I hate being the mom that complains. I really do try to wait and see if the situation will work itself out before I intervene. This situation was not working itself out. I was growing tired of the whole “I don’t want to go to school!” spiel each Sunday night.
Hannah has 3 fifth grade teachers—but only cried every other day about one of them. Mrs. X has a tough outer shell and a soft center that no one had really ever verified existed. She’s the type who will make a federal case out of any mistake students make and humiliate them sometimes to tears.
Hannah already has a big fear of messing up and it was exacerbated by this teacher who couldn’t let anything go. Each day I heard about conversations and incidents between Mrs. X and students (sometimes Hannah). Mrs. X seemed to have an attitude that let you know your lack of common sense grossly inconvenienced her. I had witnessed this in the couple of times I dealt with her.
It also really bothered me that Mrs. X referred to students as “special” when she felt they were being especially dim. I asked Hannah, “What does she mean ‘special’?” and Hannah said, “You know, mentally challenged.” Is it just me or does that seem inappropriate and offensive? I know kids are annoying, that’s why I don’t teach. But if you do teach, I feel like you have to be able to deal with kids being kids.
Aaaaaanyway, last year, parents of a friend of Hannah’s moved their daughter out of Mrs. X’s class because she had upset her so much. I seriously contemplated doing the same thing. But then I thought, what about the other students? Removing Hannah took care of my kid, but what about the others? What did it teach Hannah about dealing with difficult people and circumstances?
I felt pretty confident Mrs. X would not be receptive to my concerns, so I contacted the principal. The next day Mrs. X called Hannah into her room for a talk. She apologized for being scary and making Hannah not want to come to school. I forget the rest of the conversation, but I do recall that Hannah felt her apology was genuine and she felt a million times better about dealing with Mrs. X.
It’s been 2 weeks since the talk and Hannah says Mrs. X is still a changed woman. Hannah says she feels like now she can “talk to her like a normal person”. I realized that there was a pretty big chance that Mrs. X didn’t realize how she was coming across or understand how it affected students. I appreciate that she has worked to create a different environment.
She might not be too crazy about me now, but at least I don’t have to see that stressed out look on my kid’s face everyday.