughter and then try and stuff her into their square hole – my beautiful, fun loving, hard working little girl deserves so much more than that.
I get the theory that my daughter belongs in a regular classroom. I believe it too. Due to funding limitations that mere fact indicates the dilemma I have – my daughter’s not ‘disabled’ enough (Down Syndrome isn’t a significant disability? On what planet does that idea come from?). The state expects her to be in a regular classroom and so do I but without adequate support and expertise we are setting her up for failure. I discussed this reality with today’s Principal – and oh yes she understands that point very well too but the mother in me cries out to teachers and principals like her - why oh why couldn’t you say – “yes I know but we are really keen here at adapting to meet your daughter’s needs. We will go out of our way to help her adjust and meet her potential.” Instead at both schools they have been quick in linking me to various bureaucratic requirements such as IQ assessments that may get her some funding for support.
Why is it always about how she will fit in instead of how they are going to do their jobs and draw out at least some of what she is capable of? It’s not that hard – I’ve been doing it ever since she was a baby – and she is remarkable. She also has significant speech delay, takes longer to respond to questions while she processes what she is hearing and then forms an answer and is far better at visual cues that just spoken ones.
Today I am tired and I am upset. Neither school have done anything ‘wrong’ but they have been acting to their formula and I feel like I have to ‘prove’ my daughter worthy rather than they convince me that they can meet her needs – that they have that standard of excellence. All the gifted and talented programs and the Smart boards in Sydney wouldn’t be able to compete with that. Now that would be a school that educates.