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When We Encountered a Teacher Who Didn't Want to Teach Our Child

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As a special needs parent, you tend to research a lot. I’ll let you in on a secret: I love to read and I adore researching. I love to learn and expand my knowledge. Over the last few years, I have read thousands of articles all devoted to the subject of inclusion. Many of them have been absolute tear-jerking articles, full of love and happiness. Some of them absolute horror stories where children with additional needs have been victimized, cruelly treated and scapegoated.

For the last few years we’ve chosen our educational establishments well for our daughter, Evie (pats self on back). We have never truly encountered anyone in the system who just doesn’t “get it.” We’ve had brushes with haphazard professionals who forget things or don’t know what they’re doing. They’ve irritated and annoyed, but ultimately issues were resolved or managed.

Then over the last few weeks, we have encountered someone who clearly has no clue what inclusion actually means.

Perhaps I am naive, but I have always assumed that teachers teach because they love education; they love to see their students learn, regardless of ability.

I thought it would be accepted that some children are academic, others not. Some fantastic at math, others English. Some awesome at practical things, but not everyone. Some learn through fun.

I didn’t realize there were teachers out there who just don’t understand this. That they expect there to be one way to learn and that’s it.

You see, I thought the barriers were broken down. I thought that people would understand that it doesn’t matter what Evie achieves, as long as she tries her best and has fun in doing so. I thought the principle of inclusion is so fundamental to the very bones of our society, that the job was done.

I clearly was wrong.

When someone so obviously does not want to teach your child, it hurts.

When someone purposely puts the most ridiculous of barriers in your path to try to prevent inclusion, it becomes infuriating.

When you’re criticized by them for telephoning them to talk about Evie as a potential student, yet their letter invited you to do just that.

When that person tries to blame you for their not wanting to teach your child, that’s wrong and enough to make me scream.

Once again I am left thinking, “Is it me? What did I do? How could I have handled it differently?”

I tried to explain Evie’s little nuances. The way that she learns. What her strengths are. Why she struggles. How to help her. Why it doesn’t really matter if she achieves or not, as long as she has a chance.

And then as clear as day, I see it.

I say –

“What are you scared of?”

The denial.

I say –

“I don’t think you’re the right person to teach Evie. We’d better leave it here.”

Yet they don’t let it go. They don’t see they are the ones who are wrong.

Why is it so hard for people like this to understand?

Our children are our most precious things. We should only have the very best teaching them. Those who are genuinely interested in them. I do not want anyone near my children who doesn’t understand this. Regardless of the individual needs of my children, I want them to be taught by those who care more about them as a whole person than as an academic problem.

Inclusion matters.

It matters to the child.

It matters to their contemporaries.

It matters to the child’s whole family. It matters to the whole basis of our society.

Shame on you, should you ever read this. Shame on you.

(Please note this is not directly related to Evie’s schools who have always been fabulously inclusive.)

Follow this journey on It’s All About Evie.

Originally published: October 16, 2015
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