Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Teaching is Hard, but Being Mom is Tough Too!

I got Hadley sent to school and then went back to bed this morning because I didn't sleep well last night and thought I'd reclaim some sleep.  Didn't happen.

Why?  You ask.

Because my mind is spinning and the longer I laid there the more upset, aggravated, irritated I got.  I decided to put this post together to organize my thoughts and ramblings and clear my mind a little.

I had questions about Hadley's report card so I made a copy, wrote notes by the line I had questions on and sent it in to the teacher.  I knew the teacher was going to be out of school on Friday so I didn't expect to hear from her for a couple of days.  I tried to be clear on most of my questions and only wrote "please explain" by a couple. 

I understand that being a teacher is a difficult job and dealing with parents might be the worst part so I try to take that into account when I communicate with any of Hadley's teacher.  I want to convey that I respect their position but I sometimes need a little clarity.  Except maybe this year and I've just HAD IT!  My patience has worn thin this year, but I'll get into that later in the post.

The reply I got was completely unsatisfactory.  She basically told me that grading would just be harder sometimes and that I was misunderstanding the scoring system.

Okay.  Well, that's WHY I EMAILED YOU!  But, that was the only answer I got. 

My reply was less than understanding (in part because I'm pissed but this particular email was a victim of auto correct which made it sound even worse.)  I tried to reply, "I just need you to answer the specific questions I sent you."  But it came our more like what was in my head "do your damn job!"

This teacher has made our year hell.  She has zero compassion or consideration and I completely get how under appreciated and underpaid teachers are.  It's sickened me to see the education cuts while throwing money in directions that are unnecessary.  None the less, this is the world we live in.  With teaching jobs being as scarce as they are we should have nothing but the creme de la creme in the schools.  There is no excuse to have a sub par teacher when there are a dozen good teachers lined up around the block for every job. 

I read somewhere the other day that a girls self esteem peaks at nine.  It really scares me that Hadley is going to peak after spending a year with this woman.  It terrifies me, really.  I know each child learns and responds differently and each child has different needs.  What separates a regular teacher from a great teacher is the ability to learn each child's personality.  Last year Hadley had the teacher who managed to teach the kids, but she also really KNEW her kids! 

Hadley thrives on praise and positive reinforcement.  She doesn't do well with turmoil, she can't handle people yelling (at her or others) and she certainly doesn't want to trouble anyone.  Hadley is one of those kind souls who truly can't understand why anyone would ever do anything to displease or hurt someone.  She comes home in the afternoons with a heavy heart. 

The school has Hadley for approximately 35 waking hours weekly, I have her approximately 50 waking hours weekly.  That's not a huge amount of time to combat negativity, especially considering her confidence is going to peak in approximately six months. 

I'm sorry for whatever personal problems this teacher may be dealing with that makes her so unhappy and I have spent a lot of time praying for her.  I really don't hate her, or even dislike her, but I will NOT sacrifice my child's well being while she works out whatever she has going on.

With that said, I've come to the conclusion that I'm tired of dealing with the teacher and having her tell me all the right things and do none of them.  When my kids get in trouble and say "I'm sorry" I tell them, I want to see it, not hear it.  Saying I'm sorry is easy, showing you mean it is when the truth comes out and that's where I am with this teacher.  I don't want special treatment, Hadley doesn't need to be coddled and neither do I, but I expect my child and every child in that classroom to be treated with respect and kindness.  School may be the only place some children ever feel special and unfortunately, part of a teachers job is to make sure they do. 

I have friends who are teachers and although I worried a little that this post might offend them, it's a case of my blog being true to my life (good, bad and ugly) as I wrote in Surprise, I'm only Human.   Then I started thinking of the kind of teachers  (and people) they are and I realized it wouldn't be offensive. 

I know that I probably sound unrealistic in this post and that I think my kid is perfect (and I sort of do!)  I don't only feel like my child is suffering from this, I feel like the whole class is and it saddens me.  Children are so vulnerable and precious and even though some of them can be little jerks, we can't punish them all because of that.  Teaching is hard, kids are frustrating, and parents are obnoxious.  I get that and it's exactly why I'll never be a teacher but I can't imagine that people who become teachers are blindsided by this and if they are, I'm truly sorry.  Unfortunately in life there are sometimes surprises, and jobs can turn crappy in the blink of an eye, but you either roll with the punches or find a new job.  What you don't do, is torment small children or make them feel anything but like the gifts from God that they are! 

Tonight, I was talking to Hadlley about school and I asked her "Hadley, if you have a present from God, how do you think you should treat it?"

"AWESOME!" she replied.

"Sweetie, YOU are a gift from God, so how do you think you should be treated?"  I asked.

"Ummm....good" she stammered.

I then said, "why would YOU be treated any different than any other gift from God?"

"I dunno..." she again stammered.

"You shouldn't.  You are God's precious child, and you are His gift to me and I expect you to be treated as nothing less."  I demanded.

"Okay, I want to be treated like that, Mommy."  She said.

That is my prayer for her and other children, that they be treated like God's precious children.  Teachers aren't just helping kids learn to read and write, they are teaching them to be adults.  It's a hard job, with amazing responsibility but the truly great ones will leave a remarkable stamp on the world!


  1. I always told my kids that they wouldn't like every person, teacher, boss, etc. that they had. The trick to life would be learning how to deal effectively with them all. Dealing with the ones you like is easy and enjoyable but sometimes, God throws a wrench into the works. He wants to see how we handle it when we're NOT treated the way we think we should be. I'm not saying to throw in the towel...just be careful how you handle this. Remember that you are prejudiced in favor of Hadley (Who wouldn't be?) and that greatly biases your feelings. I don't really know whats going on but I can't count the number of times I've heard parents say things like "MY child wouldn't do that!" or "Are you sure that was MY kid?" Sometimes it was when I described a bad thing the kid had done and other times it was when I described a good thing! I've learned many kids are very different at school than they are at home. My suggestion would be to try to make it through the rest of the year. Be supportive, not sassy, and think about how you would like to have the teachers job. I'm not making excuses for a poor's really not about her. It's about you and Hadley and how you handle this situation...with grace and faith or rudeness and anxiety. Think about it!

  2. I understand your frustrations completely. Children are blessed gifts from God and should be treated as such. Unfortunately, life is not fair and our children learn this lesson first in school. Believe me, the lessons that you teach in your 50 hours will stay with them long after the school year. When they are adults facing a difficult situation or individual, they will turn to your examples and God's for guidance. Your teacher situation is a learning experience for you both. Embrace it as our Lord did with those who went against him. Remember you are a child of God, too. Our Father would not give you or Hadley anything you could not handle or learn from. It is difficult and heartbreaking as a parent to see our children upset or in distress. A mother's instinct is to protect. We all have to learn to deal with diversity and stress, regardless if we are 9 or 99. Keep up the great parenting and you will both be stronger at the end of the school year.