Oh No She Didn’t!

“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.

No more!

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

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5 thoughts on “Oh No She Didn’t!

  1. Penny… You hit the nail on the head with this one.. I too struggle with “the teachers job” Most of them are quick to point out how bad little so and so is doing but never quick to call when something good happens.. I am like the momma bear and this year has been a year of letting go for me.. I think that the teachers are thinking hmmm this mom just doesnt care.. Oh I care all right but sometimes I guess its easier to keep “MOMS” big mouth shut and let my daughter work things out for herself…
    I love reading these, and have been tempted to write a little myself.. I have tons of stories.. isnt it amazing how our kids can bring out the “writer” in all of us…

    • I feel the momma bear rage, hear me ROAR! Unfortunately, I keep it all bottled up like a volcano that’s been brewing for several hundred years and then decides to unleash it’s fury by exploding the full mother load burning the flesh off all in my path! (perhaps I could lessen the dramatics – nah, it’s more fun this way!) There has to be a balance – perhaps I’ll send a little of what I do your way and you can send a little of what you do my way and wahlah, we are balanced, normal mommies. HAHAHA!!!

      You should totally write, it’s good theragpy! HA!!!

  2. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! I too have a child – grandchild – who recently has been getting into trouble with his teachers as well. He is a good kid. I am not saying this because he is my grandchild. The teachers too have stated this. They also have told me he was one of the most respectful kid they have. NOW – all of a sudden he has taken a 180 degree turn. Something has happened. What? I don’t know. I know he needs understanding. We have tried everything and yet it is not working. We don’t know what else to do. I do know one thing. I too am searching for a way to reach him. I too know his world is difficult for him. I am not saying this to make an excuse for his actions. I am saying this because I too need to see teachers and whoever else is involved in his life to show forth encouragement and that they care.

    By the way – he was just suspended for one day due to being disrespectful. We teach him to be respectful to adults and yet no one is trying to find out what has turned the most respectful child so quickly. In speaking with him I find out he is being bullied. I am not saying this is an excuse for his disrespectful actions toward adults but I am saying there is more to the story.

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! I too need to speak up more.

    • Toni, I agree – we are not justifying their actions, if they are in the wrong, instead disciplining in love and getting to the core of the matter. When my son tells me that his teacher yells at him all the time and she has the nerve to tell me to my face with an attitude of disgust that my child is annoyance, then it’s time for the teacher, in my opinion, to reconsider why it is they are teaching. Why not ask your grandson, “hey, that’s not like you, what’s going on?” I understand consequences to actions, agree with it’s application, and will support it however as it’s like Paul Harvey use to say, “And now, for the rest of the story…”

      I will keep your grandson in my prayers, I know the ride for them is like a roller-coaster, too young to be faced with such rides in life – they are left unsure of what to do with all their emotions or even what the emotion is that they’re feeling – I’m praying for peace and comfort and God’s all embracing love to envelope him – I’m praying for you to have wisdom, discernment, and peace, embracing you and guiding you – above all I’m praying that in walking through this, finding a resolution, that there come complete and total absolution, for each of you!

      Hugs and love to you my friend!

  3. I’m as girlie as they get and I broke a worm in half to see if it would really live! I know! I should have been thrown into prison and never let out. After all, look at what a menace I became!

    You have every right and responsibility to fight for and defend your children when necessary. I know you, and know you’re a good mother who does discipline when appropriate. I also know you will side with a teacher when they are right in their actions.

    As adults, we too often forget what it was like to be a child.

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