Teachers

Posted on: Wed, 01/21/2004 - 4:11am
sport's picture
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Do most of you get along well with your child's teachers? Are they accomodating to your child's needs? We have never had a teacher that did not go beyond the call of duty so I guess we have been lucky in that respect. What are things that you and your child's teacher could have done differently to make things go more smoothly? Thanks for taking time to read this.

Posted on: Thu, 01/22/2004 - 8:28am
ajinnj's picture
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Joined: 05/13/2003 - 09:00

A kind of related thread:
[url="http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/Forum22/HTML/001233.html"]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/Forum22/HTML/001233.html[/url]

Posted on: Thu, 01/22/2004 - 4:55pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

sport, I do have positive stories to tell. For some reason, I really needed you to know that. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
I simply can't post them now given the hour and the fact that I got up to either get a drink of water or go to the bathroom, it was an hour ago now, but I have to get back to bed.
I do have positive teacher stories! Honestly. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
Best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
------------------

Posted on: Thu, 01/22/2004 - 11:24pm
Peg541's picture
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Joined: 12/29/2002 - 09:00

Our teachers were always concerned and did all they could to help keep DS safe in his younger years. The school was small and made it's own rules so it was easier than if it were public and crowded.
They had never heard of PA so we were the pioneers and they went along with us just fine.
The few glitches we met were corrected pretty quickly.
Peg

Posted on: Fri, 01/23/2004 - 7:35am
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Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

Our main elementary school (the one Ryan goes to) is very large. Our situation is unique in that my daughters preceded him so I can pick from two teachers that I definitely know for each grade. The principal and I discussed what type of classroom environment would be best for dealing with Ryan's PA and picked the teacher accordingly. Same with First Grade. Absolutely wonderful teachers, a joy to work with, and are easy to communicate with.
I really like having a teacher for Ryan that one of my daughters have had. This way I think they know if I have a question or comment, it's not perceived as a personal attack or something like that. In addition we meet prior to the school year and so many times during it that they get to know my personality real well and --IMO! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]--that I'm easy to work with!

Posted on: Fri, 08/18/2006 - 10:07am
Going Nuts's picture
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Joined: 10/04/2001 - 09:00

Quote:Originally posted by perpetually perplexed:
[b]
Some of the questions that came to mind are:
1) Is it fair/right to give the burden/responsibility of this allergy to the teacher in the magnitude we do? Some teachers get real nervous when an allergic child is in their class.[/b]
I have always tried to make it as easy for the teachers as possible. While I never asked for a PN ban, you can see how this would make things much easier for teachers. My son's K teacher was a total nervous wreck, and she made sure the room was PN free as much for her own peace of mind as my son's safety!
[b] Quote:2) Is it fair that we expect them to read all labels, make choices about our kids food etc..? What about the teachers dealing with the "other" parents? Are the teachers confident enough to make these decisions.[/b]
No, I don't think it is. I don't think it is reasonable to expect a teacher to be able to concentrate on reading ingredients with 20 or so kids competing for his/her attention. A box of safe treats along with a "no food unless it comes from home" policy lifts that burden from teachers.
[b] Quote:3) What about the time spent doing these things? The teacher was hired to teach all the children. [/b]
See above.
[b] Quote:4) What happens when a teacher messes up? Are there or should there be consequences?[/b]
If a 504 plan is violated or there is gross negligence involved, then yes. But plans should be in place to minimize that risk.
[b] Quote:5) Did a teacher ever consider these things when they chose to become a teacher? Would they choose it again knowing now that they are expected to take care of the kids like the parents do? [/b]
Good question. Teachers in our school have children with a variety of medical issues. I'm sure some deal with it better than others.
[b] Quote:6) What about teachers getting some sort of certified training in dealing with allergic kids?[/b]
Not sure how realistic that is. They also have kids with diabetes, seizures, growth disorders, metabolic issues... There's just so much we can ask.
[This message has been edited by Going Nuts (edited August 18, 2006).]

Posted on: Fri, 08/18/2006 - 11:00am
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Joined: 02/04/2006 - 09:00

Since I've been part of all the previous discussion, I'll chime in with my opinions here.
1 - I didn't really ask the teacher to take on the burden of my child. I think she took it when she took the job as teacher. In my job I must handle whatever "burden" my client has and therefore she must as a teacher. I feel that is part of the job. However, I didn't ask my current teacher to be responsible for feeding dd. She asked how she could do it and we decided that we'd work together on this.
2 - I don't know if it's "fair" to ask teachers to read all the labels. I do ask her to do so though. And I join in reading as well. Again, I think it is her job and mine to work with her. Not all teachers are confident to make these decisions. My dd's teacher last year was not. And I learned to not trust her. It depends on the person. But honestly, dh has bought stuff that isn't safe because he mistakenly read a label. It can happen to anyone.
3 - The teacher checks snacks before the students arrive. I don't think it takes time from teaching. But I wouldn't have a problem if there was a child who needed extra help using the potty, writing her name, or anything else that is involved in a classroom.
4 - If the teacher messes up, I don't know if there are consequences. And this may sound weird, but I don't think that there should be unless it is gross negligence. It is the teacher and parents shared responsibility and if I trust her, I have to let it go.
5 - My teacher had to consider these things as she decided whether or not to teach, I think. This is the reality of teaching these days, especially in elem school.
6 - My school requires all teachers be trained in allergy emergencies and how to use the epi. They watch the dvd and practice.
7 - Volunteers can tell me that I need to co-lead the group. I wouldn't have any problem with hearing that I need to participate if I want my child to. They are just volunteers and parents like me. I know I have the knowledge to take care of an allergic child, but I also know that a few years ago I didn't and wouldn't feel comfortable with that burden.
Interesting discussion. I'll be interested to see what others have to say. I'm sure we'll have opinions all across the board.
You posed the qs, but what are your as, pp?
Patty

Posted on: Fri, 08/18/2006 - 12:53pm
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Joined: 09/01/2006 - 09:00

this may sound oversimplified but i've been doing this (dealing with PA) for almost 10 years now and it's not that hard. if a (good) teacher can handle a room full of excited kids and all that entails, they are capable of handling reading the label on one group snack each day.
my child's new 2nd grade teacher has always allowed children in her classes to bring their own individual snack each day. this year, due to my 7 yr old dd, she decided only one snack will be served each day and she will read the ingredient list and look for any other type of warning on the label. kids are no longer allowed to bring in multiple snacks because she doesn't want the burden of trying to inspect them all (and neither would i).
after the teacher reads the label on the one snack that a student brings for the class, she will pass it to my 7 yr old for her inspection. (the teacher also has my cell phone number if there is any question).
chase's 1st grade teacher started this practice last year and i think it's wonderful. first, the teacher has the main responsibility of reading the ingredient list and looking for allergy warnings and then my daughter gets a chance to participate in safeguarding herself. plus, it's good reading experience too.
and, like someone above said, if enough controls are in place (like every parent/student knowing not to bring in peanut products) in advance, it's just that much easier to keep things safe.
in my 2nd grader's class there is a no peanuts rule and the teacher is even trying to attempt a no "may contain" rule (which i wish her luck with.....). peanuts should never be in the ingredient list of any snack brought into the room. if there is a "may contain" warning or "processed in..." warning on any snack, my daughter knows to avoid it and have something from her own safe snacks which are kept in the room.
i don't think it's too much to ask of teachers. they deal with so many different things every single day. i think it's part of the job. does that sound harsh??? i sub and i've worked in rooms with food allergies, environmental allergies, seizure disorders, disabilities, serious behavior issues, diabetes, other health issues, learning disorders, etc. every single child is different and you just adapt to whatever the needs are because it's necessary.
i guess my take on this stems from the fact that we've never yet had a teacher who wasn't enthusiastic about helping my girls. if we did have one that showed any sign of not wanting to deal with our needs or not taking the girls' safety seriously, we'd be out of there in a flash.

Posted on: Fri, 08/18/2006 - 12:53pm
Corvallis Mom's picture
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Joined: 05/22/2001 - 09:00

I think these are questions that we should all at least consider (even if we don't have the same answers-- and I expect we won't). It boils down to examining our understanding and beliefs about education and what "equal" means, as well as what crosses a line in our own minds into "entitlement" instead.
[i]1) Is it fair/right to give the burden/responsibility of this allergy to the teacher in the magnitude we do? Some teachers get real nervous when an allergic child is in their class.[/i]
No-- not always. This "unfair" burden includes an expectation that some parents have that simply telling the school your child has a PA will be enough. At some point, MFA will tip these scales as well... just as a single physical impairment is okay, up to a point, but a child requiring nursing care in a classroom might not be "fair" either to the teacher [i]or to other students whose instructional time is compromised.[/i] I also think that I probably need to give any teacher the chance to "opt out." I would rather they were honest about their comfort and ability to deal with the situation.
[i]2) Is it fair that we expect them to read all labels, make choices about our kids food etc..? What about the teachers dealing with the "other" parents? Are the teachers confident enough to make these decisions. [/i]
Abaolutely not. This is totally unfair, and it places a nearly impossible task in the teacher's lap. I don't know that there is a good answer-- other than not having food in the classroom at all. That is both [i]fair and do-able[/i] without imposing an unfair burden on the teacher. Teachers have prep periods, it is true-- but they are [i]already using them to do other things!![/i] If you have bans, then the teacher is the food police, and if you don't, then the teacher may be a nervous wreck and will probably still be policing everything.... Not good.
[i]3) What about the time spent doing these things? The teacher was hired to teach all the children. [/i]
Indeed. Teaching compassion is very important too, but it shouldn't cut into long division or phonics. The danger here is that we would perhaps like to think that this isn't "real" time [i]taken away from other kids[/i] but unless we (and the teacher) are careful, it can be. Would you resent time taken out of reading each morning to appropriately re-dress [i]one classmate[/i] each day in your child's class? I would. This (IMO, as a teacher's daughter) comes under the heading of sending children to school [i]ready to LEARN.[/i] The "extra" time that teachers have to spend when the kids aren't in the classroom is pretty booked already. That is prep time that can't be used for all the kids if it is being used on [i]mine alone.[/i]
[i]4) What happens when a teacher messes up? Are there or should there be consequences?[/i]
I agree with previous poster who noted that this is a great reason for a 504 plan. If you follow the plan, you get a pass. No matter how badly things go wrong. (Barring gross negligence, of course...) The reality is that watching a kindergartner roll away on a gurney is likely to drive some teachers out of the field entirely. And that is food for thought as well-- if you don't plan adequately, will you be robbing the system of a great teacher that has been too traumatized to continue working with kids?
[i]5) Did a teacher ever consider these things when they chose to become a teacher? Would they choose it again knowing now that they are expected to take care of the kids like the parents do?[/i]
Ummm, well, this certainly isn't exclusive to PA kids, or even kids with medical issues. A bigger problem, (according to my mom's massive network of professional contacts) is that kids don't come prepared for much anymore. They aren't showing up in the morning [i]ready to learn.[/i] And it isn't the minority of children that it once was. Disruptive behavior is a bigger problem, I think. But a number of older teachers that [i]I know[/i] have retired early. They don't like that all of the accountability seems to fall on classroom teachers... and none on parents and students, where it belongs. (I have to agree, too.) Meet kids needs-- absolutely. But don't make excuses for kids who don't have any particular special problem other than a basic lack of discipline at home. KWIM? Do that, and most teachers will be happy to take on the medical issues. (Though those are much more complicated than they were 30 yrs ago, as well.) Most teachers do it because it is part of who they are as people, so most would choose it again.
[i]6) What about teachers getting some sort of certified training in dealing with allergic kids? [/i]
It would be nice if common pediatric conditions (in general) were covered in safety training at the beginning of the school year-- so anaphylaxis, blood glucose emergencies, feeding tubes, you know. Right along with earthquake preparedness and CPR.
[i]7) What about all these volunteer adults that do special things for children? I am thinking about coaches, Sunday school teachers, Boy scout and Girl scout leaders, etc...[/i]
I think the key for me here is [i]volunteer[/i]. I don't EVER expect any of those people to be willing-- I ask [i]if[/i] they are comfortable having DD there if I stay to be responsible for her. I will probably do this until DD is old enough to reliably self-administer and call using a cell phone. (Around 10-11 yo, I think.)
Great topic!! I also think this is a grey area. Absolutely. My answers explain why I feel most severely MFA kids are better off homeschooled (this is my personal opinion, okay?). At some point, the burden becomes too much to realistically expect that anything beyond caring for my child can happen in that classroom. And as much as I want that to happen, it isn't fair to the other kids. (This makes a good case for individual aides in 504 plans or IEPs, by the way.)
But I also think that the answers probably change based upon how tight your comfort zone is and your child's individual rxn history.
[img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

Posted on: Fri, 08/18/2006 - 3:17pm
joeybeth's picture
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i agree with you that if a teacher doesn't want to be inconvenienced or burdened with my two pa children then it would be best to save us all the trouble and find a different teacher.
like i said, i haven't found a single one yet who didn't seem to want to participate in helping with our PA (and i ask each and every one of them prior to the school year starting. in fact, i ask the principal to check with them first so they can vocalize it to her rather than me, if necessary).
now, in the beginning, we had many more problems with teachers making errors regarding PA (but none that turned out to be hugely serious, thankfully) but we were all learning together at that time.
we live in a very, very tiny town and everyone from grades K-6th knows my girls already just because everyone knows everyone anyway. maybe that is part of what is working for us. we are able to personally get to know the people we depend on to care for our children.
i also work for the school system on a part time basis and volunteer in some capacity every week, in every building. that probably helps too. maybe it wouldn't be so "easy" for us if i wasn't as everpresent at school as i am.
still, i have to say i DON'T think it's a huge imposition on teachers to ask for their help with PA. i may ask a few impartial teachers to answer some of these questions for me. i'd be curious to hear their answers but i would be very, very surprised to hear that they are overly burdened or upset about having to accommodate kids with food allergies.

Posted on: Fri, 08/18/2006 - 11:00pm
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I personally find that my "answers" to these question are evolving right now. I haven't figured out if I am looking at this from a teacher's perspective or if my "answers" are changing because my PA sons are getting older and more responsible.
A case in point would be that my PA DS and another PA child transfered to other schools this year. I felt a huge collective sigh of relief coming from the old school. The could not give me back the Epi-pens fast enough. My -unknown if PA but suspect is-- younger son and another PA child are still at this school. Their teachers are well versed in PA because my older son had them.
At this time I feel as if I have forced these teachers/schools to take on this burden. I vividly remember a teacher's horrified facial expression at an "allergy class." She was terrified of needles and could barely inject the Epi into an orange. I have often wondered in the back of my mind if she would be able to do this for real. Even though most teachers/admin were more than willing learn and accept this responsibility, I still feel as if I forced this upon them. NO, I wouldn't have changed anything that was done.
I don't think there is any right or wrong answers to this discussion. We all learn when it is talked about.
PP

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