Tere Jimenez, Santi’s mother, has written other Spanish-language blogs for SRF.
(Editor’s note – this has been translated from its original Spanish version, Regreso a clases con nuestros pequeños Syngapians, here.)
Every start of the school year I think my biggest challenge is to stay calm in the face of what is to come. Leaving my child at school, with a new teacher and different routines, is very difficult. And I would love for everyone to have that culture of inclusion, to leave my child with peace of mind, without so many explanations and without the prejudices of some teachers and other parents.
I would love to be able to wake up on the first day with the happiness of putting my little one’s uniform on, buying him school supplies like everyone else does, but instead it fills me with stress.
The first few days, I am worried all the time waiting for the call from the principal or the teacher. I am overwhelmed by the possibility that he will get restless and hurt someone, that he will not want to stay in the room, that he will throw objects or do something that puts him in danger, that throws me off. And although Santi only attends a certain amount of time during the school day, where he sometimes has someone to monitor him, it never stops hurting me that the educational system is not adapted to his needs.
As I have told you on other occasions, I am a primary school teacher and I know how difficult it is to care for so many children who require special attention. That’s why I’m distressed that his new teacher doesn’t know what to do with my little Santi.
Parents like us face many challenges when starting our children’s school years, from encountering teachers who are not willing, activities that are poorly adapted to the real needs of our children, not knowing how they felt in class, not showing progress and often lose hope for significant progress. These are issues that we sometimes live in anonymity because we know that few will understand them.
Through tears I write these words because although I try to stay positive and see the light on the path, there are things that are seen and experienced on the surface and this is one of them. Therefore, if you are a Syngapian mom and dad, I send you all my respect and tons of courage for this new cycle. I send you hope that it will be a better year and that little by little you will see progress. I assure you that in the midst of tiredness and worry, you will find the calm of seeing your little one smile and enjoy what he likes.
If the person reading me is a teacher, I ask for a lot of understanding with the parents of their students with disabilities. They do not know the different emotions that are handled during these times. Understand, ask and listen calmly to those who are placing all their trust in you. Love your student and be a key part of their progress. Never become an obstacle for a child with a disability. If you don’t know about the subject, search, study and prepare, for a reason life is giving you the opportunity to meet someone with a disability.
If the person reading me is the father and mother of children about to start the school year, talk to them about respect and tolerance for classmates who may see different people in their classroom, talk to them about solidarity, diversity and inclusion.
If all the agents involved in a school were willing and determined to do their best for a child with a disability, everything would be very different.
Hug from this Syngapian mom at the start of school.