Pour Your Heart Out: Not as Planned

kindergarten readinessThis school year was supposed to be easy.

After having a terrible first half of the school year last year, my Bear switched schools and had a fabulous team of people willing to help him.  A teacher who understood him  and was helping to get him ready for the next year: not for the next grade, but for him to return to kindergarten in the fall, but this time, used to the routines, a plan in place, ready to for a great year.

His teacher was just what he needed. She saw beyond his diagnosis and beyond some of his rougher moments to truly love my child.  I didn’t have any anxiety about this school year because I knew he would be headed right back into last year’s teacher’s classroom.

But then the classroom assignment letter came.

And he was not in her class.

A quick scan of the letter showed that this wasn’t just an error that could be cleared up by a phone call to the school:   his teacher from last year was not listed as a teacher in the school any more.

Cue panic attack. After never having a panic attack in my life until the great disappearing act two weeks ago, they come on very easily now.

A teacher who hadn’t had him last year. Who doesn’t know him.

This is what we were trying to avoid. That learning curve at the beginning of the school year where a new teacher would have to figure out how to best work with Bear.

The fear that this teacher won’t be the right fit for him.

I know that this is something that usually happens every year. But it wasn’t supposed to happen this year. This was supposed to be our one easy year.

We went in to meet his new teacher and I feel better after talking to her… even better knowing that when his old teacher knew she would be taking a totally different type of position  somewhere else, she made the suggestion that Bear be placed with the teacher he was assigned to.

But still- it’s a worry where before there was none.

To top it off, his special needs teacher isn’t returning, either.

The two people who had worked the closest with him: gone.

So suddenly, a smooth transition into the new year isn’t guaranteed.

His first day is Wednesday and I can’t help it: I’m worried.

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  1. says

    Ouch, talk about throwing a wrench in your plans. Maybe, just maybe, this teacher will surpass your hopes for the year. Maybe she’ll be even better than the last teacher. It’s just hard to be in the “at first” stage, when you can’t see how the story ends. This back to school thing is tough enough. I’m feeling for you, Shell.
    Becky K recently posted..When Mom Wears a DressMy Profile

    • Shell says

      Yes, the beginning is the hardest, not knowing how it’s going to go. I’m trying to stay positive but it’s just a hard transition from thinking that we had it all sorted out.

  2. says

    I’m so sorry. It’s so rough when those things happen, especially at the last minute. It happened to us with Cam in his second year of Kindergarten. It turned out just fine and his teacher was amazing. It was rougher on my mama heart than it was on him.  One day at a time, that’s all you can do. I hope he loves her (and you do too) and I’m sure she is going to love him as much as his old teacher did! Deep breaths, mama. I’m thinking of you guys!
    Delilah recently posted..So What?My Profile

    • Shell says

      I’m hoping our situation is like yours! I have hope that it will be good- just not the certainty that I had before.

  3. says

    I hope the day goes smoothly for Bear (and you). That his previous teacher suggested this new one for him, is a good thing yes? That she thought this teacher would be a good fit? Hang on in there, Shell, it’d be okay!
    Alison recently posted..One On OneMy Profile

    • Shell says

      It did make me feel better, though out of the six kindergarten teachers, only two were returning, so it was either her or one other… and I didn’t want him in the other one’s class, for sure. 

  4. says

    Oh my, I can feel your anxiety from here! I totally understand and would feel the same.  I think the worst part is that you are just learning this now! It sounds like someone was watching out for him. Best of luck!

  5. says

    Oh no…I hope the day goes smoothly for BOTH of you. I can’t imagine the stress of starting completely over with someone new. Here’s hoping that the new teacher not only GETS it, but is willing to do whatever it takes to give him the best outcome possible.
    Courtney Kirkland recently posted..A Bit of PerspectiveMy Profile

    • Shell says

      He had two friends at his table that he knew from other places who were both very happy to see him, so I’m hoping that helps!

  6. says

    I hate that this happened. How is he handling it? I think it’s a great sign that the other teacher suggested he be in this class. And if she’s like most of the fantastic teachers I know she will realize she has been entrusted with a very rare and valuable gift and will work with him (and you) as such.
    Robbie recently posted..Clueless 2012My Profile

    • Shell says

      He tried to fake sick this morning and he cried at the classroom door. I’m holding out hope that this will be a good fit for him, though. 

  7. says

    The beginning of the year can be very rough–the transition to a new class, new kids, etc. is very stressful. But not everything is AS new this year. The work will be familiar, the school routine will be familiar, there’s still a lot that won’t be different. Will things go off without a hitch? Probably not, but I bet your son gets into the swing of things sooner!
    Cheryl D. recently posted..New School YearMy Profile

  8. says

    Praying for you and your son, Shell!  The transitions into new school years can be tough to begin with.   My son needs some extra accomodations and I was already on the phone to the school like a mad woman – because we want what’s best for our kids. 
    ilene recently posted..Six Months of FierceMy Profile

    • Shell says

      We have to take care of our kids, especially those who need a little something outside the norm. I’m sure we’ll be having a conference very soon.

    • Shell says

      And at least I know she can be bribed with Reese’s cups. Maybe I should send one in his bag every day.

  9. says

    Oh, Shell! That is the worst! I am praying that Weds goes well for you guys and that this teacher is everything that Bear needs her to be. I’ll be on the edge of my seat today so please keep us posted on how the day goes or went. :)
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    • Shell says

      Thanks, AnnMarie.

      He had two friends at his table that he knew from other places, so that helped some. I can’t wait to hear how he did. 

    • Shell says

      It’s such a worry, isn’t it? Only two of the six teachers are returning, so he was placed with the better of the two who were left. She hasn’t been teaching long and I’m trying not to worry about that. When I was a new teacher, they gave me the tougher kids because they did best in my class and maybe this girl is like that, too. 

  10. says

    Oh, Shell. I’m so sorry for these sudden changes. We all just want the best for our kids and when we don’t think they’ll get that, well, we are worried. I really hope everything works out for the best during this time of transition.

    p.s. your guy is so handsome!
    molly recently posted..Being PresentMy Profile

  11. says

    Ugh that is what i hate most about our educational system.  School districts and principals don’t take into account the rep that one builds for a relationship with their students and parents for the current year and beyond.  Nowadays many are more concerned about playing favorites, not advancing the ones deserving it and saying goodbye to the quality teachers that they have.  Its out of our control and me being an educator and the victim of some of those districts, it alarms me for the future.

    On a side note, it shocks me just how fast life is moving, esp when I see kiddos standing next to a sign that says what class they are.  Its quite the eye opener!
    Julie recently posted..PYHO: ProfessionalismMy Profile

    • Shell says

      The school was set on him having the same teacher- they were actually really awesome about helping him. I am pretty sure it was health issues that had his former teacher taking a different position- still working with kids, but not full-time in the classroom. It was unexpected.

  12. says

    Good luck this year. I know what a debacle the school year can be if the child and teacher really don’t mix. We’ve had one bad yr but were fortunate for the rest. Sounds like his former teacher placed him w/ the right teacher. I hope he has a great yr.

    • Shell says

      Hoping so, though only two teachers were returning and rest were new, so it doesn’t give me quite as much confidence. Though I’m trying to stay positive.

  13. says

    That’s such a shame! I can completely relate to your anxiety of how school will go for him. We began homeschooling after my oldest finished 2nd grade, because for us that turned out to be the right solution to his school woes. I hope that the new teacher turns out to be understanding, and that he has a wonderful year!
    Patricia P recently posted..I Love a Rainy DayMy Profile

    • Shell says

      We briefly considered homeschooling but he needs more special services than we would be able to provide him with at home.

  14. says

    I have only had a few panic attacks in my life. One when I was 20 and felt very claustrophobic, a couple during my stressful pregnancies and now I have had 5 in the last week. I have had so much going on with a very personal item, back to school worries, field hockey coaching issues and just every day life that my body is trying to shut down.
    I hope that Bear settles in well that these teachers realize what an amazing boy he can be when they put the effort and time in with him. My momma heart is thinking of you! Keep us all posted. xoxo
    Kristen recently posted..Be A Friend And Stand Up Against BullyingMy Profile

    • Shell says

      Panic attacks are awful, aren’t they? I used to get some panicky feelings, especially in crowds where I felt like there was no easy way out and people were pressing in. But didn’t realize what a full one felt like. and now, they come on so easily. Ugh. I’m so sorry that you are having a lot lately. Like I said on twitter- if you ever need to vent, I’m around. xo 

    • Shell says

      I’m hoping so. It’s mostly the worry about if this teacher will know how to deal with the behaviors or if she’ll freak. His teacher last year was very good at just taking one thing at a time and working on it and saw his heart below the behaviors and loved him up. The teacher at the start of last year looked at all the behaviors as a whole and decided it was all too much for her. 

    • Shell says

      That’s the hope. I know we’ll be having conferences and she has a text system in place so she can quickly make us aware of anything major.

  15. says

    I think people underestimate just how stressful a new school year can be for the Mommas. We worry about everything! How they will, or rather, if they will interact with their peers & teachers positively. If they will feel respected, gain confidence… and LEARN! From my experience, the fears & stress diminish as the school year goes on… but the anxiety can be debilitating. You’re in my thoughts as the new school year begins, Shell. Hang in! 
    Kelli @ Momma Needs a Beer recently posted..The Disease of PerfectionMy Profile

    • Shell says

      Thanks, Kelli. 

      I’m trying to think the best, but it’s just such a change from what we had expected.

    • Shell says

      It made me feel slightly better that this new teacher was recommended, but since she was only one of two returning teachers out of six, it still makes me nervous. 

  16. says

    OH how stressful for you!  BUT I know he’ll be fine- because you do such a great job advocating for him.  It’ tough being a mom!
    Jayme recently posted..OnionMy Profile

    • Shell says

      I had a chance to talk to his old teacher today and she made me feel a lot better about it all.

  17. says

    Oh how I remember those school days. One of our daughters went through much of the same thing… Along the way I’ve learned to “cast my cares upon his shoulders”, “lay them at the feet of his alter” and KEEP MY EYES WIDE OPEN where teachers and my kids were concerned.  Bless you and may God bless your son’s year.
    Ms. Kathleen recently posted..Forgiveness leads to miraclesMy Profile

  18. says

    Oh, Shell. I hate this for you…and I’m hoping this new teacher turns out to be as compassionate and patient as the last one. Sending good vibes your way…

    • Shell says

      I’m hoping so, too.

      I’m also hoping he doesn’t eat her for lunch. He needs someone with a firm hand, yet still loving.

  19. says

    Ugh, seriously both people he worked with gone.  That is just not fair.  It really is crazy how much they seem to switch around teachers and that just doesn’t give stability for anyone. 

    I hope he still has a great year even with the change. 
    Emmy recently posted..My Hidden TalentMy Profile

    • Shell says

      I had a chance to talk to his teacher from last year today and she said she felt so bad about leaving him. 

  20. says

    Ugh…this sucks, but there could be a silver lining if he’s working with good people. Hopefully if this teacher came recommended by last year’s teacher, she’s confident in the relationship that can be forged. Go in with hope, but keep your eyes wide open. There will be struggles from both parties, but hopefully he can overcome and grow from this change. Thinking of you guys and praying that there will be an “easy year” in your future!
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    • Shell says

      I had a chance to talk to his teacher from last year today. She made me feel a lot better and she’s just an email away. That really helps.

  21. says

    You’ve gotten some good advice already – so I’ll just say that i hope today was an awesome day for him, and that it continues being an AWESOME year! We had a few panic attacks here with my littlest daughter (with an IEP) losing last year’s teacher and PT, and my 2nd daughter (with a 504) not getting the teacher we were told she would have. It’s tough trying to navigate these issues and find that balance between being a momma bear and letting your little one grow their own wings to fly farther than we could dream! Sending you hugs~

    • Shell says

      Sounds like you definitely get where I’m coming from. It’s just harder on our kids who have special needs, I think. With my oldest, I kept forgetting his teacher’s name- knowing he’d be just fine with whoever. 

    • Shell says

      I talked to his old teacher today and she made me feel a lot better, even though I wanted to beg her to go back to her classroom.

  22. says

    Oh no. :( I’m so sorry to hear that, Shell. I’m really truly hoping for the best for you. My son has been receiving special education services since he was in kindergarten and I certainly know how rough and worrisome it can be, especially when dealing with new teachers. My son received the same diagnosis your son received and has ADHD as well. He’s 17 years old, doing so much better and has been working hard to get to a place where he doesn’t need as much of the extra assistance as he did many years ago. This parenting gig is tough and we all want what’s best for our child and it’s so damn difficult when we don’t know what kind of cards we’ll be dealt with in terms of teachers. I know this much to be true: I am a mother and I’m my child’s biggest advocate. I will fight to the death to ensure that my child receives the education he deserves and I know you will too. :)
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    • Shell says


      I didn’t realize that! My son has ADHD along with PDD-NOS, as well. Now we totally need lots of time together just to be able to talk about this! xo

  23. says

    I posted to you on Twitter but just wanted to reiterate here that I’ve stood where you are now standing and I know how scary and uncertain it all feels.  Remember, there are so many wonderful teachers out there that I’m sure Bear’s previous teacher was very careful with her recommendation.  My son had a very rough kindergarten year too but after that, the school always placed him with the best possible teacher for his needs.  He is now about to start high school and I am still scared of all the uncertainty (not one but many teachers – agh!) but as long as we continue to be strong advocates for our children, they should be just fine.  Thank you for sharing what so many of us with special needs kids go through each and every year….
    Emily recently posted..8 Reasons To Send Your Boys To CampMy Profile

    • Shell says

      It’s so different when your child has special needs, isn’t it? Of course I hope my oldest has a great teacher, but there isn’t the crazy anxiety associated with it, because I know he’ll do fine with whomever he gets. 

  24. says

    As you know I totally understand where you are coming from. B is in his third ECSE (Early Childhood Special Education) school in three years. I’m tired of having to explain that it will be a different teacher, who won’t know what to expect, how to handle it, etc. 

    All I know is that B was able to handle last year with a new teacher, and I can only hope that this year he will adjust. EVEN if it takes a few months to do so. 😉

    I really hope it works out for you. 
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    • Shell says

      It’s so frustrating, isn’t it? I feel like our kids already have enough to deal with and when you throw other changes in, it can be enough to send things into a tailspin.

    • Shell says

      I’m feeling better today because I had a chance to talk to his old teacher. She didn’t have a doubt in her mind whose class he should go in, so that was reassuring.

  25. says

    Oh, I hope the first day, week, month goes really well.  I was really hoping my son would get my oldest son’s teacher from last year.  She was awesome and I knew her and she even knew Drew but he got someone else.  I was upset at first but now after three week she really is amazing too.  It is so hard though when you think something is going to go a certain way and it doesn’t.
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    • Shell says

      It’s hard on my middle son when routines change. We knew that he’d end up with a different teacher next year, but had so hoped to avoid that this year. Two days down and it’s okay so far. 

  26. says

    That is so frustrating but it sounds like you are handling it better than I would have. It’s ok to be worried, but after everything you’ve already been through, even with a new teacher, starting school won’t be as “new” to you because you’ve done this already. You’ve got that experience in your quiver and YOU are equipped to manage your side if it now, leaving you better prepared to work with his new teacher. Sending you good vibes!

  27. says

    For all that it’s really frustrating when you’re thrown for a loop like this (and I react the same exact way when my plans are thrown into the blender!), it sounds like Bear’s former teacher and his new one are at least on the same page for him.  I’ll be sending positive thoughts that the year DOES go smoothly for him.
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  28. says

    Oh how scary. It’s awful when something we’ve been planning on and looking forward to changes in a blink like that. I hope the transition is smooth despite the bumps.
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  29. says

    Oh Shell…I just got off the phone with my mom who is having a similar issue with my brother (who has an Asperger’s diagnosis). They’ve put him in a classroom with ZERO friends (he’s changing schools to go to 5th/6th grade school) and where there are other multiple issues…basically everything she was worried would go wrong with his transition this year is happening. For a kid who struggles big time with change and transitions, it’s turning into a nightmare. I feel for you; I really do. Best wishes to you both!
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    • Shell says

      Oh, my heart goes out to them! Change and transition is just so hard for some kids. It’s so hard, knowing it’s not something that can be avoided.

  30. says

    Oh I hope everything turns out all right! I am so terribly sorry that this got thrown in your school year. My younger brother has Aspergers syndrome and I remember when he was in Junior High it was probably the toughest time my mom went through. They ended up pulling him out of school and homeschooling him for one year. 

    BUT…the good news in all of this is that he successfully made it in and out of the airforce, is going to college, and got married to a wonderful girl. I never would have thought all that possible for my little brother who had so much trouble in school. But he’s made leaps and bounds beyond his diagnosis. 

    I know everyone has a different story, but I guess I’ve seen first hand the progress that doesn’t seem possible. I hope that encourages you! Lots of love and prayers your way!
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    • Shell says

      Nope. :( Though somehow, I’m not quite as worried about how he’ll adjust to the new one since that will be in a much smaller setting. But at the same time, there isn’t someone who really knew him last year to be able to make suggestions. Though I talked to his old teacher today and she said she’s just an email away and is happy to help with anything she can. That made me feel better.

    • Shell says

      I got to talk to the old teacher today and she was completely sure about whose classroom he should be in, which made me feel better.

  31. says

    I’ve been there! But you might be surprised to find that it works out even better than you had hoped. You have a great little guy there, I’m sure it will work out.
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  32. says

    It is amazing how the  struggle changes each year. This year they moved my son to a new school with a whole new team with new ideas and philosophies (we rewrote his IEP last week).  So far though, the  trade has been  very good but the total change in routine is a challenge.  I empathize and wish your son the best.  It is not easy to transition and reestablish everything new every singe year.
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  33. says

    I’m sure it was a big shock and disappointment to find all this out, especially right before school stars. At least you were able to go and speak to his teacher in advance and make them aware of the issues and what kind of support your son will need. I hope that things go well for him when starts school again – and that you have the courage and strength to see it through!
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    • Shell says

      We didn’t have too much time to chat as there were other parents around, but she does at least have his IEP and all his other paperwork. 

  34. says

    Oh, do I know this feeling.

    Why such late notice???? That is what makes me so angry. Don’t they know these kids don’t do well with surprises??

    Nor the parents.

    I am so sorry, Shell. I know the panicky feeling you talk about. I can remember not even being able to concentrate while driving, I was so worried about what was going to happen.

    I could write books on the good years we ‘ve had, the bad years we’ve had. The stellar teachers, the teachers that should reconsider their career choice.

    My son is going to be a freshman, and now my stomach and insomnia and headaches and panic have been at my door every single day this week.

    I shake, I can’t concentrate, I can’t sleep: I CAN ONLY WORRY.

    I have to let it go, and not let him pick up my cues.

    But how I wish I didn’t have to have this worries.

    Love to you and your wonderful boy, Shell. May you have a very good year: one with joy, growth, and excitement.


  1. […] when I found out that my son would be having a different teacher than the one we expected at school this year, I was very relieved that he would not be in the class of that teacher who […]