Have you ever received the dreaded phone call or note home from your child’s school? You have that gut wrenching feeling in the pit of your stomach because you know it’s rarely a heart warming message about how awesome your kid is. You suddenly have major parental anxiety. When we receive this type of behavioral information from our children’s school, how do we decipher what is true and what could be a teacher’s personal issue or misunderstanding?
Two Sides of a Coin
My oldest often claims foul play and insists his teacher has it in for him. As a teacher and a mom, I know what it is like to hold both sides of the coin. I have been known to lean on the side of the adult and assume my child is at fault. But really, how do we know when we aren’t there? When it comes to my own kids I have to remind myself to take a moment and consider that maybe my child may not have done anything wrong or that he really could have a poor teacher (they do exist!). Truthfully if I believe that bad people exist in this world, then clearly some of them become teachers, principals, and lunch ladies.
In my heart of hearts I know most educators love their students and want what’s best for them. But there are some with very low tolerance, and they could see my son’s ADHD as just an inconvenience. He could be treated unfairly, with zero compassion.
So we face yet another parenting dilemma (as if we do not have enough). We must try to become judge and jury and weigh the facts we know with the information we are not present to witness. Evidence is presented on both sides, and sometimes you are clear on what actually happened based on the character of your child or what you know to be true of the teacher. Many times things remain fuzzy even after having conversations with both parties. I try to have a meeting with the faculty with my child in the room. During these moments, many valuable things come to light. One thing I know: these encounters have taught me is the importance of raising an honest child. Most times my oldest will tell the truth even when he is wrong and may get in trouble.
I honestly wish I could write a how-to on how to know when it’s your kid that’s the problem or when it’s the school, but I can’t. What I can say is you know your child better than anyone else. Though sometimes they may surprise you (insert classic mom eye roll), for the most part parents know their kids’ personalities and behaviors far better than anyone else. If you receive a message from your child’s school, take a moment to gather the facts. Listen to your child’s perspective, then exercise your right to respectfully question the teacher or school. Most times you will find answers and will be able to handle things accordingly. Once you gain understanding of the situation, offer support to the faculty to help best rectify the problem.