Monday, November 14, 2011

Telling my New Teachers about Tourette's

I am officially done with trimester one! I'm glad to be done with all my final assessments but at the same time I'm sad to say goodbye to Mr. Texas and Mr. Carolina as teachers. This trimester I'll have three new teachers, Mr. Colorado, Mr. New Jersey, and Mrs. Baltimore. Mr. Colorado and Mr. New Jersey are both brand new teachers to the school this year and I have never had them before. So to avoid any confusion on the first day, I decided to e-mail them about my Tourette's to make sure there was no confusion on the first day. My school plan does say that I have Tourette's in it, but I find that teachers don't get to reading all the action plans before day 1 and I feel much more conformable knowing they know about my TS on day one. I e-mailed Mr. Colorado first who is my new English teacher.

Here is the e-mail I sent:

Hi Mr. Colorado! I've been e-mailing my new teachers for T2 to briefly mention something. To avoid any possible confusion on the first day I just wanted to mention that I have Tourette's Syndrome. It does mention this in my school plan, but I have found that teachers are not always able to get to all the school plans before the first day of the new trimester and it makes me feel much more comfortable knowing that I have informed my teachers personally about this. I have both motor and vocal tics which include involuntary movements and sounds, but I don't swear or say offensive words. Usually my tics aren't disruptive to the class, but sometimes it helps me to get up and walk around for a bit if they get particularly bad. If you have any questions feel free to ask me or talk to the learning specialist. You can also visit [ ] for more information about Tourette's.

I think this is a great way to let your teachers know about TS in a personal way and works for most high school or college students. Teachers are usually VERY understanding if you contact them by e-mail personally. This is the e-mail that Mr. Colorado sent back: 

Thanks for the update. Re: Tourettes, don't worry--I've worked with many students who have it, and I am more than ready to be your advocate and friend on that front. You have my total support. 

Mr. C 

See! Teachers are very very supportive and understanding when you contact them in advance. This leaves no space for confusion or assumption and skips the whole "awkward and confused stares from the teacher" phase of the first few days when they have yet to read the school plan because they're too busy! 

I haven't heard back from Mr. New Jersey yet, but I probably will soon! And I didn't need to e-mail Mrs. Baltimore because she's my college counselor and already knows about my TS. All in all I feel very good about going into the new trimester knowing all my teachers are aware and supportive of my situation. I am still a bit nervous about my new classes because of the new students in them that I haven't had classes with before. The good thing is that I have three classes with Steam Punk, which always helps me feel more conformable in class. Two of the classes I have with her are my new classes which will help so much! Having a friend who is so used to my tics in the classroom always helps me feel more at ease in new situations. I'll have to give an update about how my first day went tomorrow. Wish me luck! :) 

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