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The Day Has Arrived: Helicopters in College

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Angelo Angelo is offline
 
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The Day Has Arrived: Helicopters in College
Old 04-23-2019, 02:44 PM
 
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We've been joking about it for years, but it's now happening. My friend who's a college professor is having to respond to a complaint that he was rude to the mother of one of his students. She approached him at the start of the Intersession term, introduced herself, and explained that she was there on behalf of her son who is taking Intro to Statistics. The professor thanked her for stopping by but suggested in future that he deal only with her son and only during office hours.

Mom: The thing you may not realize is that my son has an IEP.
Prof: As in an Individual Education Plan?
Mom: Yes, exactly. He has executive functioning and processing issues.
Prof: That's fine for high school, but we operate differently in college. Your son should reach out the accessibility services. They can help with accommodations if warranted.
Mom: That's my next stop. But I wanted to introduce myself to all his professors. You'll probably be hearing from me a lot this term. *chuckle chuckle*
Prof: No offense, but this is college. I don't deal with parents. I deal with students. They are adults.
Mom: Yes, but he has listed me as his contact.
Prof: That's for emergencies only.
Mom: Well, I've been advocating for my son for a lot of years, and I have drawers full of research that says boys' brains don't magically form by the age of 18. In many cases, the frontal cortex continues to grow and develop into the mid-twenties-
Prof: *opening his mouth to say something*
Mom: *preventing him with a hand gesture and rushing on* but the real reason I'm here is just to ensure my son gets all the support he needs. He needs one statistics course, but math has always been an area of challenge.
Prof: You don't need to be a math major to take Intro to Stats.
Mom: Be that as it may... he will need extra help. I'd like to set up a weekly meeting between you and him just to review concepts and make sure he's on track.
Prof: Office hours are Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2 to 4. Tell your son.
Mom: I wish he were the kind of kid who takes that kind of initiative... but as I say... executive functioning... *chuckle, chuckle*
Prof: I don't know what to tell you. Office hours.
Mom: Yes, but your syllabus says "other times by appointment."
Prof: In exigent circumstances, I will sometimes meet students-
Mom: So can you let me know a good time to meet with you? It's better if other students aren't trickling in and out. This is his class schedule.
Prof: I'm not setting up a standing private tutorial with your son. That's not the point of office hours. And there are over 100 students registered in Stats I.
Mom: But I'm just worried he won't come during office hours. And if he does, he won't know what questions to ask. What I need is for you to flip through his notes and see if he's on track with the work. Maybe work through a few practice questions.
Prof: Sounds like he needs a tutor. Post a request on the student board. There are lots of senior students who will help for a few extra dollars.
Mom: Can you reach out to my son so you can meet face to face? He might feel more comfortable coming to office hours if you break the ice with him. He's really a wonderful guy once you get to know him. You just need to break through his shell a bit.
Prof: Not my style. Not really the way college works. If he wants to come to office hours, he's more than welcome, but it's up to him.
Mom: Do you realize you're coming across as very arrogant and dismissive right now? I'm feeling very unwelcome.
Prof: Your son is going to have a very difficult time adjusting to college with you trying to act on his behalf. That's not how college works.
Mom: My son has an IEP.
Prof: That's nice.
Mom: Did you seriously just say, "That's nice?" What's wrong with you?
Prof: Cut the apron strings. Honestly.
Mom: You absolutely cannot talk to me that way. I will be filing a complaint with the Dean!
Prof: Good luck with that.

She DID file a complaint. The Dean made my friend come in and explain what he had done to upset the mother. They laughed about it in the end, but why are they even entertaining such a complaint? No prof should be even speaking to the parent of a student, let alone be called on the carpet for not being nice enough.

We are Dr. Frankenstein, folks. We in the school system. This is our monster.


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Mother
Old 04-23-2019, 03:01 PM
 
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Oh, My!!!
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Scary!
Old 04-23-2019, 03:13 PM
 
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I have that mother this year, too, except itís 6th grade. Last year it was the parent of one of my 7th graders. I have several of those types every year. Some of th students have 504s or IEPs, but some donít. I had hoped at some point they would change, but I guess not! Crazy!
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Frankenstein
Old 04-23-2019, 04:09 PM
 
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I don't think we in the school system are Frankenstein. I think it is a societal problem. The monsters of entitlement and infinite excuses have also been fed by No Child Left Behind and the push to accommodate everyone's peculiar "needs." Every little problem is the teacher's fault, and it's up to the teacher to remedy every concern. Or else.... It's beyond ridiculous!
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Absolutely crazy
Old 04-23-2019, 04:32 PM
 
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We have to stop allowing this. There's a student in our school right now who doesn't even have an official diagnosis. His 504 has some of the most ludicrous accommodations. Won't get into specifics, but I (in 28 yrs) have NEVER seen this particular accommodation. It's completely out of control.


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Old 04-23-2019, 05:08 PM
 
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That is f....... ridiculous crazy! He/she should have called the campus police on her. The embarrassment her child must be going through is probably of epic proportions.
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Old 04-23-2019, 05:38 PM
 
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Chances are many teachers have tried to make this child independent and then...the momster complained to admin and she got her way...over...and over... ad nauseum

Much like the witches of OZ we are told ďyou have no power here so be gone with you. Before someone drops a house on youĒ.

I really hope this mom finally hits a brick wall and cannot pass go or collect 200 dollars. This has to end
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Old 04-23-2019, 06:52 PM
 
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I have a couple of college professors in my family. It's astounding how many parents try to "help" their students. I was talking to my friend the other day that owns a business and she's actually had parents call about their child's work application - one even admitted to sending it in for her daughter!
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Old 04-23-2019, 07:26 PM
 
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Most college professors basically refuse to meet with parents. The students are 18 and privacy regulations prevent them from discussing the students with others, including parents. The referral to accessibility services was 100% correct.
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Guilt
Old 04-24-2019, 05:57 AM
 
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Yes, I agree itís a societal problem. At the same time, I think many of us in the school system (myself included) are guilty of ďplaying alongĒ with demanding, entitled parents in the interests of keeping the peace. Admins are worse than classroom teachers, but I know Iíve backed down on things just to get a parent off the phone or to end an email thread. Iíve tried to hold the line on the important stuff (fair grading, deadlines, etc.), but I catch myself ďplaying alongĒ with silly parent narratives or occasionally agreeing to do something for a student he is capable of doing for himself just because itís faster just to do it than it would be to fight the parent on why itís not my job to do it or why the student should be more accountable.

Parent: Can my son have an extension on his English essay?
Me: Iím not his English teacher. He should ask her.
Parent: Youíre his counselor. Iím asking you.
Me: I donít arrange extensions on individual assignments, and I canít make a commitment on behalf of a teacher.
Parent: Why not?
Me: I have to respect my colleaguesí professional discretion, and I donít know all the background.
Parent: Iíll tell you the background. My son has a lot of anxiety about this assignment and needs more time to do his best work on this one.
Me: Thatís a case he should make to the teacher.
Parent: Iím making the case to you. Youíre his counselor.
Me: And I can COUNSEL your son, but I canít arrange extensions for him.
Parent: why not?
Me: Because thatís up to the classroom teacher.
Parent: Sheís already said no, because, supposedly, my son has used up all his credit with her by requesting too many extensions.
Me: Then I really donít-
Parent: Which makes me wonder if all these so-called ďcaringĒ teachers at your school really understand about anxiety.
Me: I think the teachers have been quite patient with your son, actually. I think they get fed up with the constant task avoidance. He needs to learn skills to manage stress and time. Is he still seeing his therapist.
Parent: No, it was a bad fit and he doesnít really need therapy.
Me: But if heís experiencing this crippling anxiety-
Parent: Heís experiencing anxiety because the teachers are being inflexible and uncaring.
Me: No, I donít think thatís a fair-
Parent: I donít want to argue about it. Bottom line... he needs more time on this English essay.
Me: Well, the teacher has-
Parent: Heís afraid to approach the teacher. But if YOU support this request-

*the sound of my brain shutting down because I just donít have the energy to keep this up today*

Me: Let me speak to the teacher.
Parent: Thank you.

The trouble is that itís often the case that the craziest person in the room runs the room, and all it takes is a few people to find them so exhausting that they end up getting what they want at least 50% of the time. Weíve opened pandoraís box by trying to play nice with aggressive, entitled people. I suspect weíve done grievous damage to an entire generationís ability to function as adults, but weíre just starting to see the results.


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So, the lesson is parents have blinders on...
Old 04-24-2019, 06:28 AM
 
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"Which makes me wonder if all these so-called ďcaringĒ teachers at your school really understand about anxiety. "

Made me laugh out loud. As if teachers who have to deal with parents like this every single day don't have anxiety themselves.

Dear parents,
Yes teachers understand from experience what anxiety is like. So thanks for the ongoing lessons.
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Old 04-24-2019, 07:46 AM
 
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Forgive me for asking, but how did a student with an IEP get into college? And I dont mean that to imply that an IEP student wouldn't be capable but instead that the very nature of an IEP wouod prevent that. Where I teach, an IEP modifies curriculum outcomes to meet the needs of students, and so they dont follow the curriculum outcomes for their grade level and as such, dont technically graduate (they do, but they dont receive a high school diploma since they did not meet the requirements to get one), and as far as I know, college requires a high school diploma or equivalent. I mean I guess they could get a GED?
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Old 04-24-2019, 08:17 AM
 
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Students can get an IEP for a variety of disabilities and several of them do not include intellectual disabilities at all.

Students with IEPS can get modifications OR accommodations and that is not the same thing. Plenty of IEP students take general education courses and GRADUATE every year, even at your school.

As stated in the narrative above, students cannot carry the IEP or 504 into college but the Accessibilities Services Office can ensure that proper accessibilities are in place to conform to the American with Disabilities Act (ADA.)
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Old 04-24-2019, 08:26 AM
 
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Very interesting! Its different where I live so I was curious about how that could work.
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Old 04-24-2019, 10:50 AM
 
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I have a learning disability and had an IEP through high school. I got extra time on tests and distraction reduced environment to take tests. Nothing in the curriculum was changed. I took Honors /AP classes and graduated high school with Honors. I got test taking accommodations in college and still graduated cum laude. I now have a master's degree and teach elementary school full-time. Having an IEP does not necessarily mean that you are not smart. People with learning disabilities are typically very intelligent. Thomas Edison had a learning disability! I also have a friend who had an IEP for hearing impairment. She is now an attorney. I have kiddos in my class who have IEPs for emotional issues/mental illness. They are some of my brightest kiddos but still qualify IEPs. An IEP has nothing to do with if an individual can be accepted to college. The laws governing IEPs are the same all over the US so if you are in the US, it is the same at your school.
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Old 04-24-2019, 01:43 PM
 
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OK. Angelo. Don't let it get to your head. But, I am been trying to say this for quite a while. Thank you so much. We teachers are not a united front. We don't convey the same respect we did back then and it is our own fault.

This is a stupid example I know. But the idea and the principle is still there in this:
Every time, we continue to provide pencils for children for whatever reason and we complain that it is not appreciated it. We only have ourselves to blame. We continue to provide and we have done it for so long that now is an expectation. If you don't, you are a mean teacher and in some cases it may even count against your evaluation.

I blame the teachers with the martyrdom syndrome. The ones with the infinite need to hear accolades and brag they have changed someone's life.

Also, Angelo: Why are teachers expected to wear so many hats? We have to be not only teachers, but also nurses, psychologists, and practice without a degree. This is ridiculous. My expertise is in teaching, not giving first aid, allergy shots. We are expected to do this for our IEP students and others and we don't have the expertise/don't get pay for it, in some cases we don't even get basic training. But, just screw it up and you are hold accountable worst than a doctor.

FFS! Can I just teach and let the school hire the number of nurses, doctors and psychologist they actually need. Why is this burden place on us? Because we let it.
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I agree.
Old 04-24-2019, 02:00 PM
 
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I worry about this more than I should. I, too, believe that especially in public school, we contribute to this growing problem among our students who eventually go out into society and expect it to play by the same rules.

I donít know if this is true for all states, but I know for mine, that graduation rates count for our school grade. So we try to do everything we can to make sure students graduate even when they havenít earned it. So we are sending them out into the real world when they arenít ready. Parents donít help either because they further the sense of entitlement.

Iíve talked to two teachers recently who have multiple students failing because they wonít do and/or turn in their work. But of course, that would not be a justifiable reason for them to fail, because it has to be some fault of the teacher, right?

I try so hard to make hold my students accountable and I try to prepare as best I can for what the real world will be. But I still feel like I fail and that nothing I do matters. Itís just like when I announce every day for two weeks when the test is and come the day of the test, it never fails that I have many students that go ďwhat? The test is today?!
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Old 04-24-2019, 02:55 PM
 
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One of the grad students my dh is familiar with still has accommodations for extra time and separate area for test taking. Does this then carry over into her intern placement and eventual job? When does the transition from getting special accommodations into the real world come? What are those expectations for people who have had them their whole lives?
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Old 04-24-2019, 03:12 PM
 
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Kaluah. I couldn't said it better myself. Thanks.
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Old 04-24-2019, 03:45 PM
 
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bonita47, that's wonderful that you had such a successful school career. Like I said, where I am an IEP means a modified curriculum and as such, students who are on an IEP do not work towards curriculum outcomes and thus do not graduate with a high school diploma, which was why I was initially confused by Angelo's story.
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Not to further threadjack but...
Old 04-24-2019, 05:45 PM
 
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Angelo, what you shared is not new news to me. I find it ridiculous but not surprising. Some parents fail to use the IEP as a way "to level the playing field" as intended and see it more as a Golden Ticket to get whatever they want.

To answer more on the side inquiries, some states have the certificate of completion for SpEd students, some have leveled diplomas and some offer even the profoundly disabled a "regular" diploma if they meet their IEP goals and objectives.

Quote:
For example, an IEP team may allow a student to take Intermediate Math instead of Algebra I to meet the Algebra I course requirement for graduating with a regular diploma. Without monitoring course-taking patterns for students with disabilities, states likely do not know how different the course requirements set by the IEP team are from the requirements set by the state for students without disabilities. Therefore, students with disabilities may complete less rigorous course requirements and have lower expectations set for them while still earning a regular diploma.
For some interesting reading on it,

https://www.ecs.org/wp-content/uploa...n-Programs.pdf

https://www.achieve.org/files/Achieve_NCEO_111616.pdf
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Old 04-25-2019, 06:07 AM
 
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Kahluablast, In an internship and real job you are not taking timed tests so she will be fine. I was entitled to extra time for tests and separate testing space through graduate school and I have a successful career. I can take as much time as I need to lesson plan, write report cards etc. and I can do it in the quiet of my own home. A lot of things in school do not replicate real life. The grad student you know will find a career that fits with her strengths be fine.
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Old 04-27-2019, 10:59 AM
 
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Quote:
We are Dr. Frankenstein, folks. We in the school system. This is our monster.
I couldn't agree more. I know somebody who teaches as a couple of different community colleges and he's been dealing with helicopter parents for quite some time now. I don't know if it's this way everywhere but in the state where he works it's actually not even legal to communicate with parents about their adult student's academic issues.

Society may have driven some of these issues but schools have enabled it and I'm speaking from the perspective of 30 years as a teacher. Employers now know that if they want millennials to work hard, they have to provide food. Why? Because teachers have been providing food rewards for good behavior and achievement for at least 20 years now. When I was in school, treats were for special occasion parties. Period, end-of-sentence.

I saw a news story a couple of months ago about a local college providing reward tokens to students who didn't cross a busy street against the traffic lights. The tokens could be exchanged for prizes. Just like the bazillion behavior incentive programs I've seen in schools through the years. When I was in kindergarten I knew that my reward for not crossing the street against the traffic light was living to see 6. That was back in the dark ages when 5-year-olds walked to school instead of being dropped off at the door every day.

I look at how we teach today and wonder what the end result will be. For instance, when I look at all these online educational sites where kids do some work and then they get virtual prizes or games, I wonder if there will come a time when online income tax programs will have to provide a virtual reward or game at the end of each section in order for people to be willing to file their taxes.
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Agree
Old 04-27-2019, 12:00 PM
 
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But essentially...that is the whole problem. When does it stop? My goodness...these kids don't want to think, work, move, or do anything. They want their safe space...granted, if they are on a 504/IEP, we give accommodations, but some just feel like they don't have to do anything. We have to help them learn autonomy and to advocate for themselves.
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