This afternoon, I found myself wearing both the mom and teacher hats simultaneously. I'm sure many of you have found yourselves faced with the same situation on a regular basis. My middle son Ben told me about a new incident with a boy in his class that he has been butting heads with recently. We had a discussion last week about this boy, in which I found out that Ben was not completely innocent in their conflict. It was really hard for me to not be the mom who just supports her kid 100%. But, being the teacher I am, I had to dig deeper to get to the heart of the story. This led me to the uncomfortable truth that he was partly to blame. It was really hard breaking that to him.
Today, he tells me of another incident in which the kid was verbally taunting him. I asked if he sought help from the teacher and he said that he did. When I asked what the result was, he said that the teacher said, "Just try to ignore him." Makes sense. It's what I often find myself telling my own students when they are being irritated by a classmate. "Did she say anything to the other student about leaving you alone?", I asked Ben. "No," was his response. The outrage of the mom in me towards the teacher who did nothing to hold the other child accountable warred with the teacher in me who wondered what she could have done if she didn't witness it. Of course, I know that as a teacher I would have at least talked with the other student to find out his side. And she very well may have done that without Ben being aware of it.
The thing that I find most challenging in my situation is that I am not only in a different school building from my children, but I'm in another district altogether. If we were in the same building, I could easily grab her at the end of the day and talk about what happened. I would probably know something about this other kid and his history of behavior. But, in this case, I'm just another parent. It really doesn't matter that I'm a teacher too. I want so badly to send an email to the teacher demanding to know what she is going to do about the situation. However, I have to think about being on the receiving end of that too. I think about my sensitive boy and how this is making him feel. I think about how hard it is to stand up for yourself yet not wanting to be labeled a "tattle tale" for it.
For the most part, I think I'm really lucky to be able to wear both hats when it comes to helping my boys through schooling issues. Sometimes having the teacher perspective makes it just a little bit harder to be a mom.