Ms. Copher, Where is Sydney’s Homework?


There are some days that I am on fire. I have the energy of a toddler and I can take on the world. Then there are some days where I move like a sloth. Barely able to get myself together.

Last week Wednesday was my sloth day. I was exhausted and stressed which didn’t help. I had to find a way to relax, relate and release. I ordered take out for the kids and sat on the couch to regain my thoughts.

When I looked in Sydney’s back pack I saw that she had math homework due the next day. It was only 9 problems on fractions. I wanted to help her with her homework but I couldn’t move.

My patience was gone. I used it all up earlier in the day. I am mad at myself for not having patience with my own kiddos. It is not fair to them.

Sydney sat with me and she did one math problem. I don’t remember anything after that. When I woke up it was midnight and Sydney and I were knocked out on the couch. And that is where we stayed.

The next day as we prepared for school. I remembered the math homework. I wasn’t going to make excuses. Sydney would not have her homework. It was not routine to do homework in the morning with Sydney. Attempting to do homework might be a trigger that might not manifest until later in the day. It’s an autism thing. You might not understand.

I sent Mr. V., her para a message informing him that Sydney didn’t have her homework to turn in. He replied and said that it was no way he was going to have Sydney get a zero in Math.

Later that day he sent me a picture of Sydney doing her homework before Math class. I felt awful. I was a slacker. A teacher not doing homework with her own child. Harrison had offered to help her. But he was studying for finals. It wasn’t his responsibility.

Then I started to feel like a failure, this bad mother. What must the teachers be thinking about me. Then I snapped out of it. This was one math assignment in 8th grade. I hadn’t missed her IEP or a medical appointment. I hadn’t forgotten to do her sensory exercises. The world isn’t coming to an end because she didn’t do her math homework.

It was in that moment that I decided that everything won’t always go according to plan. There will be days when I can’t get everything finished.  I am not going to punish myself. I am thankful to Mr. V for going above and beyond to help Sydney.

Then I stopped for a minute and realized one thing. The reason why I text parents at night. The reason why I  reach out to a parent on my lunch break to let them know that their child is having a good day. It is because I want the parents to know that their children are valued and important to me. That’s exactly what Mr. V showed me. I treat my students like I would want someone to treat my own  children during the day.

Don’t be so hard on yourself. You are human. A missing homework assignment is not what my children will remember. I will no longer stress out about things that don’t require that much attention.


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