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Thursday, November 13, 2008

I love people

Oh, I love people. So very much. Especially the parents of students.

On the heels of a pretty darn good afternoon, I am reminded once again that you can't please everybody. Here's the good afternoon part. One of my students (J.) was suspended today for hitting (I know...sounds really good so far, right? Bear with me.) The incident took place at recess, had nothing to do with me, and was handled by his regular classroom teacher and the assistant principal.

Well, lucky me, I happened to be in the office when J's mom and uncle came in. The mom was really, really ticked off. I volunteered to walk her up to the asst. principal's office because our school is a maze, but then the secretary told us that he was coming down to talk with them. So we just talked in the hall until he got there.

I had NO interest in being a part of this meeting. I prefer to avoid conflict if possible. I couldn't figure out how to extricate myself, though, so in I went. I literally prayed on the way in that God would give me the right words to say to this woman. Well, He did! The meeting started out pretty hostile between the parent and the asst. principal, but I was able to smooth things over. I felt like I was walking a fine line between backing the administration (because I surely want them to back me if there's an issue!) and supporting and addressing the parent's valid concerns. It took forever--over an hour!--but the end of the meeting was really positive.

After the meeting, I waited for the AP and told him, "I hope I didn't step on your toes in there." He thanked me and told me that he was so glad that I had sat in on the meeting, that it had looked really bad at the beginning but that every time I opened my mouth he could see the mom calm down. After a different meeting with my boss, I checked my email in my classroom and had a really nice thank you email from the AP as well as a cc of an email he had sent to my boss and the school social worker explaining the meeting and telling them that it had gone well because of me. :D

So I was flying high. And then...

I have a classroom website. A GREAT classroom website, if I do say so myself. Every day I post a report of what all we did in class that day, list homework, and post resources I've created for parents who want to give their student some extra help. I take pictures of classroom activities and post pictures of the kids. I probably put an hour a day into updating the website and creating resources that parents can use.

Well, I checked the website tonight and had an email from a parent who apparently didn't notice any of the good things but DID NOT LIKE the picture posted of her daughter. The daughter, who is African American and very dark-skinned, was "too black" in the picture and the mom was "really upset". So, whatever. I apologized, deleted the picture, and tomorrow she'll complain because there are no pictures of her daughter on the website.

Did I mention how much I love peopel? I really do, but sometimes they make it harder than others.

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