Just Got to Spew!
I am probably going to make some parents angry with this blog, but I feel the need to spew, so here goes!
Today was a challenging day, and it began with a parent’s phone message regarding her child and the mean things other students are doing to him. In the message, she announced that, yet again, she went directly to our principal by emailing her about the current complaint. Now, let me give you a little background information which will make it clear to you why this sets me off.
This is a parent who we receive regular phone calls, letters, or emails from regarding her son and these vague accusations regarding how mean our students are to him. Upon occasion, we have followed up on minor disagreements he has had with other students, but they have been minor, and he is often guilty of the same behavior he is quick to fault others for.
There are three adults in our co-teaching classroom most of the day. We have never witnessed any of the more horrendous actions described by her son to his mother. In fact, we have discovered through our investigations of these reported incidents that most of the time, the events that have been described to her have been flat out untrue, and her son has admitted as much to us. When she has been told that he is not being honest about what is going on, she continues to believe him and complain about our unwillingness to deal with the students she claims are involved. Usually, her disbelief is followed with a threat to “take it higher”.
What her son has learned is that he can get drama going if he goes home and tells his mother things that have happened in school, real or otherwise, and he has learned to love that drama. He rarely tells us about his issues with other students before he goes home, which would give us the opportunity to deal with them if they are true. He would rather run home and get his mother postal so that she goes off on his teachers and his principal.
I have given you this background information regarding my day to explain why I feel the need to spew tonight. In fact, I was going to blog about something else tonight, but I felt compelled to write this blog specifically to parents. So, I’m sorry if I make you mad, but here goes!
Listen to your children when they come home with their school stories with love but with a bit of skepticism, because kids have a way of telling these stories from their own perspective, often leaving valuable pieces of the story out, especially if those pieces might incriminate themselves. Question them carefully and rationally refraining from judging the situation until you are able to gather more information, and let them know that you will be in touch with their teacher but in a POSITIVE way to try to find out all of the facts. When you contact the teacher, do it in a way that is open to the whole story, understanding that your child is human and maybe left out some of the best parts. Give the teacher the benefit of the doubt and handle the situation with respect. Finally, NEVER go to the principal before trying to work out the problem directly with the teacher. Only resort to that option if your concerns are not met.
Thank you for letting me unload. It was good therapy for me, and I needed that!