Dylan is back in school!

12 June 2017

Last June 05, classes in public schools began nationwide.  It was Dylan's first day back to school after awhile and I was apprehensive because it was also the first time that we will be part of the public school system.  Private SPED (Special Education) schools are pretty expensive so we considered ourselves fortunate that there was a public school which has a Special Education department near us.  We didn't have to shell out any money for tuition.  Still, we felt a bit of a culture shock as we continually adjusted with our new environment.

My initial apprehension came from not being prepared for school.  If any of you are familiar, in private schools, when you inquire about enrolling your children, they usually have a list of books, required school supplies, list of uniforms,etc. that they give you ahead of time so you can get them ready prior to school.

When we first came to the SPED Department of the school, we were told to just prepare the necessary documents:  Dylan's diagnostic summary from his doctor, a barangay certificate (that says Dylan is a legitimate resident of Manila), a copy of his birth certificate and ID pictures.  Once we have the complete set, we can just drop by and submit them.  So, that's fine.

I did drop them off fairly quickly.  In fact, when I came back to submit them, I didn't know but I came during their graduation ceremony and almost all the teachers were having their lunch! haha They did entertain me and was told that they would text me to let me know about the supposed orientation before classes start.

When it was nearing June and I haven't heard back from them, I just thought I'd drop by the school.  Oh, I tried looking for contact numbers so I could call the school and clarify when school starts or if I could ask for list of requirements for students, there wasn't any, at least on the Internet.  So, I had no choice but to visit the school.  When I got there, the teachers were all out, something about an activity outside of the school and was told to come back on June 2.

I wasn't able to get back on June 2 and I was getting pretty anxious because I haven't prepared anything for Dylan.  I had no idea what uniforms he needed, which school supplies I have to buy - all that kind of stuff.  Patrick was trying to calm me down and said that I'll just have to find out on June 5th when classes start.  He said that for the meantime, Dylan can simply come in civilian clothes because he's a newbie so it's okay.

During the weekend, I received a text from his teacher.  We're supposed to be at school at 1230 on June 5th.   So, we went. :)

When we got to the school, my first impression was CHAOS! haha  There were so many students (because it was a big school) and parents shuffling through the gate.  Not knowing if we're supposed to follow them, we just went with the flow with the intention of going to the SPED department to check if they have a list of students and sections.

We never got to the SPED department.  At the grounds, we asked a teacher if she knew where Teacher Ressie's classroom for was and she directed us to the 2nd Floor.  All around us, parents and kids were being organized into sections and it was noisy and shocking (for me at least because I've never encountered such a scene!).

Anyway, we got to Dylan's room and was met by Teacher Ressie who immediately ushered Dylan into the room :)  Patrick and I remained outside of the classroom as we waited for other parents and classmates to arrive.  We didn't really know what to expect so we were just waiting and observing.  Dylan, meanwhile was busy playing with some toys on the mat.

Patrick and I were entertained by the parents of the kids of the Kindergarten classes who can't seem to leave their kids behind.  The Head teachers were repeatedly telling them over the PA system to leave their kids so the kids could go in with their teachers.  This went on for about 10 minutes or so haha  This picture was taken after most of them have dispersed :)

After playing, Dylan quietly sat in his seat.  His classroom (it was actually just half a room) was still a bit bare since they're a newly organized class.  It was Teacher Ressie's first time to handle younger kids so she's also adjusting.

When the rest of the parents and students arrived, it quickly became chaotic if you can imagine having around 12 special needs kids in one room.  Some kids wanted to play, others were walking around, one was banging on her chair, another one was crying and had to be taken out of the room.  It was amazing! :)   You can barely make out what T. Ressie was saying.  After desperately trying to manage the kids, but failing, T. Ressie had to dismiss everyone early.  She was going to organize the kids based on their abilities and needs so a new schedule will be followed.

In the end, Dylan ended up in the 2nd afternoon session.  He was so excited to be able to go to school in uniform.  The first session was for the speech impaired kids.  Dylan's class was comprised of kids younger than him but were able to communicate minimally.  I think there were 7 of them at first and most of them were newbies.

The first week was really a period of adjustment for the kids.  They were in a new classroom with new (to them) people and some were clearly agitated.  Dylan was pretty well-adjusted so he wasn't really a problem.  Some kids kept escaping from the room and T. Ressie was running after them most of the time.  It was only through the help of one of the parents that a lock was installed on the door, one that the kids couldn't reach, so they won't be able to leave the room. :)  That helped the whole class.

One time, it rained heavily and the corridor became in danger of flooding!  There was actually an increasing level of water which threatened to overflow into their room.  We, the parents, ended up mopping up the water while the kids were in class.  It was dangerous because if one of the kids managed to escape and he/she slips on that wet floor, man, there's gonna be trouble.  As you can see the window near their room is open and has no barrier against the rain.

Dylan is enjoying himself now in his new environment.  In a way, he is a bit advanced compared to his other classmates but I believe that he needs the academic environment to boost whatever it is that he has already learned from home.  At first, he became confused as to why some of his classmates were crying and when one of them pinched him and when they were taking his snacks from him.  We had to explain that some kids weren't able to behave in a "normal"fashion and that's why they're in school so that they can be helped.  He was able to understand that.  They are now 6 in the class and things are going smoothly.  Parents are contributing what they can to fix the room and make it more kid-friendly and conducive to learning.  :)

Here he is working with his teacher :)

Let's see what tomorrow brings! :) 

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