My first school year back in the classroom in coming to an end. It's crazy. It's beautiful. It brings out the bat shit crazy people!!! I'm not writing about writing here today. I'm making an observation about what I've seen this year, particularly yesterday afternoon.
I've had a very high maintenance parent/student combo in my class. I put parent first because the boy isn't really high maintenance when she isn't around. The first few days of school, he clung to her hand crying. She would do nothing except watch as I pried his off of her and led him into school by the hand while he cried. I couldn't understand this but I accepted in and dealt with it. After two weeks, I decided enough was enough. Instead of peeling him away from his mother, I stood at the front of the line with the rest of the students and asked him kindly but firmly to join his classmates because we were all going into the school now. The mother didn't like this and proceeded to complain to the principal that I wasn't a mothering type and wasn't addressing her son's needs. In my eyes, after two weeks, I was treating her child like everyone else in the class and creating expectations for him to follow just as twenty-five other children. She got over it and had a pretty good relationship over the rest of the year. I went even so far as to go in early to tutor her son for free, taking valuable writing time away from my characters.
Then we come to yesterday and the Honor Ceremony. It is to celebrate students who really excelled in the fourth quarter with their school work and behaviors. Out of twenty-six students, only seven fit the criteria of being honored. So the entire class went to cheer on the classmates on stage. The rest of them sat with me and cheered them on. I had no one ask why they weren't up there. There was no crying. No one was upset. At the end of the day, this mother approaches me and the following is the result.
Her, "I just want to get all of the facts before I go in and complain. Was there an assembly today?"
Her, "Did all of the children attend?"
Her, "Did only a few children get awards and not all of them."
Her, "Well, that's not right. I'm going in and complaining to the principal."
Me, "If that's how you feel, you are totally within your right. Go ahead."
Well, she went in and must have been turned away quickly. When she walked back out and by me, she continued to talk to me.
Her, "I asked "D" how he felt by not receiving an award today and he said badly. So I'm going to make him his own award because I think he's an awesome kid."
Now no one is saying that "D" isn't an awesome kid. He just didn't fit the school's criteria was receiving an award.
I remember back in college, we were taught not to have games in the classroom that would produce a winner. I worked on campus in a classroom and the mentor teacher did. When I asked her about this, her explanation has stayed with me for years. She explained that in life there are winners in games and not winners. It's important to learn how to win but also learn how to behave when you don't win. You can't get everything you want out of life. There are disappointments around every corner. We are doing children a disservice by not teaching them that also.
Stepping off the soapbox now. What are your thoughts?