Teacher Guilt

This year has been a year of transition for my kids. They went from being in a small private to school to going to larger public schools this year. There has been some rocky roads during the year but all in all I think they did well with the change.  I have been used to getting the occasional email/call from teachers/Admin over the years telling me my child did this or that in class  – once my child ate Habenero pepper at lunch (as a joke someone brought them in to school)…this child forgot to wash his hands after trying a tiny tiny piece and got the juice in his eye and near his nostril – skin burned- milk was applied..yea proud mom moment for me.  Once another child stole candy from their teachers desk…apparently my teachings in clever theft were not going so well….

So really no email or call from a teacher should rattle me by this time but the dreaded your child did not hand in homework/project really does. Why? The tone.  The tone that says quietly “why were you not on this as a parent?” “Are you ignoring the importance of the homework, the studying for an exam, the project?” Um noooo- but I am ignoring my kids. Well not really – but i have teens and have you tried to pry info from a teen? Me:”Did you do your homework” Teen: “Yes”, Me: “All of it? I will check the website.”  Teen:”Yes all of it.” So I don’t believe it so I check the website. I run down the list for each kid – I ask to see the work. Teen:”I did it at school.” Other teen runs to show me some mathwork that I have no clue what it is bc I am not any good at grade 8 math. So I nod and say put it away. So I believe the work is done. Then I get a note saying something didn’t get handed in or I see it on the gradebook online..well I asked them. I have an ADHD kid and the world has tried to organize him this year. It’s been less than successful.  But all my kids are guilty of not getting homework done. I have instilled the bring it all home to me even if you do it in school so i can see it OR ELSE tactic…but this never happens even when I follow up on the or else. So I go back to if your grades are OK I will stay off your back tactic that seems to work some(it less frustrating for me). AND some of the teachers do not update the homework online daily so I got sick of asking my child daily if he did the xyz thing in English and he keeps reminding me it was handed in days earlier -so I just kind of stopped checking the online homework listing. I mean it seemed pointless if the assignments weren’t up to date.

One day I made the mistake of asking a teacher about some homework my son said he had extra time to complete. She said she did give him some extra time but it was on the online homework listing so WE should have known about it. This is the same teacher who never has grades updated online and who leaves the same homework listed for a week..so I went online to check her story and yes that time the updated homework was listed.. geez I will have to be more on it! Clearly my fault- not the 13 year olds..

Yesterday I got an email from a teacher who wrote :

Good morning.

You are receiving this email because your daughter did not come to class prepared with her homework (a print ad) today. Homework provides a basis for classroom activities and discussion and is essential for classroom participation. Please remind your daughter to keep on top of homework assignments in the future.

Really- homework provides a basis for classroom activities?  I thought it was created just so a parent can bitch at their kids to get it done…so it can cause strife in the home.  Yeah I never discuss the importance of homework and projects with them and i never tell them they need to stay on top of assignments. Um- I can be like a broken record and after a while all the kids hear is the Charlie Brown adult voice “WAH WAH WAH.”  I have been tuned out.

Have these teachers had teens? When I asked my daughter about this email she said she did forget to put it in her backpack (not really like her) and that the teacher allowed her to do it in school that day.  So why the email? She did the assignment one way or another.  Was she trying to make me feel guilty?  When my kids were younger I was on it – so  much so I feel like I got a second K-6 education! But at a point you have to stop the micro-managing let them go a little and sometimes they are going to screw up -and frankly I am not up to par with much 8-12 class material- I forgot it all or never learned it – I am no help unless its English. So am I wrong in leaving it up to my kids to get their assignments done with much less checking up than years before? I don’t think so – we have to let them go little by little it is important to their development isn’t it? (or maybe I am making an excuse for being lazy!).

Yesterday my daughter told my husband that he doesn’t respect her decisions (she decided to take a nap(she felt ill cough cough) at the nurse during chem class -not her best class – and then was perfectly fine to run in track practice in the afternoon- (wouldn’t we all like afternoon siestas?). He handled it much better than I would have. He explained that he would not respect bad decisions and that it was his job to talk to her about bad choices and then explained the reasoning behind why that nap was not the best choice. Good words dad – he is way more patient than me – I would have just lectured her about how overused the word respect is so nobody really understands it anymore and stop being a frequent flyer to the nurse when you are really trying to avoid a class you don’t like. His answer would sit better with her- I just like my sarcasm sometimes.  Being a parent is a fly by the seat of your pants job. You never will get it 100% right. With teens, you are working with the dynamics of another human that is caught between childhood and adulthood. We are all carrying our own baggage to the game too. So when we do get it right it is the best feeling in the world.

So teachers- I love and respect (proper use of the overused word) you- I cannot even imagine how you do what you do everyday. I see how many of you encourage my kids- it is such great job that you do. But please try to set the tone a little differently in your messages to me…I am on it as best I can with 3 teens who would rather play on video game/text their friends than have much interaction with their parents unless it involves meals out or going to a store where they can score some clothing or more video games!  I know the year is winding down and you need a well deserved break so lets try and take this a day at a time together- we can get through!

Thanks for reading:)

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