School Professionals Don’t Always Know More Than You: Advocate For Your Child

My daughter distorted words when she read. I knew this wasn’t normal but I let one teacher convince me otherwise, and as a result, it hurt my daughter’s education and well being. Don’t let this happen to you.

It was the beginning of 1st grade for my daughter, Mailey. Everything was great until one day, when I noticed she was skipping over words and letters while she read.

I didn’t waste time addressing this with Mailey’s teacher, who said  “Many kids do this at this age, besides Mailey is very articulate I wouldn’t worry.” I forced myself to feel conformed with her reply since she was the professional.

The weeks passed and Mailey was becoming more frustrated when we worked on homework. I began to ask Mailey, “Did you notice you skipped over that word?” and I would point to the word. “No” was always the reply. I was very concerned, and I needed to re-address this issue.

When I spoke to her teacher again, she said, “I haven’t noticed that problem in class, maybe she’s not comfortable working with you. Children sometimes need to work with someone other than a parent.”

I wasn’t satisfied with the teacher’s response, but it made sense that she might not want to work with me. So I got a tutor to help her with homework, but the reading problem continued. It did not go away as the teacher said it would, meanwhile the remainder of first grade went by. The last two weeks of school Mailey’s teacher told me she was concerned about Mailey because she was distorting words when she read. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing, I was furious. I felt let down and disappointed by that teacher and I regret not having requested a second opinion from someone else at the school. Now, here we were at the end of 1st grade and Mailey was a year behind.

A doctor determined that the reading issue was related to her vision, and Mailey began to wear corrective glasses. It was a simple problem that could have been addressed one year ago. Now the task was to bring her up to par academically. This was hard because Mailey’s confidence had suffered a lot. Kids would laugh at her when she read so she didn’t want to read anymore. She told me that she was stupid. This still chokes me up when I think about it. She hated school. Mailey had been neglected by one teacher, and it caused a horrible domino effect throughout elementary.

Then in middle school, Mailey began to excel in her classes and she was excited to go to school. Things were good for a while, but this didn’t last too long.

After middle school, things got bad. Mailey was depressed, I had never seen her like this. I took her to see a psychologist who determined Mailey had situational depression and helped us figure out that she learns differently. Mailey struggled with accepting this, she was tired of being different. I tried to make her feel better but I wasn’t getting through, so I looked for help. I found a teen life coach, Hayden Lee, who helped Mailey gain a new perspective on school. Gradually, by getting help for Mailey from different sources, she began to improve and she gained her confidence back. Things in high school got a lot better.

To this day, she continues with tutors to stay on top of her classes, and she still sees her psychologist, just to vent and clear her mind. And after struggling for so many years, she’s in a great place in her life. She’s receiving college acceptances and volunteering at an elementary school which will help her towards her goal of being a Kindergarten teacher and opening an art studio for children.

I’m sharing my story in hopes that you can avoid anything like this from happening to you. As parents and caregivers, you have rights and reason to go beyond a teacher who doesn’t give your concerns the importance and attention they deserve. You are never limited when it comes to advocating for your children.

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Monica Luna Gonzalez

Monica Luna Gonzalez

Monica Luna Gonzalez is a mom of two children. Her oldest is a high school senior and her youngest is not quite ready for school- he prefers the sandbox these days. She was a teen mom who graduated from Bell High School despite the challenges that came from being a teen mom. She wishes she would have been prepared for college right after high school which is why she wants to help other Latinas improve their children's chances for a better education. She is a non-traditional college student as she returned to college 18 years after graduating from high school.

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