Mae’s teacher called me today. As I thought, she was too busy to email me on Friday. Mae told the story right. Teacher confirmed that students started telling her after recess that Mae had either “pushed them, bumped them or said something mean to them” that day. And, yes, she did ask the class how many of them had been hurt by Mae, and yes, at least half the class (ten students) raised a hand. Teacher said that she asked Mae to look around and see the impact she was having on the class. She said that Mae looked sad, and then apologized. She said that Mae had a good day from that point.
Teacher said they then had a class discussion about being careful and accepting responsibility for your actions. Some of the incidents may have been unintentional, and Teacher said that she made the discussion into a “teaching moment.” She said Mae was receptive and responsive to the feedback from her peers.
I trust Teacher with Mae. I believed her today when she told me that she is very conscious of children’s feelings, and that the purpose of asking the students who had been hurt was not to shame Mae. Teacher wants an open classroom where she and the students can discuss issues and problems and help each other solve them. She says she has done this before with other students. I asked Teacher if she had also asked the class if Mae had helped anyone or been kind to anyone that day. She said that she didn’t, but she does encourage them to encourage each other and notice when someone is doing good. I believe that too.
Truthfully, Mae didn’t seem scarred by having her classmates finger her. And, I realize now that she was speaking with accountability when she told me what happened on Friday evening. That’s why she was able to speak about it so calmly and evenly. I’m the one feeling sore about this. I wish Teacher had asked the kids about something positive so that the discussion could have been more balanced.
Hubby is ok with the way that Teacher handled it, and I felt better after I spoke to him about it. It’s true that Mae needs to face reality and understand the impact of her actions. Still, it bothers me that (1) Mae made so many bad choices in a single day, or even within a few hours, and (2) that her whole class may be thinking that that is all she is — someone who makes bad choices. Dr. Laura, when we talked about it this evening, seemed to think, yes, it sounds like a lot, but all kids have off days. She reminded me that most days for the past few months have been good days, which is true.
Maybe I need to loosen up. As I’ve said many times, I have a great deal of admiration and respect for Teacher. I”ll have to trust her on this one, even if it takes me a few days to get there. With only 13 school days left in the year, I may as well.