You've got a nice set-up here. But you made one mistake.

Does anyone remember that old Dilbert cartoon where the boss writes a 'letter of recommendation' that says stuff like: "For a man of his hygiene, he doesn't steal as much as you think."

It's funny, but it's also reflective of the way some people characterize others.

It's what I think of every time I pick Bean up from school - even if she had a rock star day, they're going to find something to pick at. I've dealt with people like that on off through life; it's usually done in a less blatant way, but y'all get the drift.

I picked Bean up yesterday and she had a great day. She sat quietly for a freakin' hour with *nothing to do* and then the let her color. While she was coloring, she scribbled a little on the floor. And that was what the teacher made her show me. No: "I think it's just awesome that she was able to sit quietly for that whole MF hour" just: "yeah, she had a good day and complied with our ridiculous requirement that she sit quiet and do nothing for an hour, but look at this. You need to talk to her about that."

And the making her show me. Not just saying "she drew on the floor a little"and letting me talk to her, a big "we respect school property and you need to talk to her at home about this." No. I don't. What I chose to discipline and talk about at home isn't up to them. And frankly, I didn't and wouldn't say a damn thing to her about that. She's bored out of her freakin' skull for that two hour 'quiet time' - don't set her up to fail.

Ditto Thursday - great day, but she was using rocks to "draw" in the dirt and graduated to using the rock to 'draw' on the wrought-iron gate. And that flicker of "bad" was what they chose to focus on.

I don't get that. Now, I'll be the first to admit that if I form a negative opinion of someone in our first meeting, that negative perception holds. But I don't think I do that 'single out the one or two "bad" things, let it eclipse all the other good stuff that happened' thing.

In talking to folks, though, that just seems to be the way things go- you can do all sorts of great work all day, but forget the cream for someone's coffee and that's the sum total of your day. I've dealt with it as a grownup, and find it such a challenge to accept that people do this. That they'd rather comment on minor flaws than focus on the whole.

To me, that kind of focus is bass-ackwards; but it's pervasive. Do I teach her that it's bass-ackwards, or do I teach her it's the way it is and how to function within it? If *I* functioned like that, every day I had would suck, whether at work or at home. Everyone, grown-ups included, makes mistakes. Kids make a lot of 'mistakes', but these are less about error and more bout defining their place in the world. If all we focus on is the "bad choices" that kids make, and don't appreciate the whole, what are we really teaching them?


Julia said...

Can you give the teachers a less than subtle response back in front of Bean so that she hears something to the tune of, "We'll discuss that of course, but what were some POSITIVE things that happened today?" Maybe if it ends on a good note ... ? The teacher might get the hint, and if not then you can just be more explicit. I don't think it has to be a one or the other in this case. You can show Bean that some people are bass-ackwards without saying it, but not everyone acts that way. I think she'll internalize how you respond, your emotional state and your words, more than really what the teachers says because you mean more to her than the teacher. Does that make sense?

Glad to hear that you had two good days though.

Vivian said...

Hooray for Bean for having to good days in what are ridiculous expectations! Bean's a little young for this message, still it's a good one... my friend's father told her when she was a little girl, "Sweetheart, this world is filled with mediocre people. You must learn to smile at them, then do what is right for you." I love that. I mean really, am constantly surprised at the 'smallness' of peoples minds and generosity. And these "teachers" (and I use teacher very lightly here) astound me. Their expectations are unreasonable. Perhaps simply modeling what you think is important to Bean as Julia wrote is enough to inform Bean.

I'm wishing Bean a GREAT week!

Lisa Beth said...

ISN'T SHE LIKE FOUR YEARS OLD? Pretty sure you are supposed to color on the floor a little when you are four. And using a rock to color in the dirt? Genius. These "teachers" are kinda crazy.

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