I stopped in to Genea's classroom today and went with her to her desk. Here is my problem (let's just get to it shall we?). I found her desk has been moved and she is now parked at the side of the teachers desk, and she faces the teacher when she is sitting. The other kids all sit at desks that are arranged in clusters of 4-6. It is not a large room, so Genea's desk is very close to a "cluster" but there is no denying that she is separated from the other students.
Why has she been separated from the other kids? The teacher gave me several reasons. First of all, Genea likes it there. She has an open invitation to return to a cluster at any time, but prefers to sit with the teacher. It improves her ability to focus and pay attention to her work and if she has questions, obviously the teacher is right there to answer.
So, what is my problem? Here are my logical, intellectual problems. I don't believe Genea needs that level of attention to be successful. I am concerned that once the door to that sort of one to one special treatment is opened, we will never be able to shut it. I think that isolating her from other students is the wrong thing to do. She does prefer isolation, she has had a lot of it in particular as part of the neglect she experienced with the first family that adopted her. I also do not believe we should be asking the emotionally disturbed 7 year old what she wants and accommodating it.
I understand the teacher has a distinct job to do and that is to teach my child to achieve the norms for second grade children in this country, and if specialized seating is helping her to learn than that's how it should be. I see my job as more global and I have to be concerned with her social development as well, which quite frankly is poor. She will be able to observe other children interacting from that spot but not practice participating.
What kind of parent objects to their child getting extra educational help? A boost directly from the teacher? (And really, if she were on an IEP, proximal seating would probably be checked off as a needed accommodation).
Me, I object because they did that to me.
For two years in elementary school I was isolated from the other students in my classes for 3rd and 4th
grade. My desk was in the back of the room and sort of barricaded by portable walls and shelving. One hundred years ago when I was in school, kids were not diagnosed with ADHD and for sure not girls. I don't have fond memories of the time period but I don't have bad memories either. Looking back however, I am horrified that it was allowed. You can believe that the deficit in my attention was massive (though I had not a molecule of hyperactivity ), and continues in much more muted ways today. But I swore no kid of mine would ever be put in that sort of situation.
Then there are my vague feelings that this is not the right thing to do for Genea. Setting her up to attach, maybe developing a bond with a teacher she will leave at the end of the year, I can't pinpoint why really. Is this something minor that I am amplifying?
I don't know. Shouldn't I be happy that there is one more person looking out for my daughter? Someone else who adores her and gives her special attention? Would I be as bothered by this if it were Teena?
The Husband does not like it either, his reasoning is that the separation is stigmatizing which I absolutely agree with. Genea does not need another stamp on her flashing *different*.
So please, what do you all think? Am I missing something? I know my perspective is skewed off into all kinds of wonky directions because of my emotional reaction. I believe I may have actually turned purple while speaking to the teacher and I could feel my blood pressure going up! I've been shaky even writing this post.
Thoughts? Perspectives? Help?