Wednesday, August 20, 2014

One Mom Apologizes for Turning into One of "Those" Moms

** I have permission from the parent who emailed me to share this on my blog. I promised not to use her name or her son's name. 

Last week, we had to make some changes to our master schedule. Due to an influx of students as well as some schedule changes at the start of the year, our Pre-AP Biology classes were over capacity. The National Science Teachers Association recommends no more than 24 for lab safety and adequate individual workspace, so we try to follow that guideline as much as possible. 

As you can imagine we had unhappy parents and students since schedules had to be changed, and it included lunch periods (our freshmen eat one period earlier than the upperclassmen, and the entire class is divided between 2 lunch waves.) One way we were able to help students deal with the change was by letting students remain in their "old" advisory/lunch class but still keep the new academic classes. 

We had several calls and emails from discouraged parents, including the one below.

The parent emailed our 9th grade counselor, Dr. Grant, on Friday, and our counselor responded and cc'd me along with our administrator in charge of scheduling. The counselor told her that we were sorry we had to make the change, explained the reason, and stated that she hoped that the student would be able to accommodate the change and be successful this year. The parent responded, writing to the counselor: 

"I really do understand where you are coming from but I would like to discuss this further possibly in person. I feel pretty strongly about this.Can I come after school today or first thing Monday morning?"
At the end of the day on Friday, she wrote to me and the other administrator:
 Good afternoon! I would love to talk to you about a schedule change that was made to my child’s schedule yesterday at the end of the day.  Let me be up front enough to say that this was not the end of the world and after having 4 kids go through the high school I have never made a request before. [My son] was changed out of [a teacher's] 4th period class and switched to 5th with [the same teacher] and switched 4th to a pre-AP biology. This 4thperiod class really mattered to him and it was his comfort zone. He was acclimated to his advisory and now apparently that is switched too. Freshman year was rocking ……. I have requested that he be changed back to his original schedule and Dr. Grant said to contact you. In 20 plus years I have never made a request and I do understand that you guys have a tremendous task to balance numbers. Would you please consider this? I will gladly meet face to face to discuss this if need be.
On Saturday morning, I checked my email, and the parent had emailed me again. This time, the subject line read:

get your coffee/caffiene, prop up your feet and read this apology/retraction!!

She had emailed me, the counselor, and the two teachers of 4th and 5th periods. I was curious to read what she was sending now!

Here's what she wrote:
I am 53, I have had 3 children graduate from HHS and work in education. Up to yesterday, I have remained a pretty sane woman. I know how hard it is to balance numbers,and deal with parents and I know what it is like to deal with "those" parents.  
I am sooooo sorry that I turned into one of "those" moms. 
To be honest I'm a little ashamed. [My son] is such an easy kid and he is always that kid who is so flexible and we always put him in the situations where nobody wants to be because honestly, he is always fine! When he came home Thursday night with the schedule change the only thing he said was "I wish we could get it changed back. 4th period was my favorite class ever (including lunch and advisory)."
My response was good (believe it or not).....I said "I can ask but they may not be able to change it back" and his response was "It will be fine. it just stinks!" Think that is why I went to bat because he never asks and just goes with the flow! Had I been smart and sat on this until Monday, it would have resolved itself because he came home yesterday and said the schedule was "ok." 
He said "Guess I am supposed to branch out anyway and meet more kids since I am in Freshman Faces". 
Shame on me over and over. When I read the statement in the email that said that how you fixed it "should reduce some of the stress of the class change" I had to laugh at myself. although [my son] did not like it, he was not at all "stressed".....I was!  I never react and this time I did and got a reminder why I should not fix things but pray about them first and wait instead of having a knee jerk reaction! Wish I could say I was off my meds and that would explain it..... Only I'm not on any meds.... Maybe I should be! 
Life lesson that I keep learning over and over....think before you speak or react! I have not shared all the back and forth with [my son], I have just shared the lesson to think before reacting. I do hate that kids are getting schedule changes a week into school because [my son] did say that the classes he changed into were just as big. That is a lot of kids! 
Now that I have regained my sanity...what have I done to his schedule? I have not even told him about advisory/lunch. I have confused us all so just tell me what it is, I will tell him , we will move on and I will fade back into the woodwork! 
I included the teachers since they were in on the schedule change! Although [one teacher] already knows me, [his other teacher] needed to know she was not dealing with a crazy woman 
I appreciate you all. Have a great weekend.

Of course, I chuckled at reading her email, and I truly appreciated her sending it. As a mom, I can relate to wanting to jump in at the first sign of discomfort from my kids. As an educator, I understand the importance of letting kids experience discomfort. Most schools that I know of are safe places for kids to learn life lessons. Later in life, this student will be faced with disappointment, change, and discomfort. I want him to deal with a little bit of it now while he's surrounded by adults who care about him. 

I've got a feeling that this student is learning a lot of great things from his mom. She's learning from him, too.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing. We can all be "one of those moms (or dads)" from time to time. It is hard not to rescue our children but always important to build up their self-concept. Great post and enjoy the week!