What kind of parent will I be?
If I am being honest with myself, I've been preoccupied lately. My wife is entering the final trimester before I add the title of father to my resume. I find myself looking over my students wondering if baby Tate will be like this one or that one. Will she be academically inclined? Athletically? Will she have a learning disorder? A social one?
And then, after weeks of teaching Romeo and Juliet to disinterested, well, mostly disinterested 9th graders, I sit down to take a phone call from a parent. I had made a decision that could possibly benefit my students on their final exam, provided that for this last week each of them paid attention, worked hard, and participated. On the last day before the final, a few students chose to, well, rest their weary eyes. It seemed unfair to punish the entire class, so I simply decided to disallow those students from the potential benifit.
I wonder if, as a parent, I would phone a teacher who chose this path if it were my daughter. Would I not understand that for every action, consequences--good and bad--will follow. Well, what if baby Tate had never done anything like that before? Would it change the outcome?
I can only imagine how much I will want to stand up for and defend baby Tate should she ever be in a situation that is trying. I can't imagine my parents defending me in that situation. Heck, the first time I received a detention was in the 8th grade. My Spanish class had been talkative, and the teacher was frustrated. "That's it. No more talking. The next person to talk will get a detention. Now, turn to pagina 34 (yes, I still remember the exact page--now.)" Well, with all of the talking, I missed the page. I didn't raise my hand to ask...instead, I called over the settling din, "Que pagina?"
"Andres, you will have a detention tomorrow." I explained it to my parents. They said I should have raised my hand--they were right.
Parental involvement in the education is essential, but at some point, teachers have to be allowed to adminster their directives the way they want. And at some point, parents have to allow kids to learn responsibility.