It finally happened to me. Well not exactly to me but about me… The past week I have sent home a lot of notes for inappropriate behavior at school. All last week I panicked over the idea of a parent confronting me about their child’s behavior. I worried that they would be angry with me for “getting their child in trouble” instead of realizing that the student’s behavior was what got them into trouble. I was up at night praying that I wouldn’t have a parent in my classroom angry with me in the morning. I worried for a week about parents wondering why I had any right to punish their child because I am not the paid teacher. Friday’s phone call from a parent must have been a test run. And today, there was the real thing…
I was in the middle of dealing with another student’s behavior when the aide called down the hall to me. I was standing in the hall with a student who had purposely left his behavior note in the classroom and then was blatantly lying about how he already had one. From a little ways down the hall I heard the teacher’s aide calling my name and I held up my hand to let her know I was busy. I finished with the student and went to see what she needed.
By the look on her face, I could tell something interesting was going on. She told me that a parent had come in to talk to me. My stomach hit the floor. I honestly thought I was going to loose my lunch on the floor in the hall. I may have been a little dramatic with my repeating of the fact that I was going to throw up but honestly; I probably could have in that moment. I knew exactly who she was talking about. That parent had been standing outside the room when I chased down the other student. It was a parent I had met before and heard several interesting stories about over my time in the room.
This was not the parent you want coming in to talk to you.
I stood there and said I was going throw up a few more times. Then the principal came around the corner and told us he was coming so the aide suggested we go into the teacher’s lunch room. So we basically just hid in there until he was gone. Not probably my most responsible adult decision ever but at least I avoided what I assumed would be a lot of yelling; yelling directly at me. I left the lunch room and went to find my classroom teacher to check in with her about it before tutoring but she was no where to be found. I went through tutoring somewhat terrified that she got yelled at because of me. When tutoring was over, I remembered that she had a conference with a parent. Thankfully, she came in after the conference and told me that the parent just wanted to make sure I was not picking on his child in particular. My teacher explained to the the parent that there were several students who were trying to see what they could get away with and he was not alone in that regard.
I am so very glad that he did not yell at her. I would have felt way worse. Now I just have to deal with the feeling that I already have a parent who thinks I am the kind of person who would pick on a student. It really bothers me as well that the student was in the room when he described that I might simply not like the student. I constantly work on making the students take responsibility for their actions and the times I made this student move his clip were times when he hit another student and admitted to doing it. I am grateful that my classroom teacher was able to get the student to admit in front of the parent that he was doing the things that I saw him do or he admitted to doing already. Kids are easy to handle because they often realize what they are doing is wrong and even if they do not own up to it the feel a little guilty. Parents are completely different.
I am still definitely afraid of parents. I am still a little afraid of being too hard on the kids. Truly though, I am too stubborn to fail at this. Today was a better day. I moved more clips today than almost any other day I have been there but things are getting a little more settled down and I think the kids are starting to get that I mean what I say. Tomorrow my classroom teacher will be back in the room full time. The past few days have been rough and I have definitely felt like I may not be able to do this but I am too darn stubborn to let 27 six year olds win. I will not loose even if I have to hide from parents in the lunchroom a few more times before I figure it out.