Friday, August 26, 2011

Letter to the Teacher, 2011 edition

Hi! My name is KayTar. I'm so glad to be in your class this year! My mom helped me write this letter to tell you a little bit about me that might help our year go more smoothly.

I am an excellent reader. I usually read 1 chapter book every 2 days, so I will be taking a lot of AR tests and checking out a lot of library books this year. I learn very well from written word, especially because I don't always hear verbal words or instructions as well. When I watch TV at home, I like the captions to be on, so I can follow what is happening. I think it would help me a lot if my reading skills were used in class to help me keep up with what is happening in our room! Sometimes I get distracted or forget what I am supposed to be doing, so my other teachers have provided written instructions for classroom tasks and schedules and it helps me a lot.

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I can't hear with my left ear. I used to wear a hearing aid, but my hearing got worse and it stopped helping. Because I don't hear as well without it, make sure you speak clearly to me. If you are helping me do something, stay on my right side. It is hard for me to filter out background noises and I might have a harder time focusing, especially if the room is noisy. This is another reason it helps me to have written instructions.

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I wear glasses to help me see clearly. I am nearsighted, so my glasses help me to see things that are farther away. I like to be very close to what I am looking at usually, because my eyes work best when I am up close.

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I am a little slower than my friends and I get tired easily if we are walking long distances so I might need extra help. Sometimes I fall down, because I'm not always steady on my feet, especially when I am distracted. I often have a difficult time keeping up with the class when we have a fire drill and I might need 1 on 1 help from a grown-up when that happens. My doctors think I have a disease that causes me to be weaker than my friends and causes me to run out energy much quicker than they do. It may seem like I am being lazy at times, but my body just cannot always keep up. Because the muscles in my hands get fatigued and weaken easily, I am supposed to trial a word processor to help me with writing work. If I get very run down or tired, I may need to rest in the nurse's office or have my glucose checked. The nurse is very familiar with my medical needs. I get tired much quicker when I'm even a little bit sick and there may be times I need to sit out of PE during the year. If I ever complain of being dizzy or wobbly or say my legs aren't working, I need to see the nurse right away.

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I am very sensitive to heat and cannot be outside for very long in the heat of the summer months. While it is so hot out, I may not do so well during recess if it is in the afternoon. Sometimes being out in the heat causes me to run a fever, even if I'm not sick. If I am having trouble with the heat at recess, I may need a quiet indoor activity while my class is outdoors. 

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Some days throughout the year, I am very light sensitive and can't bear to be out in the sunlight. I have magic lenses in my glasses to help, but some days they don't help enough. If my friends are going outside and the sunlight is bothering me a lot, I might need to go sit in the nurse's office or with another class while my friends play outside. Other days it doesn't bother me as much and I enjoy playing outside with my friends very much!

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I get migraine headaches and if I ever complain of head or eye pains, or changes to my vision, send me to the nurse immediately for medication, even if it doesn't seem to be keeping me from participating. It is important I get my medicine at the beginning, so they do not get much worse.

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I have asthma and if you notice me coughing a lot or coughing so hard that I gag/vomit, I need to be given 4 puffs from my Albuterol inhaler with my yellow spacer mask.

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I don't like to eat much, so at lunch or snack time I might choose not to eat. My mom will send something that I like every day, just in case. The textures of some foods might make me gag, either by sight or touch. I try my best not to touch these foods or get too close, so if I ball up my hands or say "No!" it means it is probably the kind of texture that will make me gag. If it gets too close to me I might push it away from me to protect myself. Sometimes just thinking about these things might make me feel sick. I have a g-button and a special feeding backpack that give me all the things I need to be strong and healthy. I also need the nurse to check my glucose to be sure my body is getting enough of what it needs. There are times when my tummy just doesn't work right and I vomit even when I'm not sick. The nurse knows how to help me and will call my mom if she thinks I may need to go home, but many times I finish the school day even if my tummy is acting funny.

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My lips and tongue have gotten VERY big a few times and my doctors aren't sure why this happens,  if you notice my lips swelling, or if I say, "My tongue hurts." it means I'm having an allergic reaction. Take me to see the nurse immediately. I need to have 1.5 teaspoons of Benadryl per my g-button. If I have trouble breathing or stop breathing, I need to be given my EpiPen Jr. Call my mom immediately if I have signs of an allergic reaction.

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My colon doesn't work quite right and I have to take medicine to help it out, because of this, sometimes I have potty accidents. The nurse will have supplies to handle this if it is an issue. At bathroom breaks, it might help if you reminded me to try to use the bathroom even when I say I don't need to. I may need to wear pull-ups some days when I am having some trouble with this.

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I'm so excited to be in school this year and I know I will have lots of fun in your class!

Your new student,
KayTar

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If you've read the previous years of her Letter to the Teacher (2008, 2009, 2010), you may notice that we took her neurological episodes off altogether this year. It has been over TWO YEARS since she has had one. Whoa. The letter may be growing a little every year, but it still feels good to cross that one off.

9 comments:

slouchy said...

Yay for the ability to cross such a big thing off the list!

Anonymous said...

So glad you do this! When I was teaching I used to send a letter home asking for important info: mom's name, addy, phone, work phone and if I CAN CALL THEM THERE (I had parents that would get fired if the school called at work unless it was a severe emergency) and if so, when is the best time. I also ask the same info for dad since I have more children with divorced parents than married (average 80/20--the 80 is the divorced parents). I ask if there are any allergies (food or medicine), one word to describe them, anything special I should know (this is a good please to insert letter), health conditions (can't tell you how many parents tell me known and then I find out that they have life threatening seizures when it happens; or can die by airborne peanut dust). I know parents may not like their child to be singled out, but would they rather have them dead?

Also, the school believes no fever, you're not sick. Doesn't fly with me. If a child tells me their sick, and they don't have a fever, and I think they truly are sick (we have frequent fliers) I have been known to override the health assistant, and call the parent myself, who shows up and the HA is all like why are you here. I have been written up for it, multiple times. And I didn't care. Especially, since she went nuts when her daughter went to the nurse with a sore throat, had no fever and was sent back to class....ended up she was really sick; strep sick and out of school a week and she was fuming. So, practice what you preach?????

And the big one is I had to fight the school district to get them to allow me to have the Epipen of one of my students in the classroom (4th grade). She has a life threatening allergies to many things. They had always had the teacher call the office, who would tell the HA, who would unlock the box, and if she could move her big butt super fast I could get the EP within ten minutes (oh and the benedryl too). I decided for the child's safety that I will not allow the student in my class unless the EP is in my room with the benedryl. That set rules that it would be in a lock box in the closet for every child.

I am glad you share this info with the teachers. I would suggest that you ask the teacher to leave a copy of that letter in her substitute folder. In my school I put a note that said severe health issues in this classroom please read enlcosed letter BEFORE school starts (you would be surprised how many wait until the end of the day). They receive that when they sign in and get a key. Otherwise, someone else in the room may never know.

Hope KayTar has a good year.

thesummerchronicles said...

I always like reading this letter; it's like a little preview of what it's like to be Kaytar.

leah said...

Oh, I really, really like this letter. It is written in a great, non-technical way (I'm always worried about scaring teachers off)! I am totally stealing this format for Nolan - it would work really well to explain his issues to his teacher. Can I post a link to your blog on my blog?

Kyla said...

Leah, definitely! Glad it was helpful.

leah said...

Awesome! I wrote my own letter today! I love this format.

Magpie said...

you're the most awesome mom. the no episodes thing? rockin'.

~aj~ said...

I always love reading these from her perspective. What's neat is that with how smart KayTar is, she could probably write this letter herself in another year or two!

And crossing the episodes off the list completely is a huge, huge celebration!

flutter said...

I just love the heck out of that kid of yours. You are such an awesome mom