Conflicting Roles

Becoming a parent changes your outlook to things that happen as a teacher. The way you handle situations changes because that could actually be your child. The way a child is encouraged alters, the praise heaped on them, the discipline required; everything changes when you become a parent.

Particularly when your child reaches school age.

The Boy has just recounted a tale to me of a fight that happened at lunchtime, that he became involved in when trying to prevent his best friend from becoming hurt. Of course, the two little thugs turned on The Boy and pulled his coat, scramming his hand and pushing him to the floor, hurting his knee in the process.

It was at this point that he raced off to find a midday supervisor to tell her what was going on.

So how do you handle that as a parent?

I know what I've done in the past as a teacher, but my reactions as a parent are different. Vastly different.

I'm cross that the dinnerlady told him to go and get them and bring the boys to her. He's five years old and had just been hurt by them, they're not going to listen to him. (But how many times have I given that instruction myself to a child?)

I'm cross that those children turned on my son when he tried to help. (So do I tell him not to get involved and run to get a dinnerlady the minute he spots it happening? Or do I praise him for standing up to people who were hurting someone else? What if this means he then gets hurt? Or blamed for being involved in a fight? He's never been in a fight in his life!)

I'm cross that I've called them thugs. (They're only children and God only knows what's going on in their lives that they think being violent to someone else is ok! I'm reminded of this excellent post by Miss Night Mutters which I thoroughly agreed with as a teacher, yet as a parent am having a hard time remembering.)

Being a parent and a teacher? It's a blessing in disguise.

But sometimes it's a pain in the arse, especially when your child goes to the school you work in.

Any advice?

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  1. says

    I haven't got advice exactly but I think you can be proud of the way The Boy handled it. He tried to help a friend in need and then when he got out of his depth went and told an appropriate adult. He wasn't afraid to tell them.
    I think the supervisor was wrong to send him back to get the bullies.
    The way I explain these things to Little Man is to explain that they haven't yet learnt not to hit and kick etc, like he has had to learn, sometimes he gets a bit too boisterous and not sure where play fighting with Dad stops,so an adult needs to know about it so they can be taught.

  2. says

    We have a couple of bullies in G's class and I've had to tell the teachers what G tells me, but ultimately I'm in their hands, hope they know what to do because these kids are only 4 after all. i wouldn't want to be a teacher and I have a lot of respect for people who are, it's a tough gig! Love to the boy and all of you c

    • TheBoyAndMe says

      Thanks chickadee. I think I'm going to have a subtle word on Monday because we have rules about this and if those boys have broken them then there's a sanction which needs to happen. Likewise there may be continuing issues that she needs to know about.

  3. Mammywoo says

    oh god this has really made me think. It's so true. As a parent I feel the same. Want to grab them by the scruff of their necks, not that I would but the powerful feelings of protection set your mind in to a rage, but then they are kids. Advice? Keep telling him to go to the lunch lady and learn and educate others I guess. So hard! Love thee x thanks for teaching me the position teachers are in, I'm less likely to charge in like a bull now x

  4. says

    This is why I'm glad I don't teach at my kiddos school – as much as it would be convenient for some things and I'd never miss a thing BUT I get emotionally involved when similar things have happened to the boy and I have referred to children in a way I could never do as a teacher. Tricky one. I'd be very proud of the boy and show support but try and voice feelings away from him! X

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