Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Mom vs. the preschool teacher?

I recently read about  this parenting call and it got me to thinking about children and school and teachers and being a parent.  I'm a teacher.  I've been a teacher for 20 years.   Over the years I've taken on more and more "parenting responsibility".  I am with the children for 7 hours a day.  Seven and a half hours a day to be exact.  Mom and Dad are with the children the rest of the time.  Yet I am the one who should teach that child table manners, courtesy, kindness, generosity and the value of a good friend.  Oh, and I'm also supposed to provide opportunities for them to sort by color, shape and size, seriate by length, count using ordinal numbers, understand positional words, follow directions, listen for rhyming pairs and build a thinking map.

I'm tired by 4pm.

So Mom if you would like the responsibility of your child for a day PUHLEEZE come get him.  You have my blessing.  Missing one day of school ( and preschool at that) is not going to jeopardize his future at NASA.

When you call the school you probably will get attitude.  It's unnecessary and just plain rude.  I'm not making excuses.  I'm just want to explain that we are all overworked.  We are tired!

Let me just share a couple of crazy mother phone calls I've gotten.

I once had a mother call me at school anxious and irate because I had valentine mailboxes for every child in the class except for hers.  When I asked her what in the world gave her that idea she "explained" in a rude and loud tone  that while at WalMart the night before, her son and begged for a Batman Valentine Mailbox.  In fact, he NEEDED Batman for the class valentine party because........ you guessed it.  His teacher (me) had purchased one for everyone in the class.  Except him.  I wanted to laugh but she was so angry I felt defensive.  I had several witty comebacks in my head but instead I took a deep breath and told her "I'm so sorry, I do not allow people to yell at me,  If you would like to come by school this afternoon and see his valentine box you are more than welcome.  I will let the security guard know to expect you."

That shut her up.

Really people.  REALLY??

By the way, I don't know what came over me with that reply.  That is truly what I said.  Word for word.  When I hung up I just sat in the teacher's lounge.  The school secretary was eating her lunch and heard only my side of the conversation.  So I had a witness.  Sort of.

I once had a mother show her tail feathers because her daughter's hair bow was in her bag instead of in her hair.  The bow was not lost.  The bow was not broken.  The bow was IN HER BAG.   I wanted to tell Mom that I had not locked her daughter in a closet in the dark and left her there.   Let's put things in perspective please.  Instead I came up with an answer that I did not feel was TRUE but I knew in a second that it would put a bandaid on Mom's anger and keep it from spewing all over the front of the crosswalk.  I simply said, "She does not have the bow in her hair.  It's in her bag.  Here it is.  I feel awful about it.  Please forgive me. "

Yep, I said that.

Seemed crazy to HAVE to say that.  But I did.  Mom immediately softened and recoiled.  I won.

Sometimes I feel like I should just quit.  A run in with an angry mother can make me want to apply for a job as a WalMart greeter.   The next morning, though, I get up and trudge through my morning routine.  I walk into the class and I'm greeted with "Hey Mrs C!  Look what I made you last night"

And that makes it worth it.

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