Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Science Teacher Rule # 83

Being involved in a child's education does not mean you try to bail them out of every consequence. Doing so undermines parental authority as well as teacher authority.

"Hi Mrs. Anderson, I'm Soandso Someone, Sally's mom. I'm calling about the no stamp she received today for not having her daily warmups out. I understand the need to have kids get in class and get started but Sandtrap* for it, really? I'd like you to give me a call back at 555-hover."

*20min afterschool study hall, part of the school wide academic preparedness program.

Positive #1

You actually contacted the teacher instead of calling the principal directly. This puts you above several parents on the reasonable scale.

Problem #1

You called approximately two hours after the incident, which means there is a 90% that your child used her cell phone during the school day and you supported it

Problem #2

The alacrity of your child's and your response means that this is probably not the first time Sally has called expecting a bailout. You are building a pattern.

Problem #3

Your child receives a "get a free yes stamp" every month the entire school year. They can be amassed and 3 bonuses issued for every "perfect" nine weeks. The fact that she has none left means she is not the perfect angel you assume she is, despite her excellent grades and for the most part, excellent behavior.

Problem #4

You honestly think it is unreasonable for your daughter to spend 20 minutes afterschool quietly doing her homework? You feel this is an illogical consequence considering your daughter spent the first ten minutes of class talking to her lab partner? Is 20 minutes more work than what she would do at home?

Problem #5

Even if you disagree with the consequence, every other student had the same equal consequence. Your call implies you want special treatment, despite the fact that this classroom expectation was clearly and specifically stated on the board and that the same routine HAS BEEN IN PLACE SINCE AUGUST!

Problem #6

You would like to be called back. For what purpose? You have voiced your disagreement. It has been duly noted. What do you wish to accomplish? She has now served her 20 minutes, and I'm fairly certain she lived.

Problem #7

You may feel like championing your child is the best choice in all cases. However, you will teach your child more by supporting her teachers. Even if it sounds like a teacher is out of line, support the teacher to your kids. Odds are there is more to the story than your teenager is telling you. At the very least, you are teaching them to respect authority figures. That will pay off in the end, because you, as a parent are an authority figure.

There will come a point where your child is going to have to learn that choices have consequences. Sometimes unfair consequences. Unfair consequences happen all the time in real life. Just because you disagree with a law doesn't mean you don't have to follow it.

Rescuing kids from every little teeny issue does not help them.

p.s. Not trying to be too judgemental, but a few months ago when I asked Sally if she received any fun presents for her birthday, she replied in a disappointed tone and an eye roll, "Just a quad." I know, I'm always disappointed to get my very own recreational vehicle. It's just so boring.


Jocelyn said...

Can I give kudos and a thumbs up? I love this post! (and your blog and YOU!)

jeanene said...

I only wish that the Mom could read this. It would only make her defensive and upset but I think it would be satisfying.

Merkley Jiating said...

That is a good point - teaching them to respect authority figures by respecting their decisions yourself. I will have to remember that. I am probably one of those overprotective parents who would call the teacher. Whoops.


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