The end is near

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Last week I sent a number of letters out; letters to the principal, to his teacher, to his past teachers and EA's, and everyone else that has worked with Jairus.  I sent a letter to the board as well, as I figured I needed to.

I thanked everyone profusely for everything they've done for Jairus these past 3.5 years.  There was another important group of people I needed to talk to however....

I was surprisingly nervous to go into Jairus' class today.  I had arranged it with his teacher, that I would come in and speak to the class for a few minutes.  She arranged that Jairus would go out with his EA for that time. It all went off without a hitch; Jairus had no idea we were there.  I felt strongly that Jairus' friends needed to be told that he would not be there in the fall.  Like I said in my last post, he's been part of a really amazing group of friends that I have been very thankful for.

This is what I said to them.

Hello Everyone!  Thanks for letting me come for a little visit.  I have a couple very important things I want to tell you.
Jairus has been coming to this school for 3.5 years.  Some of you might even have been in the class he started in, grade one.  And some of you might have gone on to grade two, grade three and now this grade four class with Jairus.  Well I'm going to tell you a secret.  When Mr. Kent and I decided to put Jairus in school, I was pretty scared to bring him.  I think you probably know why I was scared.  Because Jairus is different, I was scared that he would not be accepted.  I had seen before in his life, that some kids were very friendly to him....and some kids were not.
It only took a week or two for me to find out that you all were a very friendly group of kids.  I was so happy and pleased to see that you accepted Jairus.  You made all my fears go away!  And whenever I saw you guys helping Jairus and being nice to him, it just made my heart sing.  I'm not your mom, but I have been so proud of you all!  You have learned a life lesson that even alot of grown-ups have not figured out yet!  You have learned how to treat someone who is different with honour, respect and compassion.  I wish I had certificates to give you all, to show that you have learned this very important lesson; of how to love one another.  I hope that you can take that with you wherever you go for the rest of your life, because it's so important.
Now I have to tell you something confidential.  You might know what confidential means, especially if you watch spy movies.  There's always something that needs to be kept confidential in a spy movie.  It's a little bit like a secret, but something that is confidential is being kept a secret for a very important reason.  And it's not really a secret; it's just information that you need to know, but not everyone needs to know.  Kind of like your doctors records.  They are for you and your parents to see, but they are private and not everyone should be able to see them.  Or your report card.  You take that home for your parents to see, but you might not have shown your friends.  It's private.  It's confidential.
But this confidential information is only to be kept confidential from one person: Jairus.
When you come back to school in the fall, Jairus will not be there.
Now, this is to be kept confidential because if I told Jairus right now that he wasn't coming back to this school in the fall, he would be very upset.  He would be confused, and he might not understand.  Even worse, by the end of the summer, he might forget!  Then I'd have to tell him all over again, and he would get upset all over again.  I don't think there are any mommies out there that want to make their little boys upset two times for the same thing!
You all have often treated Jairus like he is your little brother.  You know why that is---because sometimes Jairus needs extra help.  And just like you are protective of your little brother, I want you to protect Jairus from being upset and confused. 
I wanted to come tell you this because you have all been such good friends to Jairus, that I didn't think it would be fair to you all if you came back in September and he just wasn't there.  I wanted you to know that when you say goodbye to him tomorrow, it will not just be for the summer.  Now, when you say goodbye, don't go overboard.  If you're all "Oooh, Jairus, I'm going to miss you sooo much", he's going to think..(funny face from me) "hmmm....somethings up".  Because Jairus might not be able to say much, but he does aloooot of thinking.  Right? (Kids nod).  
You are most welcome to stay in touch with Jairus!  I would just love that; if you wanted to send him letters or emails, call him or come for a visit.  You know he moved to a new house earlier this year; it would be great if you wanted to come out for a visit.
Tomorrow Jairus will have some cards with his name and phone number on them.  If you would like to stay in touch with Jairus, you ask him for a card.  I'm sure he'll be very happy to give you one.

His teacher added a few more comments and thanked me for coming.  I think it went fine.  I think the kids were tracking with me and were accepting of the news.  I think his teacher must have fielded a few questions after I left, because one of his best friends came to me after school and started to ask something about him doing school at home, but then Jairus came out and he had to let it drop.
I worked on this talk for a couple days and wrote it out in point form in a notebook that I brought with me and referred to.  I wanted to make sure I didn't get off on any tangents (common with me in front of a group of children).  I didn't want to get emotional and make them all uncomfortable.  I just really wanted to do right by this group of kids.  They're just a really great bunch of kids.
I nearly lost my composure when I had to tell them the 'confidential information'.  But other than just being generally wobbly of voice, I was ok.

Just one more day now.


Tonia said...

Hi Leslie, I'm just sending a note in response to your comment about RightStart math on my blog. I've never had to teach anyone with the difficulties that your son faces but I'm hoping my response will still be helpful.

I believe it could benefit your son - I would start him in level A. It's been awhile since I've used that level, but I remember it focusing on ways to remember numbers 1-10 without counting. That sounds like it would benefit your son. I'd also encourage you to look at the Math Card Games book. If you order level A that will come with all the cards for the games, but the games book offers more games divided by topic. There is a whole section just on numeration.

I'd also suggest that you email or call RightStart directly and ask for their opinion. I'm sure they would be a better help.

Best wishes in your journey.

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