Friday, January 18, 2008

Write or wrong?

Yesterday my daughter came home from school and let me know that there had been a little trouble with her homework from the day before. The trouble was that she didn’t exactly do it all; she started out fine (she was supposed to write her spelling words, 10 words, 2 times each, not exactly a 500 word essay). She wrote the first 4 words, and she wrote the next 2 in cursive, then the rest in more “cursive” (scribble). She tells me that her teacher was upset (really?), so I say “I can understand that, did she make you redo it?”

“Yes,” my sweet princess tells me, “and I have to lose my recess for the rest of the week.”

Now, I am all for consequences, but this seems a little severe to me. First of all, if you don’t do your homework at all, the penalty is one day’s recess, second, I am not in favor of taking away the only 20 minuets of free play given to a 7 year old in a 6 1/2 hour day. Not just my 7 year old, but any 7 year old. You might say I am an advocate for more and longer recesses.

Because I am a good mother, one who has vowed to stand up for her children in the face of injustice, I decide I will have a chat with this recess revoking meanie. Bright and early I head off to the elementary school; I am greeted by the RRM who says “I guess you heard about you know who’s homework.”
Why, yes, I did.

---Disclaimer--I mostly like this teacher, she is a little “enthusiastic” at times, and I don’t know if I could stand it at a dinner party, but for the 2nd grade it works quite nicely.
I explain that I want to support her, but I think a weeks worth of recess doesn’t really fit the crime.

“I know” she says “and I didn’t really want to do it, but you see, the last time she did this”-----WHAT?! The last time? I was not aware there WAS a last time! At this point my sweet angel begins to bat her innocent little lashes at me ooooh!--- “the last time this happened, I told her that next time she would lose a week of recess, I probably shouldn’t have made such a big threat, but I was hoping there wouldn’t be a next time.”

Anyone who knows our daughter knows there is almost always a next time, she has what we like call "A mind of her own”.

I am trapped now, I have come to put my foolish foot down, without being armed with all of the facts, and while I still think a week of recess is too much, Miss Smarty Pants was aware that the offer was on the table and she took her chances anyway. Lucky for me you have to have a cool head to teach elementary school and the recess revoker says, “How about yesterday’s and today’s recesses and you guys come up with a plan for what the consequences will be if it happens again?” Perfect.

Was I wrong to go down there? Should I have backed up the teacher and said “No recess for you?!” Was she wrong to throw around threats that she hopes not to have to follow through on?

I think we were both wrong. I should have just called her and gotten the whole story before I went off all half cocked. She should be careful what kind of ultimatums she throws around, I mean, in 2nd grade logic doesn’t always prevail.

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