“Ms. Shire? This is Mr. Centerbrain, principal at Rightbrain. I have your son, Leftbrain, here in the office with me…” Just hearing the message on my voice mail launches my heart rate into overdrive; yes, I’m going to have one of those conversations. It’s not as if he’s calling to inform me that my child has been awarded the Stellar Behavior Award. Of course, it’s not as if I’m calling to congratulate him on the fine job he’s doing as principal either.
Lamentably, this is a call I’ve received over the last three years, frequently. I’m sure I’m not the only parent that senses the tension in receiving these well-intended phone calls. Yet in the moment you feel as though the spot light is on you while outside of the light is complete and utter darkness.
For good communication to exist between parent and teacher, I’ve heard that as the parent we should practice the following:
1) Instead of waiting for the report card to arrive, I should meet with the teacher ahead of time and see if I can address any issues before the end of the semester.
2) Instead of stepping in as a parent, I need to allow my child to face his own battles – take-your-hands-off.
3) Instead of defending your child if there is a problem at school, listen to both sides of the story.
4) And countless other words of advice…
Knowing my child as I do, I’m rarely his defender. Over the last three years my child has been written-up and served a demerit more times than congress writes a new bill and submits it to the President. (I’m sure my political wording is all wrong and the process is quite different but for my amusement, work with me.) Quite honestly, it gets old, for all parties involved. I have allowed myself to be intimidated by my child’s teacher merely because I feared they viewed me as a bad parent.
My child is written up by teachers that aren’t even present at the time of the alleged occurrence, stated by the teachers themselves. Let me back up for a minute…
I am a parent that tries to keep in contact with the teachers BECAUSE I know how my child operates. I am a parent that always listens to both sides and always takes the side of the teacher. Because I communicate with the teachers’ I am told their side of the story and I’m not afraid to ask the questions but I’m usually afraid to take the stand if they are wrong. Now I will continue…
As stated previously, my child gets in trouble for things that only other children witness – I have a problem with this as it is taking one child’s word over another’s – in my opinion, both children should be written up or it should be addressed with a verbal warning. This is not a new concept, if my two children are disputing and I’m not witness to the occurrence, they both have consequences. While I understand that my child has acquired a reputation over the past three years since when did this constitute the right to blacklist him. I’ve listened, politely, while my child’s teacher has told me I need to have him tested for a learning disability – my child does not have a disability, he is hyperactive – there is a difference. I have again listened as a teacher has told me to my face that he’s an annoyance. While I burn with anger on the inside, I listen all mousy-like with my head hung low as if I were a scolded dog with my tail tucked between my legs.
My daughter has a friend that has introduced her to a world of sins. While she tries to be the light to her friend, the leader she appears to be all too often ends up following. This is typical for teenagers, Christian teenagers, in a public school system away from their Christian friends (i.e. support team). It’s easy as a parent such as myself to get angry and tell my daughter that she is not allowed to be-friend this friend any longer but what does this solve. Knowing a little of the what my daughter’s friend is being faced with, seeing what my own daughter is going through, would it not be easier to extend love to her rather than anger. Would it not be easier to welcome her in my home, showing her light and offering her hope, rather than beheading her at an execution?
When, as teachers, do you forget that you are an extension of justice, a fair justice? It is a teacher’s job to train and instruct, not execute and behead. It is a teachers job to encourage not discourage. The same things are true of parents, teachers are merely an extension of what the child ‘should be’ seeing and receiving in the home.
I’m not out to bash teachers, not even the teachers of my son, Lord knows I rarely have the patience at times to endure the adventures of my son. That being said, what I want to say is this – I will no longer be afraid to take a stance for my child. Until we as adults know, understand, and can walk in a child’s shoes, we are to be an extension of FAIR justice, an extension of love. We do not always know what is going on in a child’s life when they are not our own. Even as the mother of my own children, I cannot begin to fully comprehend what all is going on in their world. However, as a mother that knows what’s going on in her own household, a little defending of my children is in order.
My son was given a demerit for pulling on a worm. The children were outside playing in the dirt, learning about compost, and my son took a worm, stretched it, and in doing so received a demerit. I’d hate to think what my teacher would’ve given me for pulling the legs off a Grand-Daddy Long-Legged Spider, if caught – and I’m a girl! I had a dream the other night that I told the teacher she was nothing more than a bully – she might as well have been the kid stealing the milk money from the other kids and tossing them in the trash can, head first, after she had collected.
While I have refused to sign demerits, even ripping them into pieces and/or throwing them away, (when and if I feel it’s given unfairly) I’ve yet to become vocal – until now – I now become the can opener, of worms! (in more ways than one)
Copyrighted by reflectionsbypj 20100311