Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Hey! Teacher! Leave them kids alone.

One of the great joys of this trip is getting to be with the kids all day.  Yes, I’ve been home with them since Stylish was born, but since the day she trotted off to Junior Kindergarten, she has had her own thing going on.  That is healthy and normal.  Nonetheless, I wouldn’t have minded the odd hint about what she did at school.  Every day, she would get off the bus and we would have the following conversation from the Stock Dialogue Catalogue:

Mom:  “Stylish!  Welcome home.  How was your day?”
Stylish:  “Fine.”
Mom:  “What did you do today?”
Stylish:  “Nothing.”

During her first year at school, my mother was still Head of School, and in that way I would gather some tidbits about interesting happenings around campus.  Fire drills, funny things that happened at recess... that sort of thing.  Sadly, on mom’s retirement, my news source dried up.

Via report cards and talking with teachers, I had a pretty good idea of what sort of a student Stylish was.  I thought I was pretty well acquainted with her strengths and weaknesses.  When the prospect of homeschooling loomed, I reassured myself that, as a well-educated person, I could do this.  Piece of cake.

Wrong, wrong, wrong.

Oh, yes.  I have all of the materials I need.  I have a school willing to hold my hand and help me along.  I have a great student.  I have the time, energy and interest to do this thing right.

What I lack is the authority.

Kids are willing to listen to teachers in a way that they will never grant their parents.  Perhaps they know us too well.  Maybe watching mom yawn and stretch and scratch and wash every morning makes her all too human to be listened to with solemn attention.

Whatever the reason, this is a problem.  Because I am Stylish’s teacher.  And I need her to listen to me.  So, heaven help me, Erik and I find ourselves invoking the holy names of Real Teachers with alarming frequency in order to get things done.

“What would Mrs M say about you doing a headstand in the middle of Handwriting?”
“Would Mr P let me cut your meat for you?”
“Do you think Mrs L would accept that sort of tone from you?”

It is mortifying.  And what is worse, it works.  And just in case I were tempted to think that I was doing all right, Stylish provides examples of The Proper Way To Do It, as learned from these sages.

“Mom, we don’t say ‘perfect letters.’  We say ‘impeccable letters.’”

For crying out loud.

 When filling out her Valentines, the teacher card went straight in the mail to Mrs M.  She Skypes with her Real Class back home.  She wonders, “What is happening at school right now?”  Now, I know perfectly well that this is also her way of coping with being away from home.  And I am sure that Mr Wonderful and Mrs Dazzling also saw a less-than-impeccable side of Stylish from time to time.

I’d like to think we’ve found our way together.  We are getting more work done, bickering less, and having fun.  (Plus, I showed her a rocket launch and let her touch a shark.  Kerpow!  Double Awesome Field Trip  Attack!)

Even if I am not a Real Teacher, hopefully I can be a Good Enough Teacher to keep her in line with her peers so that reintegration won’t be a disaster.

I’m not in it for the glory, after all.  I’m just glad that I get to be Mom all day for a little while longer.

P.S.  Before I was able to post this, I took Stylish to get a haircut.  In the course of chatting, the lady divined that Stylish was in first grade.  She asked Stylish who her teacher was.  After a pause, she said, "Mommy."

Oh.  Yeah.  I'm official now, baby!

1 comment:

bunny9 said...

Welcome to school 101. The teacher always know more that Mom or Dad.