Saturday, August 27, 2011

My son is a worry wart

For the past week, my son has been sharing concerns of his 3rd grade teacher. She has the reputation of being strictest (a.k.a. meanest) teacher in the school. I have some slight concerns about the teacher - but not because of reputations for strictness. They are the same concerns for every new teachers my kids have.

Steve and I worry that we are sending the kids to the right school. Since we were both raised with Catholic schools, the setting seems natural to us. We chose this school more for convenient location to my work - but since then, I've grown quite fond of the school principals, the teachers and the families who also send their kids there. I'm still trying to figure out how the school relates to the parish - but only in terms of operational budgets. The pastoral leader of the parish is a lovely gentleman, and I have no concerns over trusting him. But is the school the right one for my kids? Do they get what they need to help me encourage a sense of curiosity about the world and how they fit? Does this school help me raise them into being good citizens? Does this school do more than teach?

Back to this particular teacher. I've seen her lead school morning prayers. She leads the "regular" prayers (The Lord's Prayer, the Hail Mary, even the Pledge of Allegiance) with grandeur and dramatic pauses. It's a little over the top. I often fight a sense of urgency to leave during the prayer - but I have to tell myself that her deliberations are only taking 2 extra minutes. I can spare 2 minutes for Jesus....

It's not just her public personality that makes me wonder about her intentions. I've had too many parents come to me with their concerns. I'm the school advisory board president. I have no influence over curriculum or hiring policies. While I frequently assist in bringing programs to the schools, or promoting the school to other community partners, I don't mess with the sticky stuff.

I don't have to like my kids' teacher. If my son is worried that he's going to get detention - then I'm happy he is aware of consequences of behavior. He'll have to figure out how to choose priorities between getting along with the teacher, and getting along with his friends. Time for another step of social behavior lessons.

Will this teacher encourage my kids to learn? Or will she just "teach" curriculum? Will she encourage my kids to explore? Or will she shut down their curiosity questions? Will she tell me when it seems my kids are bored? Or will she think they are trouble makers? I wonder how many conferences I'll be requesting.

If my son is a worry wart, he gets it from me. I only hope that as my kids go through this year - and in the next couple of years - they talk to me or Steve when they have concerns at school. Whether it be with a teacher, a classmate, or a student on the bus, I hope they never feel scared to tell us what's going on.

Why don't I write of worry for my daughter? That's a whole different person. She's already developed a nice hard exterior if she is worried. I can only tell if something is wrong by her silence following a probing question.

Third grade. I remember mine a little too well. I hope I don't mess up too badly when the issues start to get tougher. This might be the year they loose a little innocence. It could be the year they figure out Santa Claus; toothfairies, leprachauns, and the Easter Bunny. Egads, this might be the year they want to know how babies get inside the mommy's tummy in the first place. This could be the year, they start liking boys or girls, or just start to identify their sexual identity.

It's hard to imagine these situations coming. When they sleep, I still see their baby faces.

#71 of 90in90 for #LUBlogTribe

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