Why Hello, Mama Tiger

Keeping another person alive, happy, and healthy can sometimes feel like a daunting task!
Keeping another person alive, happy, and healthy can sometimes feel like a daunting task!

Yesterday I got angry. I’m not sure how I reacted on the outside, but inside I was a ferocious beast. I left E in a supervised care area at a business that shall go unnamed and let’s just say she was less than supervised. I came back to her crying as popcorn was pulled from her mouth. Another child had fed her. There were only three children total in the space. She does not have molars and could have choked.

This should not have happened.

In retrospect, everything was fine. She lived. I lived. All good. But the experience got me thinking about the times parents lost their cool with me as a teacher, as well as the times they didn’t. I once had a kid electrocute himself without anyone getting angry, (granted he was in fourth grade and old enough to know better than to stick a paperclip in a socket). I also gave the Heimlich maneuver twice, (again, these kids had the appropriate teeth), but still those parents remained calm.

Maybe it comes with more practice.

Then again, there were all the parents who didn’t keep their cool about everything from grades to having to sit criss-cross-applesauce at the carpet. Oddly, I kind of get it. I used to take it personally, but now I realize they felt their children were in some way threatened. Our basic instinct is to respond emotionally when it comes to protecting our children. If I ever return to the classroom, I will be more understanding.

Speaking of which, teachers really do deserve more credit. They have to keep 30ish kids safe all day while also teaching each child at his or her individual level. That’s a HUGE job. Add in the scrutiny of rightfully-protective parents and WHOA. Talk about pressure. Makes me want to give all the teachers I know a hug, (and a raise).

So, this afternoon, I’m thankful for a lot of things. E is fine. I met my inner Mama Tiger and have a better understanding of both what it means to be a parent and to take care of other people’s kids. Turns out both jobs can be pretty intense. Thank goodness they are also rewarding.

2 thoughts on “Why Hello, Mama Tiger

  1. First, let me say this … teachers have one of the hardest jobs out there. I will never question that. As you say … trying to keep 30 something kids interested, motivated and working hard, it’s a challenging thing. That said, most of the last 15 years has seen me fire off an email or two or three to one of my kids’ teachers, a principal, a vice principal, the District Director of Elementary Education, anybody I could think of because of some perceived wrong that had been committed against one of my kids. It is frustrating, for example, when your fourth grader comes home with pencil all over his pants because he writes on his pants in class because he is bored and the teacher does nothing to address the needs of the more advanced kids in class. So, you and your wife each volunteer one morning a week for an hour so the teacher can spend some time working on advanced work with those kids and you see that your kid’s needs still aren’t met. So, you meet with the principal who blames it on the limited budget the school gets for GATE and you beg her for another option and she says there really isn’t one. So, you ask for a meeting with the Director of Elementary Education and she starts off telling you that there is no other option and then you ask “but I’ve heard there are some schools in the district that have pull out programs for GATE students or classes dedicated to GATE students” and then suddenly both the Principal and the Director of Elementary Education say “Oh yeah, Joseph Kerr has accelerated classes. We could approve a transfer for your son there for fifth grade.” And you want to stand up and scream at them because they weren’t going to tell you about it unless you asked the right question using the right words.

    And don’t get me started on the teachers who think they are incapable of making mistakes. We have had so many instances of teachers not recording homework our kids did, of incorrectly recording test results, of … well, just being human. Which is OK. What isn’t OK is when our kids insist they did something that wasn’t recorded and the teacher refuses to consider the possibility that they have made a mistake.

    I could go on and on and on about this. Yes, I have over-reacted to some of things at times over the years, but you know, if I won’t stand up for my kids when they are still young and defenseless, who will?

    You’re right to be outraged. I look forward to hearing about the emails you send in the years ahead. 😉

    My younger son will be graduating high school in a couple of months. I’ll be done with the public school system. I have been saying for the last year or two that I can’t wait until he graduates because I’m going to send an open letter to the Principal and teachers of his school outlining all of the things they do that is disgusting and unhelpful in the community effort to raise responsible kids. There is a teacher at my kids’ high school who refers to the kids he doesn’t like as “choads.” He does it publicly and frequently in front of students. Google the word. It’s disgusting that a teacher would do that. It completely destroys the idea of demonstrating through words and actions that there are certain standards our kids should live up to.

    You’ve struck a nerve. I need to stop. 😉 Defend and protect your child against those who are distracted or who don’t place the same importance in her as you do. You have the right to do that and that little monster of yours deserves nothing less from her parents.

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    1. Yes, I can only imagine there is a lot of advocating to do for your kids over the years! And by no means am I suggesting all teachers deserve the same level of acclaim or gratitude. Some of what I read above made my skin crawl, especially the name-calling high school teacher. That is actually one of the good things about working without a union, (I’m not arguing for/against unions, I just didn’t have one at my old school); teachers were held accountable for their actions and did not last if they were not doing their best. Clearly our education system has issues.

      It was such a foreign feeling for me to have my blood boil so quickly. I realize it is for good cause, just an interesting experience. Also nice to know I’m not so shy about expressing myself, even if it made me think back to all the parents who were angry with me during my time teaching. Strange to understand both sides so well now, regardless of who was “right” or “wrong.” I think that’s really the big take away. It is such a matter of perspective.

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