Friday, September 4, 2009

Time for a back-to-school emotional breakdown

It's been an emotional seesaw of a back-to-school week. First there was the nightmare of the backing paper; then I started to get a little excited about my room. Then I saw other teachers' rooms and worried that mine wasn't finished enough; then other teachers told me they thought my room looked great, so I felt better.

I was back at school again this morning, and my day was packed with errands. I was looking forward to relaxing and enjoying this last weekend before school. Which is why you should never, ever check your DOE e-mail when you're looking forward to relaxing and enjoying a weekend.

I got a memo about interclassing ESL students due to the results of the NYSESLAT. This happens every year at the beginning of the school year; ESL students get switched around depending on whether the NYSESLAT deems them "beginning, intermediate or advanced" ELLs. I have a holdover on my roster whom I had been expecting to be interclassed to an ESL class (I don't have any other ELLs), and he was.

OK, fine. But then further down on the list, I see I'm getting a new student. But not just any new student. My new student happens to be William.

Now, I had William in my AIS reading group last year. That's because William was in second grade last year. What's worse, William was in second grade the year before that. The 2009-2010 school year will be William's third year in a row in second grade. Put another way, William has been in second grade as long as I have been a teacher.

I don't think William belongs in second grade for the third year in a row, and I don't think he'll get anything out of it. At this point, I don't think William belongs in general education at all. Even though he's never been "diagnosed" with a learning disability of any kind, he's so emotionally broken down by being held over so many times that he's completely uninterested in anything I have to teach him. And then there's the other issues -- William is a big kid, and I just can't picture him next to my other students who were in kindergarten when he was in second grade for the first time. I already have boys on my roster to watch out for, and putting William -- who has a lot of anger and who last year hit, kicked and choked other kids -- just seems like a terrible idea.

Worst of all, he's being moved into my class from a CTT class. As in, a class with two teachers and a para that serves special education students? Most ridiculous of all, he's not even ESL, and neither is the CTT class, so I have no idea why they would do this to us.


Ms. Peace said...

I can't believe your school would hold over a child for 3 years at that age. That is really inappropriate. If anything, he should be evaluated and promoted with an IEP, perhaps to a 3rd grade CTT class if not a self-contained depending on his needs. That is so damaging to a child. I'm sorry you have to deal with that.

Ms. Peace said...

I thought of something else. I remember my principal saying that we couldn't hold over ELLs, that it was illegal. Maybe you should look into that.

12 more years said...

I thought that in a NYC public school, a student was allowed one holdover in elementary school and one in middle school. The situation you're describing is absurd.

miss brave said...

peace -- the student in question is not actually an ELL. I just thought it was weird that he was listed on the ESL interclassing sheet when he's not an ELL. But, we definitely have plenty of ESL holdovers. I think we can't hold over ELLs in their first three years in the country (or it's maybe their first three years in the school?), but we do have ELL holdovers.

12 more years -- what's really sad is that William is not the only multiple holdover I know. We have tons at our school. I agree, it's ridiculous.

I think William was in the process of being referred at the end of last year. I sincerely hope he was.