No One Wants My Kid’s Teacher

shutterstock_116282509-1I’m exhausted. We just got home from Meet the Teacher Day – the annual pre-back-to-school tradition where we find out who our child’s teacher will be.

Boy Wonder was pretty pleased with his designated teacher while BooBoo wasn’t quite so lucky.

Not only is BooBoo’s best friend not in his class, he was assigned to Ms. Strict’s (OK, not really her name, but she’s known for being super strict so let’s go with it) class. Of course, I didn’t know better and neither did he. As I was drying his tear-stained cheeks from the blow of not being in 1st grade with his bestie, I was approached by a group of Kindergarten moms I’d made friend with last year. “Who’d you get for 1st?” they asked. I told them Ms. Strict and suddenly, total silence. Smiles dropped from their faces. Light dimmed from their eyes. One of them bravely let out a defeated sigh, while the others engaged in side-eye activity and nonverbal cues resembling something like, “Eeks.”

Oh my gawd, what did these women know that I didn’t? “What?!” I asked in a panic, “What do you know?! Tell me everything!”

The brave one spoke up, “She’s a good teacher, but she’s super strict. She expects a lot. I wrote a note to the principal pleading that my son not be in her class.” “I did too,” said another, “My son is way too sensitive to be in her class.” “Yeah, I did the same for mine,” followed a third.

Well, NO WONDER my kid got placed in Ms. Strict’s class, apparently I was the only parent who didn’t ask for her child to be placed elsewhere. Oh man, Ms. Strict is going to have her work cut out for her with my kid.

BooBoo brought home four sad notes last year for poor classroom behavior, which OK, maybe isn’t the worst thing in the world, but still. He was notoriously social and slow to finish his work due to his overwhelming desire to hum the Star Wars theme song on a continuous loop whilst cutting itty bitty slivers of construction paper into neat piles. But he was smart, eager, happy, and above all, sensitive. He fell to pieces whenever he was disciplined by the teacher and yearned for her approval, yet had problems staying on track long enough to earn it.

How is he ever going to manage with a super strict teacher? Is this teacher the worst thing for him, or is she the best?

I’ve been feeling anxious about BooBoo starting first grade for a while now, knowing the emotional struggles we went through last year. Last night before bed, I prayed for God to place BooBoo in the class that was best for him. Not the class that was most convenient for me, or easiest for him, but the class that would give him the tools he needed to succeed.

I said this prayer because my experience with Boy Wonder taught me the value of inconvenience for a greater good.

Boy Wonder was a holy terror in Kindergarten. Sad notes, behavioral contracts and regular parent-teacher conferences were the norm where this kid was concerned. When 1st grade came along he was placed in Ms. Gentle’s (again, not her name but you get the point) kind and loving touchy-feely classroom where positive feedback ran high and discipline fell short. Second grade was much the same, his teacher seemed to ignore poor classroom behavior because he was smart and creative. Then came third grade, arguably the hardest school year for our entire family. There were broken hearts, endless tears, educational contracts, and even brief talks of military school. It was ugly and terrible and the longest year of our lives all because of a teacher who I swore I hated that ended up being the biggest blessing in my son’s life.

Boy Wonder’s third grade teacher was a total game changer. She transformed my unruly, disrespectful student into a young man who wanted to do better and finally believed that he could.

Maybe this school year needs to be a little painful for BooBoo and maybe it’s not my job to stop it. I have faith in my son’s ability to turn himself around, especially when paired with the right teacher for the job. Is Ms. Strict the answer to my prayer? Stay tuned.

Are you happy with your child’s teacher this year?

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