As my blogger name plainly states, I am a momma. I’m a momma to two beautiful little guys — one of which is in pre-k. I’m also a momma who has not long been out of the school system, herself. As a matter of fact, I was enrolled in high school when the, “No Child Left Behind” act came into being. Let me be the first to say, that the phrase is nothing if not less than accurate.
Also, allow me to be the first to say, that even though I played the school system (and it’s educators) as a joke during my time as a student, I’m also a parent who tolerates no bullshit from her children and expects them to be on best behavior while in teacher’s and fellow pupil’s presence. I do not expect, nor do I desire, that any educator cater to and lift my child up above any other children. I expect them as teachers and mentors to communicate with me on my children’s behavior — whether it be good or bad, amazing or appalling. I also demand that said educators never, EVER give up on my child or children because of problems, issues, hardheadedness, or an inability (whether it be self-induced or accidental) to learn.
I do not view the school and it’s educators as a glorified daycare. Absolutely, if my child is misbehaving please contact me and my husband and I will deal with it at home. We’ll set up conferences, meetings… whathaveyou… to get the matter resolved. I do not expect any teacher to take my place as parent because, quite frankly, parenting is a role I take pretty damn seriously. This is why I’ve long since left behind partying, drinking, and the like: to take care of the children that I have produced. It is not at all my intent to withdraw from my kids and turn them over wild to the world so as to escape the sometimes dreadful and always tiring task of parenting. I brought them in this world… I’m going to go to the greatest depths to see them through it until they can go it alone. Believe me when I say that far too many people these days view the education system as a convenient mini vacay from their hellions. Very seldom is school viewed as it’s intended purpose: to teach and be taught. With that being said, it is also fully on the teachers to take the job that they were educated for and are currently being paid for (no matter how little) seriously, thereby taking on their task at hand: tackling and winning over even the most stubborn child.
Now, I’m not a teacher. I don’t want to be. To those of you who are good teachers: I salute you — no sarcasm intended. You guys do what I could, and would never, do. Those of you who take your professions seriously, thank you. I’ve had a handful of great teachers and I loved them. They pushed me where I needed and pulled me back when it was best. They helped me get from point A to point B and taught me how to get to points C through Z on my own. They set a path — the believed I could. To those educators, I am forever grateful. I’ve also had teachers who couldn’t pull their own heads out of their asses — and to those glorified babysitters I say, “Piss off.” To those of you who have given up on me and so many others because we needed a different lesson — or made your day just a little bit harder for you? Yeah. You guys need a new career choice, because teaching obviously ain’t your forte.
I’ve said all that to say this: Gabe is, as most of you know, in pre-k. And he is so excited. Gabe is also, as most of you know, difficult. He is hard-headed, strong-willed, and has a tendency to be downright defiant. He has a temper like his momma and can show it off, to boot. He wants it his way or no way and by God you better give it to him. But amazingly enough, even with all of those obnoxious traits, he is also one of the sweetest hearts I know. He’s smart, and he knows it. He’s tender, and funny, and loves to laugh. He’s a cuddler and a truly loving little soul. Hardheaded or not, he’s certainly not a child that should be given up on. He’s got potential for days and it’s just as evident as his stubborn attitude. Again, I will clarify — I will not allow my child to terrorize a class or his teacher. I expect him to behave and to learn. I do not want people to see him coming and think, “Sonuvabitch, Gabe’s coming.” I want people to see his potential and his sweet heart. I want him to learn how to use that strong will with wisdom. But I also want his teachers to work with me and Evan. To work with Gabe. Not to cater to or ignore his problems. Someone who will help us figure out how to work on these issues and how to help Gabe grow and thrive.
His pre-k teacher is a genuinely good heart. I believe that or I’d have pulled Gabe out of school after our conversation this afternoon. But today I was given an ultimatum: either he starts to listen or he’ll need more “mommy time.” Code for, “We can’t handle your son — we might kick him out of pre-k.” If this were the middle of the year I might be a little bit on board with that train of thought. But we’re only a month in. And I’ll be honest, I”m a bit peeved that already they’re giving up on him (but not admitting it), and hurt for him because he was so excited about this new adventure. I’m also aggravated with Gabe. Because even though he’s too young to know it, he’s setting himself up for failure after failure after failure… just because his way is better. Well, I don’t know about you, but I’ve never known a four-year-old’s way to be better. Usually, it’s stickier, sneakier, and all-around messier. Believe me when I say I’m equally as aggravated with the system as I am my child. But to throw your hands up already? To say my kid just isn’t going to cut it? I call bullshit. I’m not one of those parents to demand exceptions for my child. If he’s misbehaving then we’ll work together to find some kind of discipline to get him inline. But please don’t act like I’m that back-alley, hands off parent that threw him into school to be done with him for a few hours a day. And don’t leave my child behind. He deserves better than that. Granted, he also deserves a couple of good spankings. But throwing my kid to the curb is not going to solve the issue(s) at hand; it will only intensify them.
I’ve watched for years, as a student and now as a momma, these kids who are constantly catered to. Revered as golden objects even though their behavior and intelligence is average at best. I’ve witnessed kids behave like a horse’s ass and still move ahead in school. Whether they’re simply getting passed on to the next victim or not is besides the point: they’re moving up. They’re being given some form of “privilege” whether they merit it or not. All I ask is the same for my kid. My kid’s not a bully. He’s not hateful. He isn’t a holy-terror and hasn’t tied up other kids. He’s difficult, for sure. But difficult kinks can be worked out. That hard head can be transformed into a good kind of strong will that will compliment his potential; not blemish it. I am hoping for better news in the near future. That maybe someone will have the heart and mindset to handle my boy. I am also hopeful that Gabe will come out of his own kinks. That Ev and I can help him maneuver away from these awful habits. I don’t expect the school system to raise my child; that’s my job. I do expect them to see his potential and help him learn how to mold it into his own greatness. I expect greatness out of Gabe because I believe he can deliver it. I expect these teachers to be great mentors.. to help shape him into what I know he can be. Everybody needs that great teacher that just believes in them. I wish that for him.