I LOVE MY JOB! I have to start this way, because after reading this, I am sure some of you will question my reasoning for staying in a classroom. I seriously love everything about my job, but like any job, I have my days where I sit and think WTF am I doing?
I probably should have taken today off, but my teacher guilt and gut told me to come to school. I always listen to my gut so after sleeping in a bit and joyfully getting ready in 15 minutes, here I am 6 periods into an 8 period day, rethinking that idea. I firmly still believe that I should be at school, there is a reason I was put here and my gut lead me here, but still I just want to be home (if that makes any sense).
As a teacher I deal with the most random conversations and issues and do this all while trying to teach science to hormonal freshmen ALL. DAY! I have high expectations and am so OCD that the kids are almost always focused; if we are off task its because I seriously planned that. Yeah thats how OCD I am. So when my plans do not go off like I expected, I get a little frustrated. I constantly remind myself that I work with high school kids and as of late, we have not had a day off since Labor Day so statistically we see behavior and motivation change. However, my expectations, enthusiasm, organization and rules DO NOT, so my little minions (thats what I call my students) usually follow suit. After all, I hear ALL THE TIME that I am their favorite teacher, that they love my class, they don’t want to go to their other classes, etc, and no one wants to upset me and get on my bad side, so following suit is just the basics.
Occasionally though I have just one kid who wants to push it, to see if I am going to stay consistent or let something fly. That never goes well for them. I follow a 3 strikes you are out policy. The first strike is just a nice reminder (put the phone away, sit down, get back on task), the 2nd strike is a last ditch effort for the kid to stay in my classroom and behave (time-outs, quick calls to parents, taking away the phone, a firmer more public redirection) and the third strike you are OUT…deans office and a referral. The kids know this and it is a VERY uncommon factor for any of my students to head to the deans.
So what happened? Student A, was nicely told to get back to working on some of his missing work which I had already given to him. (Strike 1) He did for all of about 3 minutes and then turn around and started flirting with some ladies around him. So I publicly let him know that I will be calling his mom (Strike 2). Mom says to me “I’m to busy to parent, if this was my student I would send him to the deans.” I’m sorry did you just tell me you are TOO BUSY TO PARENT? That got under my skin. I politely got off the phone with the mom and did exactly what she asked (deans office), because God forbid I ask her to do the job she signed up for. I’m exasperated that a parent could EVER say they are too busy to quickly get on the phone and tell their kid to straighten up, yet they had time to answer the phone when I called.
So here is my thoughts on being a parent…from a teachers perspective:
1. If your kids teacher ever calls you, its not because we cannot handle the situation, its because we are trying to make you aware of their behavior so as a team we can fix this. I tell my students that I am their mom for an hour out of the day so I take their safety, well-being as well as their learning very seriously. To do this, I need you on my team.
2. Make your kid feel important. Student A had seen numerous strike 2’s take place and knew that mom was supposed to talk to him. When she didn’t and he was immediately strike 3’d, he said “wow I thought she would at least talk to me.” He looked more broken by the fact that she didn’t do her part then the fact that he was headed for more trouble (which honestly at that point was not necessary).
3. Set your priorities. I realize that many parents work, I know that we have to entrust our kids to other people and that sometimes our jobs are overwhelming and seem to take over our lives. But I just want to remind you something. When you decided to have a family, planned or not you decided to keep the baby, you decided to PARENT! Your 1st priority should always be your family. If something happened to your child tragically I do not know a parent that wouldn’t drop everything to run to their child’s side, so why on Earth would you not run to your child’s side when they need boundaries? It seriously only takes a moment and I know that we are all tired of talking in circles around our children but honestly they need it, they want it and a lot of the time their behavior is caused from your lack of involvement and boundary setting.
There are tons more, but I think this post is long enough. Have a good weekend, I know the three days I have coming are MUCH needed!