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 🙂