The Pyrenees---Southern France

The Pyrenees---Southern France

Friday, November 12, 2010

My Teacher's "Wish List"

          After a near-death (of the spirit and sanity) encounter with a parent and grandparent tag-team this week, I am writing down my wish list.  I know Santa is watching me, and my self-control and pleasant expression that remains intact until I get back into the privacy of my classroom--when it's empty--is evidence that I've not been naughty.  I'm always nice (at least I always have a hard, candy-coated nice exterior).  Because my job depends on it.

       So, since there is only a little more than a month before Christmas, I wanted to send off my list early.  These are things I would truly appreciate and use (not like those hideous hand-knit sweaters in old-lady colors and styles that I used to get), yet I know they'll be a challenge for the elves to hammer and glue-gun up.  And yet I am still asking for them...

photo by MADsLucky13

1.  Stop thinking I have the time and energy and inclination to plot with your child's  previous teachers from kindergarten, first, and second grade---along with the PE and Music teachers---and together, we form an evil scheme to paint an incorrect "picture" of your son or daughter. Your child's former teachers and myself do not stay up late into the night on the phone, planning how we are going to "get" your child.  There is no conspiracy swirling around, portraying your child as disruptive if they are not. Seriously.  I am so tired when I get home, I barely have the energy to take off my bra when I get home. I am too exhausted to carry out a vendetta against anyone, including your child.

2.  Chew me up without your child watching it.  Don't go off on me over the phone and allow your child to listen to it.  I have a thick skin.  My name has been scratched on bathroom stall walls and surprisingly, kids can't spell "when" correctly but there are other words they definitely can spell! I can take it.  What I can't take is you cutting my legs out from under me.  You undermine me when your child watches as you cuss me out and rant and rave and tell blatant lies.  When your kiddo sees me take that with a polite expression, it tells them they---kids--- can treat me in a similar manner.

Help me provide a "united front."  In public, portray the illusion that we are a team, working together.  In private, you can say anything you want.  I can take it.  Really.  I mean it...

3.  Come and spend a few minutes in my classroom before you decide I am the epitome of evil.  You may find out that your child is not the empty vessel just waiting to be filled with knowledge, as you previously thought.  You might just see that I beg and plead and cajole and bribe your child---and a few others---all day...many times a day.  If every teacher for the last three years has told you that your child has anger management issues/sexually inappropriate behavior/learning obstacles/problems focusing for more than 1.7 seconds at a time...Perhaps it's not evil intentions on my part.  Perhaps you need to turn and really look at your child...

4.  Be an advocate for your son/daughter.  Come up to the school like a rocket because they are reading two years below their grade level.  Yell and scream because you are demanding ways YOU can help them.  Don't holler because I took a bag of chips from your offspring after they were eating them in the middle of my math lesson instead of paying attention and then lied about it.  There are things that are scream-worthy. A bag of Flamin' Hot chips is not.

5.  Take your child to the cultural things like the free museums and the zoo and the nature centers. Expose them to the world in kid-friendly ways. Watching R and X-rated movies is not usually often  ever appropriate for third graders  second graders  first graders   kindergarteners kids.  (Even if you view them during your "family time," it's still warping their minds.)  Talk with your children. Engage in conversations with them.  Ask how they feel and what they think and what they dream of becoming.

       Santa, I know this is a lot to ask for.  So perhaps you could bring one of the above things to me this Christmas, and next year, perhaps another, so by the time I retire, my wish list will be fulfilled?


  1. Sioux, I feel your pain. You know that you are doing your level-headed best to provide an education for your students. For some reason, parents think they can chew teachers up and spit them out. I think the police have the same image. I know you know this, but I will repeat it anyway: Round up all those good notes you have received over the years and refer to them often. Know that you are doing all you can do with the personalities you were given this year. I'm off Mondays and Fridays. Call me if I can assist in anyway on any day.

  2. Hi Sioux,
    Thanks for a bird's-eye view of how a teacher views the parent-teacher roles.
    Yesterday was my meeting with Michael's teacher. While ours was a positive, sharing session with a common goal, I have a better appreciation of what it's like from your side of the desk.
    Hang in there. Teachers are a special group of people and have such a wonderful gift.

  3. Sioux, I keep telling you the same things, over and over: I don't know how you do it. You're a saint. I admire you so much. How can you be so fun and happy when I'm around you? If I was Mrs. Claus, I would make sure all your wishes came true! :)

  4. Sioux, For your sake, I will choose to believe in Santa this year and until your wishlist is fulfilled!

  5. Wow, Sioux, it sounds like you had an amazingly tough week. I pray things improve over the coming months. I spent some time in St. Charles schools this past week, and I started feeling nostalgic about my abandoned teaching career when I saw all those young faces. Thanks for presenting the other side of it and bringing me back down to earth.

  6. Hi Sioux,
    I have been an early childhood teacher for over three decades and I can certainly appreciate your comments. I had two conferences last week. One parent told me that I had put restrictions on her child when I told her that what she perceived as problems were actually his strengths and people like her son become lawyers, architects etc, because they are analytical and left brained thinkers. She said, "He can be anything he wants to be and you can not limit him to lawyer." Honest! And this person is educated. Another one told me that it was her fault that her child has 'issues' (he's a good kid a bit quirky with speech delay) because she didn't respond to him the way he wanted to be responded to as an infant and shut down. HUH? Another parent pulled her kid out of my class and said I was harsh when I said, "Stop chatting now and get your coat on." She said she gets in his face and cajoles him. OMG! I tell them not to run in the hall and their parents say, "then you can hop." They are pushing me towards retirement. I have the happiest classroom ever, lots of laughter and fun learning. Good kids. Crazy parents. Was your story in CR anthology true?

  7. Barb--I will plan on seeing you every Monday and Friday, from 8:30-3:30. (Just kidding.) I DO try and dwell on the positives, the "little lights" that keep me teaching. It's just difficult because the negatives are so much louder and uglier sometimes...

    Donna---Grandparents who can walk upright and get up every morning and live their lives with joy and raise young people without falling down, devastated by sorrow, are also special people.

    Becky and Katie---Thanks. When I unwrap gifts this Christmas, I will keep my fingers crossed that your well-wishes helped my case...

    Dianna--The crazy thing is, no matter how abusive the parents are, no matter how far the river Denial they are, I still see the expectant faces, the faces eager to learn/be approved of, and I dig my heels in deeper. I cannot imagine myself doing anything else and being happy.

    Linda---OMG is right. (Unfortunately I cannot change the font in this section, to make the OMG about 36 point and bold.) I hope you stick in there and don't retire too soon. Schools need teachers like you.


Thanks for your comments. I appreciate you taking the time to stop by...