I yelled at Miss Kat's teacher today...
We have been working very hard at home, on reading and on language in general. We have been doing Miss Kat's sight words every night, plus her homework, plus we read twenty minutes every night and we are working on phonics through Miss Kat reading a series of books called "Reading For All Learners". Miss Kat reads 3 of those every night as well (they are only 20-30 words long.) Plus, we have speech therapy two nights a week. So, Miss Kat is working her behind off every single day. And it shows!!! In the last 9 months, she has gained 2 full years worth of language!
But, since school has started, Miss Kat's teacher has been calling me, at least once a week, telling me all the things Miss Kat can't do. She sends extra work home. She tells me that Miss Kat doesn't know her letter sounds (she does for us at home!) She says that Miss Kat doesn't understand anything that she doesn't sign (well, duh, this is totally new to her!) She says that Miss Kat doesn't even put two words together (Come on! That isn't even close to true!) So, I feel like she is very negative about Miss Kat and her progress.
On top of all that, I have this HUGE weight on my shoulders all the time about Miss Kat learning to read. I think that learning to read is the single most important thing Miss Kat will ever learn. Deaf children have huge obstacles to overcome in literacy, and the outlook (statistically) is still very grim. Plus, if push comes to shove, it could be possible that reading and writing could be the only way Miss Kat can communicate with hearing people in everyday life.
So, I've been getting these negative reports, what feels like everyday, plus the burden of teaching Miss Kat to read is always weighing me down, and today, I snapped.
The teacher had called me, during dinner, to tell me all the things Miss Kat can't do, AGAIN. She told me that she was worried that Miss Kat wasn't able to give an answer when she asks the class "Can anyone tell me a word that starts with 'T'?" and that she can't "blend sounds" and I was just so sick of it. I told her that I felt like she didn't understand how hard Miss Kat is working. I told her that we work on everything, every single day. I told her that we spend hours, doing work, every night, and that I don't think she gets it. I told her that I felt like she was just waiting for Miss Kat to fail, so that she could send her back to the Bi-Bi school. I told her that I thought she didn't like Miss Kat, and that she wanted rid of her.
Miss Kat has been working so hard! She has gained so much and I felt like they were only looking at the negative. She (and we) is working all the time, and all we ever hear is what she can't do, what she doesn't understand, and how far behind she is. I was just sick of it.
Miss Kat's teacher was dumbfounded. She said she was very sorry that she had been so negative and that she was just trying to keep me informed. She told me that she thought I was the kind of parent who wanted to know exactly what was going on, and how to help Miss Kat reach her full potential. She said that she was really hurt that I believed she wanted Miss Kat to fail.
Ok, I did overreact, but this whole thing has been really hard. Learning to read is such a big deal! I think that I have been really stressed with all the changes, and the new school. I just lost it for a moment.
When we implanted Miss Kat, we had no idea that our path would change so drastically. We were an ASL family, active in the Deaf community, and happy at our wonderful bi-bi school. All we expected was to regain the hearing that Miss Kat lost with her last hearing drop. We NEVER expected her to take off with spoken language, and for her to really become passionate about listening and speaking.
It is really hard for me to see Miss Kat behind (and in her oral environment she is behind). I know that I really don't believe the things I said to her teacher, I was just overly emotional in that moment. Miss Kat isn't frustrated, she loves going to school, she loves her teacher and her new friends. She is learning so much. She is still in the right place.
P.S. So, I don't get nasty comments:
The "work" I am talking about is still fun, age appropriate stuff. We read books, play games, color, and do activites. But just because it is fun, and we are, for example, at the zoo, it is still exhausting to have to explain, and talk, talk, talk, about every single thing. It isn't drills, or anything like that, that we are doing. Just, after a year, we are getting tired.