With a teenage child in middle school, I’ve attended my share of IEP meetings. It’s an evolutionary process that you become more comfortable with in time, maybe because I’ve been in the same school district and know what to expect. I also know the laws and both my rights as a parent and my child’s rights as a student.
IEPs are emotional.
As parents we find ourselves defensive, ready to fight, and often heartbroken that our child either isn’t meeting goals, or the school is not providing what we feel are necessary services. We’ve had years where I’ve left the IEP meeting in tears, and years where I’ve left hugging the teachers and celebrating my child’s successes. It’s definitely an emotional roller coaster.
This year we’ve come up against something new. Maybe it has been there before, but we were too busy dealing with other issues. As the school year settled into the year’s cadence, we found ourselves face-to-face with a teacher and her enormous ego.
There was an immediate problem brought to my attention, and when I addressed it I first met the ego. I’ve met defensive before, but this was different. This was self serving. And then at back-to-school night the ego was on display.
“Look at me and how awesome I am. I’m so smart and great and fabulous!”
And then the problem got worse, so was addressed again. And that ego was right there, front and center.
“I’m right!” it said.
“I know everything!” It shouted, waving its imaginary fists as Egos do when they feel threatened.
And then the ego wrote an email of what it would and would not do for my child, including a direct violation of the IEP. Thank you Ego for being so pompous and handing me that gift in writing. This would be a quick and easy lawsuit (if there is such a thing). Oh Ego, you are so full of yourself that you made a huge mistake and didn’t even notice.
A meeting was set above the Ego’s head, but it has caused me to do a lot of soul searching. And I’ll admit that I have lost a lot of sleep over this.
Do I meet this Ego head-to-head with my ego?
What is the goal here?
What is best for my child?
In the grand scheme of my child’s education, is this a fight I want to fight? Believe me, I have no problems going into the ring when necessary and I will leave a blood bath. Is this really something worth fighting over?
Do I want to win because I find her ego offensive? Because she’s entitled?
And so I have stepped back. Waiting. Observing. Keeping my own ego in check, because honestly, it’s not about me. It’s not about her. It’s about my son, and what is best for him. And I won’t let anyone’s ego ever get in our way.
Have you encountered an ego in your IEP meetings? What have you done about it? I’d love to hear. Any advice is welcomed, Jackie Linder Olson