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Monday, April 18, 2011

He's Lazy Liar!!

Teacher phoned me today as I pulled into the parking lot. She sounded upset and rude. I had mixed feelings as I walked into the school. One part of me was ready to do battle on behalf of my son, ready to tell off an unfriendly and unreasonable Teacher. Another part of me said that it was important to understand Teacher's perspective before I clobbered her verbally... eyes afire, arms about my son and every muscle of my verbal skills at the ready to shoot arrows of deep hurt into her soul.

"Seek first to understand, and then be understood" I muttered to myself.

Teacher was upset because Little Boy had forgotten his homework THREE times in a row. It's a long story of absentmindedness. Understandably, it is hard for any adult to understand how a child can forget his homework THREE times in a row, especially when today's excuse was "My mom used my homework to clean the windows". It like saying "The dog ate my homework". Gee... which Teacher would believe you huh?

Nonetheless, every word of that was true. This set of homework is printed and distributed every week to students. It has simplified newspaper articles and English grammar exercises for students. It is printed on newsprint paper. Our domestic helper found it lying around and she did actually use it to wash the windows.

Whatever it is, Teacher hit the roof and hauled me in to complain. I listened carefully and then I sent Little Boy outside to wait. I explained to Teacher that Little Boy is no liar and he is not at all lazy. He is, however, very dreamy and he has been under a lot of stress lately because he worries about his exams a good deal. Also, since his first scolding 2 weeks ago, he has been petrified. The more he worries about getting scolded, the more he is distracted. The more he is distracted, the more he forgets. The more he forgets, the more he gets scolded. I explained that I understood why Teacher was mad and that if I were Teacher, I would be too. "Whaaaaat? You forgot your homework THREE times and you tell me your mom used it to wash the windows?! Can't you think up a better excuse?!" I would have said, if I were Teacher.

I explained to Teacher that Little Boy has been too ashamed to even want to go have lunch at the coffeeeshop near the school, lest he run into the classmates who had witnessed his humilation. I also explained that Little Boy had miserably told me that his Teachers don't like him. Then I told Teacher that Little Boy is conscientious to a fault. As I talked, Teacher's face softened. Then she nodded her head and we worked out a way to put my gong-gong back on track.

We then explained to Little Boy together that a Teacher who didn't care would not bother to address the issue with me. That sometimes, love can be tough, but it is still love. I'm hoping that it'll all work out from now on. Sigh! When do gong-gongs grow out of their gong-gongness?

14 comments:

Open Kitchen Concept said...

Oh Poor You and Little Boy! I can understand how Little Boy feels. When I was in Pri 3, a horrible teacher told the whole class I was a forgetful girl and til this day, I dislike him. The thing is, I forgot my books a few times because after the first scolding, I kept checking my bags to make sure I brought the books and each time, I forgot to put the bloody books back in! But I didnt do it on purpose and my mum didn't storm to school to stand up for me because the teacher called me a careless and forgetful child in front of my classmates but never bothered to call my mum!

petunialee said...

Oh dear! Poor you! And I'll bet you were a super conscientious kid like Little Boy too.

My SINFONIA said...

I can understand why the teacher thought Ah Boy was making things up or perhaps mocking her though...used to clean the windows...so funny except it was true. Poor Ah Boy...to be misunderstood and not believed.

petunialee said...

Yeah... We had a good laugh over it afterwards to try and defuse the tension. He told me that he was glad that I spoke to Teacher. He does not feel so bad anymore.

Blur Ting said...

Teachers deal with so many different kids and have heard just about every excuse in the world, that's why they behave this way. It's a good thing that you went in and set things right again. I am bracing myself for a meeting with Sk's teacher tomorrow morning. SK's a bigger and older version of Little Boy!

petunialee said...

Ting - I'm sure it'll be fine. SK is such a good fellow.

Theanne and Baron said...

Dear Little Boy...I cannot imagine the pressure your son feels about school! So happy you and Teacher talked it out and Little Boy has that relief!

Wen-ai said...

I'm sure Little Boy felt really BAD for forgetting his homework... and it is very understanding of you to explain the situation and the truth to the Teacher. Will definiteky make matters worse if you start scolding Little Boy as well. Hmm, how about a little notebook to jolt down all the homework given everyday?

petunialee said...

Theanne - Thank you. It is not easy being child and under an adult's thumb.

petunialee said...

Wen-Ai, he did feel very bad. He was very sad ever since the first scolding.

M said...

Too often, teachers don't realise the effect they have on their little charges. My second girl had a very bad start in Primary 1, and it took her years, yes - years!, to recover. Coming from a small, nurturing kindergarten and had a culture shock going to a large mainstream primary school. And she had the misfortune of getting a form teacher who was used to teaching P6s, and who obviously couldn't handle kids who needed a bit more help settling in. And she had the further misfortune of having a Chinese teacher who made her stand in front of class for forgetting to bring her book - on the VERY FIRST day of school. Actually, she did have her book, but because we helped her pack her bag, and in her panic, she couldn't find it.
So she was constantly berated, and some of her classmates - sensing a weak member - used to ostracise her as well. We realised this only some months later, when we wondered why she wasn't talking about any friends in school and so asked who sat with at recess. Her reply broke our hearts. She said she just walked around, as whenever she tried to sit in with some of them, they would close ranks and said the seat was taken. And so she often to spend her recesses queueing at the payphone to call Mommy - her source of comfort and shelter amidst all that emotional assault.
Thank God her teachers later on were more open and understanding, and together, we managed to help her slowly recover. But it was a long and painful journey. We had to help them understand that when she felt she was under attack, she would keep very quiet, and could not even answer when asked questions. That was her coping mechanism - to build a wall to shut everything out - but it would appear she was insolent.
The funny thing is, as we later found out, that particular teacher in P1 was actually popular with some of the other girls. We didn't think she was actually a mean person, but perhaps just uninformed and impatient.
As Christ said, nearly 2000 years ago this Friday, Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do.

petunialee said...

M - This is a very heartbreaking story. Poor child! Little Boy went through that the past 2 weeks and I was quite upset with Teacher for that. It was all that I could do to listen carefully to Teacher FIRST. I did so want to be as mean to the Teacher as she had been to my son.

Malar said...

Poor little boy! Me too have an experience like that but my music lesson teacher never called in my mum!
I forgot to bring 'recorder /flute' for music class twice in a row.... She got so annoyed that she shifted me to sit in "C" group from "A" group! I hate her till now!
Luckily you and the teacher settle this problem fast! Little boy should felt so relieved now!

petunialee said...

Malar - Oh! That is awful!! Little Boy has been happier. He was so upset after the first scolding that he couldn't even do his spelling. Every other page was 15/15 but that one page was 11/15and then he got scolded again. It was a vicious circle. But now that Teacher understand him better, I think it'll be fine. He is happier and less absent-minded, and more focused.