Monday, November 4, 2013

Trick and No Treat

I hesitate to write about this because it was not good behavior and I don't want to seem as if I'm excusing it, but I also don't want to forget about it (and that's my primary blogging inspiration--not forgetting shit.)

In the car rider line on Halloween day, Big Kid's teacher knocked on my window.

I rolled it down and said hello and she said, "I just have to let you know that Big Kid and I aren't friends now."

"No?" I asked, with a smile because that was a weird thing to say and I was sure a joke was to follow.

"He's very mad at me."

"He's mad at you? Why?"

"Today some of the kids ran out of line when it was time for the Halloween parade so I told them that our class wouldn't be participating and he wrote me a VERY rude note. Very, very, very rude." Her voice shook a bit when she said the last part.

"Are you freaking kidding me?" (I regret saying freaking in that instance but I was really shocked--this is Big Kid we're talking about.)

She handed the note through the window. It said, "Dear (teacher's name), you canceled the Halloween parade. Now Helena is crying. I hope you're proud of yourself."

I was flabbergasted. He was climbing into the car right then and she snatched the note back from me and walked away.

"What in the world were you thinking? What was that about?!?" I asked him.

"Mom, I was enraged. I wasn't thinking. Helena was crying and crying and I just couldn't handle it."

"You don't disrespect adults! You know what? I don't even know that I agree with canceling the Halloween parade--had you waited ONE HOUR I would have helped you address this situation appropriately. If she was wrong, you outwronged her! You never do that in a disagreement, don't react in a way that makes you the jerk! I can't even believe you did this over a Halloween parade!"

He was crying. "I didn't even care about the parade, mom. It was just walking around the school in our costumes. But Helena has never had Halloween because her mom won't buy her a costume. I don't really understand that part but it makes me sad. Today was her only chance. It was her first time trick or treating and her only chance and she lost it. She was crying so hard, I couldn't stand it. It was wrong to cancel the parade."

Ugh. Leave it up to Big Kid.

"Look, I respect that you wanted to stand up for someone who you thought was being wronged but it comes down to the fact that your teacher is in charge of the class, she issued a punishment, whether that punishment was the most appropriate or not, it was not your place to address it and especially not in that snarky, disrespectful way. You really could've skipped that whole 'hope you're proud' thing, that did you in. I'm not even saying you can't voice your opinion to an adult but you have to know when and how--this was not it. It wasn't going to change anything, there was no immediate danger, and I could have helped you in one hour. I would have said something to both her and the principal about this, by the way and now I really can't."

Mr. Ashley was really upset and disappointed with him. It was decided that his big Halloween night out with friends was canceled (he did get to trick or treat in our neighborhood, because he doesn't have many trick or treat years left) and he's banned from technology for two weeks. He also had to write her an apology letter, which hilariously included the line, "I don't know what I was thinking. I was a mess."

But, secretly?

I'm not mad.

I wish he hadn't done it, and he should not have done it, but I am kind of impressed that he did.


Rachel said...

Big Kid rocks. I really did not think his letter was THAT bad at all- her reaction seemed a bit dramatic. I think you handled it well and he will learn to wait/cool off/think before reacting but good for him for not being afraid to DO SOMETHING!

Anonymous said...

Aw, I feel bad for Helena, too. And the teacher seems over dramatic. I'd love to read his apology note. I hope it included his (good) reason for writing the original so that she can really feel proud of herself now. (ha)

Unknown said...

Yes, to be honest even before knowing his version of the story, I thought the fact that he wrote a note was rude but wasn't sure I would classify the content as very, very, VERY rude. I wouldn't have liked getting the note either though, I do see her point. I also have a feeling she was having a really crappy day by that point.

But the fact that Big Kid's tween rebellion so far includes defending others and wanting people to read with more inflection has me feeling like so far, so good.

Mary Beth said...

I think the teacher completely overreacted two times-once in canceling the Halloween parade (punishing the whole class for a few kids getting out of line, really??) and again with her reaction to Big Kid's letter. Based on what she said to you in the car, I was expecting some rude names or language. Big Kid was just painfully honest...yeah, maybe the "I hope you're proud of yourself" was a little cheeky, but he was genuinely upset about his classmate.

Oh and as a former elementary school principal, I'd be hella pissed at one of my teachers if they had canceled the whole class's participation in the Halloween parade over the choices of a few students. You just don't do that to kids.

Sorry if I ranted, but the actions of that teacher really burned me up. : )

Tara said...

Yup, that teacher seriously blew that out of proportion. And, for the record, teachers aren't supposed to be friends with their students. They're an authority figure. By becoming friends, it decreases their ability to be the authority.

That said, BK reminds me SO much of my daughter. A fighter for justice & sticking up for the wronged, becomes obsessed with one or two things, super smart, tends to correct people, etc. We recently found out that she has Aspergers & I was wondering if you ever thought of having BK tested? Just a thought. Once we found out that A is on the spectrum, SO much started to make sense.

Lisalu said...

I agree 100% with Mary Beth! What an insane over-escalation on the teacher's part. God bless you Ashley, because I would never have been able to support that woman's actions. And that's speaking as a practicing teacher.

You know (I know you know!), Big Kid is going to have a tough life with a heart that big and a sense of justice like he has. It's hard to see so much injustice in the world and be so powerless to rectify it! Give him a big hug from me and tell him thanks for speaking up for someone who needed a voice!

Destingirls said...

Wow I was expecting a much worse note! She can't keep the whole class in during the parade! That's crazy!

asnell said...

We need more BIG KIDS in the world. That teacher was weird "We aren't friends anymore?"...Hello?!?! You are the teacher not his friend. I'd keep both eyes on her.

Tell BIG KID to keep standing up for others. I like it.

Caitlin said...

I think it's awesome he stood up for Helena, but I think you guys were also right to address it with him. The teacher likely had no idea about Helena's situation either, so a better approach would've been to pull her aside and explain rather than write the snarky note...and I think you made that really clear to him. Still, if this is the kind of problems you have to deal with you have a pretty great kid! It's funny though - we don't have kids, but I imagine that if this happened to us I'd react like you and my husband would high-five the kid. For an Army veteran he isn't much for authority. ;)

Cassadie said...

I'm amazed you could keep a straight face with that "we aren't friends anymore" bs. How unprofessional! These wacko teachers sure give the rest of us a bad name. (Though I am sure some would call me a wacko, I've certainly never cancelled a class Halloween parade before. Sheesh.)

Brianna said...

I dont know if i could be mad over that. He did what he was thought was right in a way. Was it rude? yes but his friend was hurt and crying. I might have been rude too