Friday, October 01, 2010

Just like ME!

Every teacher knows that, to a great extent, the whole setup is a bluff. Any thinking teacher has realized that the kids really could just stand up and walk out and what could you REALLY do about it, anyway? It's only indoctrination and expectation that keeps schools running at all.

So guess whose kid called the teacher's bluff today?

Yeah. Mine.

Part of me is mortified. Part of me, secretly, is pleased.

I had sent the teacher a note saying Caleb could sit out of PE today and watch if he wanted. So when he was struggling and wanted to sit out and watch, she didn't let him (erg?). She said he needed to learn "life lessons." (I, as parent, say that THAT is not her job. Her job is to teach physical education. Not life lessons. That's my job. I'm the mom.)

The rest of this I'm getting from the teacher, not from Caleb, who just reported, "I hate it."

Teacher said she told him he needed to participate. He said, "Why?"

She said, "You need to learn life lessons about getting up and moving on when things don't go well, and about not giving up" (I think parents should deal with quitting issues, not PE teachers).

Caleb said, "I'm not going to learn it here because I hate this class." (He had a good point, you know? He was aware that he was closed to learning anything at that point, so why try to force him? Waste of everyone's time.)

She said, "I can't give you points if you don't participate...."

Caleb replied, "Why would I care about that?" (GO CALEB! I so agree. Plus he totally called her bluff. Now what's she supposed to say?) (I know, I know. I should be ashamed of him instead of proud of him. But he made it clear that he doesn't buy into a stupid, broken system. Points? Really? That's supposed to be a motivation? Is there anything more artificial? Plus he was inviting her--okay challenging her--to give him a good reason why staying in a game of dead chicken tag was important, and she really couldn't. So why would he go with that? I could probably have found a reason he could accept, but when she didn't, he wasn't interested in negotiating anymore.)

She resorted to guarding the door so he wouldn't walk out again (after the site supervisor caught him and took him back to class.).

Anyway, I just listened to her. I'm not big on confrontation. But I wanted to say, "Well, if you had done what my note said, you would have been spared all of that, now, wouldn't you? Guarding the door, indeed....."  If she had listened to me, they both would have had a better day. And more dignity. And more likelihood that Caleb would try again.

Unfortunately, fighting with the teacher kind of makes it hard to go back to class. And we missed the deadline for switching him to another class. What do I do now?

All the while, I'm listening to all of this and trying to be a good, grown-up mommy about it, and in the back of my mind, I can see the little blond girl storm off the running field and shout at her teacher, "I will not do this any more. You can't reasonably ask me to do something that you couldn't do yourself!"

Yeah, I was in fourth grade then, too.

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