An open apology letter to parents from a special education teacher

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Dear Parents,

We all start our careers somewhere and unfortunately have a lot of on the job learning to do. I know when I first started out as a special education teacher I made mistakes, and I still do. As a mom of a 13-year-old who is currently struggling in school, I also have the perspective of a parent who has to be a strong advocate for her son. And guess what, it’s freakin’ hard. After being a special education teacher for almost 20 years, I understand that advocating for my own child is very different from advocating for my students. There are so many feelings involved including fear, sadness, anger, love and frustration. With this perspective in mind I would like to offer the following apologies to all of the parents I have worked with:

  1. I am sorry if I ever made you feel judged.
  2. I am sorry if I didn’t have the confidence to admit when I didn’t know something.
  3. I am sorry if I ever called you “mom” or “dad” at a meeting instead of using your name.
  4. I am sorry if I didn’t focus on your child’s strengths.
  5. I’m sorry if I didn’t also let you know the struggles though because you deserve to have all of the information and not be blindsided at a meeting.
  6. I am sorry if I didn’t fully believe you were the expert on your child.
  7. I am sorry if I wasn’t brave enough to argue against rules and decisions that were not in the best interest of your child.
  8. I am sorry if I didn’t make sure to show that I truly liked your child.
  9. I am sorry if I didn’t make sure you knew I was on your side.
  10. I am sorry if I did not make communication and teamwork a top priority.

Sincerely,

Teacher, mom and oh-so-human being

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3 responses »

  1. Clarification: My amen is to my apologies also as a professional working with parents of special needs children. If only everyone involved could really keep in mind the needs of each individual child & work together to find ways to meet those needs. Without that goal people should find another career.

  2. Love your honest. You hit the nail right on the head. You get what’s important and crucial to lead to the success of the child. Admitting you are human and not all knowing is so important. It’s so difficult for teachers to put their opinions and judgements on the back burner and put more trust in the parent. Love this post!

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