I have a real good friend who is a long-time teacher. My friend tells me all sorts of stories of his experiences of teaching. Teaching for thirty years. So, I thought I would share a recent story with ya, just so you could have a sense of what one teachers has experienced.
We are now at an age where two students and one parent can cause an INVESTIGATION on any of our teachers. Take that in again … two students and one parent can cause an investigation.
That’s what I thought, as well.
No phone call to the teacher from the one parent?
No phone call to the teacher from the two students’ parents?
Nope. It goes straight to an investigation.
Here is the problem with that strategy… the other students who are brought in for their “questioning” / “investigation.” Those students are now involved in a situation that had NOTHING to do with them. Then, those students go and tell other students that “Mr. Smith” is being investigated.”
Now, the challenge for the teacher? How does “Mr. Smith” regain trust and / or respect from the students. The administration has placed doubt in those students heads. AND AGAIN… two students and a parent led to this level of doubt. Lack of trust.
Let’s say this involved a classroom of 35 students. “This” being the allegations made against the teacher. The administration brings in four students. That is a little over ten-percent of the class. One believes that NONE OF THOSE four are going to talk to other students? And this doesn’t stop in a week… NOOOOO… this lasts up to four weeks.
My friend told me he got the notice of the investigation on September 24 and on October 29 my friends was told, “no further action will be taken.” Two students and parent caused my friend and still causes my friend stress. He was anxious for thirty-five days waiting to hear “no further action will be taken.”
My goodness… what was he being investigated for? Well, I won’t tell ya because this “entry” isn’t about the specifics of the ALLEGATIONS! No. The purpose of this “entry” is to share with you the stress our teachers are enduring.
There was a time when parents would contact the teacher DIRECTLY! There was a time when the parents and the teacher would – at a table – sit across from the student in a sign of unity. Today? Parents on one side of the table “protecting” their dear child and the teacher on the other side of the table ready to defend himself / herself.
We are in trouble folks.
Teachers and parents need to work together. Training “your” (in quotes) child should be a group effort, including: MOM / DAD / GRANDMAS / GRANDPAS / AUNTS / UNCLES / OTHER CLOSE RELATIVES / TEACHERS. Parents … YOU ARE NOT ALONE UNLESS YOU WANT TO BE!!
You PARENTS make the job more difficult when you want to do it by yourself. You PARENTS make the job difficult when you believe EVERY DAMN WORD your child tells you. Your child is going to lie to you … YOUR CHILD IS GOING TO LIE TO YOU! They don’t want to disappoint you. They don’t want to upset you. And, they will lie to avoid disappointing you or upsetting you.
Listen to the other adults in the room. Oh, wait … how can you listen to the other adults in the room WHEN YOU DON’T TALK TO THE OTHER ADULTS INVOLVED IN YOUR CHILD’S LIFE?
More times than not, the other adults in your child’s life want him / her to SUCCEED. Along the SUCCESS-JOURNEY, your child is going to FAIL. The adults in your child’s life want you (parents) to know about the failure. Hell… those adults want your child to know about their failure as well AND OWN IT!! Then, all the adults need to sit together on one side of the table and across from the table help your child learn from their failure. Saving your child from failure is damaging your child. Picking-up your child following his / her failure is saving your child.
“Mr. Smith… I suffer from anxiety!”
“You know how come you (Mr. Smith’s student) suffer from anxiety? Because, your mom and dad will not let you fail and defeat those who are “failing” you. Anxiety is a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome. The outcome can only be two things: success or failure. You?! Student! Thanks to your mom and dad, you only know one outcome: SUCCESS! And therefore, when you are conditioned for one outcome, anxiety comes when you learn SORRY — THERE ARE ACTUALLY TWO POSSIBLE OUTCOMES! And you don’t know how to handle “uncertain outcome.” Oppose to …hey, for certain … I am either going to succeed or fail. That is a certain outcome. Hey, the firework display is going to end – that is a certain outcome. I will get through the fireworks display. CALM THE _______ DOWN! Everybody fails. Everybody succeeds. Knowing everybody fails and succeeds should lessen the anxiety.”
Even my teacher friend needs to lessen his anxiety. He knows the possible outcome – HE DID THE RIGHT THING!! May not have been how the students want to know their work is weak. May not have been the way the “caring” parent wanted to hear how their child was performing. But, my teacher friend should be calm, as well.