Saturday, August 4, 2012

My Version of a Letter to the Teacher

There have been a lot of post lately about letter to teachers now that school will be starting soon.  (9 more days, I think I can, I think I can, I hope I can make it!!)  I created a small booklet called, Surviving the Thriving in the Experience... Teaching James and Loving it... A Practical Guide.  In it, there is a snapshot of James and then some words of wisdom from the previous years teacher to the new teacher.  Here is the snapshot...

Snapshot of James…
James thrives on structure and schedules.  He likes to know when things are happening and if there is a change in the schedule, he likes to be warned so he can process the information before it happens.
He is very intelligent but doesn’t like the actual learning and doing aspect of school or homework at home.  He likes games that are played even if it means that he is learning while he is playing.  His favorite thing to do at school is to use the “clickers” as it replicates his video games at home. 

James is very social.  He thrives on connecting with those who are important to him in the classroom.   If he doesn’t feel like he has had enough talking time he will often disrupt the learning of others to get what he needs.  IT is all about him!!

He is very black and white as a thinker.  He needs reminders that there are other answers that could be correct and he requires visual verification to make it a reality for him.  This is one of the most difficult things for him because it really limits his ability to be a creative thinker. 

He tends to follow the “fight or flight” way of dealing with things he doesn’t want to do.  Usually he will attempt to leave the environment of refuse to do the activity.  He will generally come back and finish the activity after a break but not always. 

James is generally distracted by activity in the classroom and may not finish work in the time allowed.  He gets caught up in conversations that are not relevant to him or what others are doing even if they are across the room.  If he is in the middle of doing something, he may not be able to get back to it and finish or he may forget what he was asked to do.  He is very visual so some kind of visual reminder is often very helpful.

James LOVES to argue.  He can get very loud and passionate about his position.  He loves the challenge of seeing if he can frustrate the other person and he will just win.  Standing your ground, taking yourself out of the equation and keeping calm is the best way to temper the temper. If the schedule says it is time to write, point to the schedule.  He may stomp his foot or bang the table before he complies, (it is much better than what he used to do... throwing chairs across the room!)

James is all about choices!  Sometimes just giving him a choice between two pages can solve the problem of him not wanting to do whatever he's being asked to do. Sometimes when he's being more difficult, it may be a choice between doing the work in class, during recess, and taking it home to complete with his homework. This final option would be his least favorite because of all the fun things that he has at home to do after homework is finished.

I love James, he is my son, but the little man is LAZY!  If he can get someone else to do things for him, he will.  Naturally, I think we all have this tendency but James can take it to the extreme! 

James says almost everything he is thinking.  He doesn’t think before he talks and so may say something that is hurtful or inappropriate without meaning to vocalize it.  He can be reminded to not say “red words”.  “Red words” are words that hurt others or James.  He can also be reminded to use nice words.  If reminders are given, he is fully capable of not getting in verbal trouble with friends or teachers.   He can also get fixated on words and repeat them over and over again.   If he is allowed to continue it may never end but if he is told that he can say the word 1 more time, and follow through happens, he will stop.

Finally, just when you think you have figured James out, he changes things up.  The challenge is to treat him like any other kid in your class and enjoy the ride.


  1. Thank you for posting this! This is wonderful! Sharing a link to this post on my site on my new post "Introducing TY to his new teachers!" :)

  2. Thank you so much! I spend a lot of my time making sure people who work with James get to know the real kid. Would love to read yours.