Teacher Mama

I think that sometimes my son is frustrated with the fact that I am a teacher.  He seems to resent, that I know about curriculum and what gifted kids his age (and skills) should be doing.

On Monday, we downloaded the “challenging” spelling list for the week and within minutes, he had mastered all 15 words.  I suggested that we find more challenging words or create a new list based on his current science topic.  As you can imagine, I was met with resistance.  “Why should I practice more if I am already doing the challenging words well?”

All of this came to a boiling point on Thursday, when he brought home his “writing journal” from class.  I was shocked to see very little text, but instead lots of zombie drawings and scribbled out pages.  I tried to hide my disappointment but instantly my son felt the judgment and became upset…”My teacher doesn’t have a problem with me doing this so why do you?”

In my head, my response was long….dissertation long.  I had a list of reasons why it was a problem for me!

I tried to use a calm voice, while I explained my concerns and then I realized this is not his fault.  It isn’t his fault that the material is too easy.  It isn’t his fault that the school doesn’t know how to challenge him.  It isn’t his fault that neighboring school districts have higher expectations.  It isn’t his fault that his behaviors from the past, cloud the staff’s understanding of his true potential.

At this point, I reminded myself that we have less than a month left of school and I walked away.

Once things calmed down, I sat with my son while he ate his snack.  I explained to him that all of this concern is really about his well-being.  I explained that at some point, he will compete with kids that have developed a work ethic that he hasn’t yet.  I reminded him that my decisions are not always based on his short-term happiness but about his long-term success.

I know that this conversation is long from over.  I know this because we have ongoing disagreements about personal responsibility and trying things that are challenging.  I don’t know if I am harder on him because I am a teacher mama, but I’m so glad that I am.  This way, I can help him develop some of his gifts and learn the value of working to his full potential…at least I hope that I can.

Are you having similar conversations in your house?

PS On Friday, I saw my son’s teacher in the office when I picked my TBP up from school.  She had a substitute for the day while she completed assessments.  When my son saw her, his face visibly lit up.  She rubbed his back and asked how the day had gone and he shared that some of the kids were much louder than they would have been for her.  🙂  I had the opportunity to ask about the writing journal and she explained that after he did the writing that she wanted him to do…he was allowed to use this other journal to draw.  She shared that this was a great incentive and relaxing to my son.  Boy, she knows him well!  She assured me that the drawings were not reflected in his grade and that she was so proud of what he had accomplished.  Obviously, this made me feel much better and…I didn’t make him do the many writing assignments that I had been planning for the weekend 🙂

12 thoughts on “Teacher Mama

  1. Hi Teacher Mama

    I too am a Teacher Mama and I feel your pain. It is very hard to suppress those teacher urges. My mother is also a teacher and my daughter wants to be one. There must be something in my genes.

    I love teaching others and my son hates being taught! This has been so hard. I have had to excercise so much self control and learn ways to facilitate learning that involved little teaching. After 15 years I am better however teacheriness still leaks out.

    Now that my son is attending school more regularly I am hoping to start working again. I have already done a little teacher aiding. It is soooo good to be able to teach. For those few brief hours I feel like I can be true to myself! I have been living a lie for 15 years! I am proud to be a teacher! There is nothing wrong with teaching! LOL

    I guess it is really about the opportunity for self expression. Raising my boy there just hasn’t been much time for me to be me.

    • I completely understand!
      I have been an elementary teacher for over 20+ years in the same building. I love my job and working with new kids!
      Next year, I take most of my K students to 1st and I am really excited about that!

      I want my son to want to learn and try challenging things. At this point, he takes suggestions and ideas better from others 🙂

  2. This Fall my son is switching to a school for gifted kids and I worry about how he will react when he is with other kids who have strong aptitude for math or reading, he knows he is the best at those subjects in his current class. Will he try harder once he is finally challenged or give up because its too hard?

    Your thoughts on this topic are timely and i look forward to hearing how you and your son manage this as he moves through school.

  3. Oh, Kelly…..I read this and couldn’t believe how much I could relate. The other day G came home with his writing journal (sound familiar)? As I was going through it I noticed that half the pages were empty and those that had writing were not that great. All I kept thinking was, “this isn’t almost second grade work”. As I am humming and hawing he asks me what it wrong and I tell him I think we need to work on writing this summer (sound familiar). We had a discussion about his effort and it later occurred to me that I am comparing him to a second grader. My poor son will be in second grade next year and much to his dismay, that is the grade I taught for 12 years. I think I am going to have to really restrain myself next year in order to avoid the, “This is not second grade work”, comments that will be flying around in my head. That being said…..we will be working on writing this summer! 🙂

    • Kim-
      Thanks for the comments 🙂
      It is really hard, isn’t it!
      I have to remind myself that I need to be more subtle and pick my battles. I figure that if I keep h reading and writing throughout the summer, he will be ready. I’m sure the same with your G too!

  4. It just adds another level as a teacher yourself, doesn’t it. Your son is lucky that you have all of that knowledge. (He may not know that now, but one day he will) I am really glad that there was some thought behind the drawings in the notebook.

    • Thank you for visiting and commenting! Yes…I was so pleased to realize that not only was he doing progressively better writing, but his teacher knew him well enough to realize that drawing would be a great reward 🙂
      Hope you visit again!

  5. So glad I found your blog! I’ve lost count of the times we’ve had that conversation (and of viewing those cartoons instead of reading writing). And yes, I’m an ex-teacher! It’s really difficult, isn’t it, not to let your disappointment overflow? But it’s nice you are able to sit down and have that chat 🙂

    • Ingi-
      I am so glad you found me too 🙂
      Yes… It can be hard to bite my tongue but the good thing is, that my job allows me an inside knowledge that I need. I have decided that I won’t give up…I will just need to be more subtle 🙂

  6. Mark Twain, aka Samuel Clemens doodled his way through school. It was the only way he could remember facts. Quite interestingly he was viewed as anything remotely familiar to “Gifted” i

    • Great reminder!!
      In fact, my son was just showing me his newest pictures and the details in the picture and the smile on his face, can’t be ignored! 🙂
      Thank you for your visit and comment!

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