I was seated across from her finally. I had carried out the conversation I was about to have with her several times in my head. I felt a little apprehensive as I am sure we all do when on tricky ground. I had held on for weeks hoping that somehow she would amend her behaviour. But it was not to be. As she smiled at me from across the table and the husband looked at my face, I began as gently as I could.
It is always difficult handing out criticism to your child’s class teacher. A lot of us worry that our child may then get singled out because of what the parent said. I wasn’t worried about that. I know how to escalate things if people indulge in any wrongdoing. My angst was how to do this in the best possible manner. So, I began telling her how her comments about the children’s mothers were in bad taste and uncalled for. Her smile got smaller. I tried my best to explain to her how she was in a position where she moulded young minds. That her calling the children’s mothers lazy for what she perceived as not doing enough in the morning while packing tiffins smacked of misogyny and regressive thinking. She was quite casual about her approach saying that she did not mean to demean anyone. In fact, she clubbed herself with the pack when she called other mothers lazy. I tried hard not to roll my eyes.
I explained to her that there could be a number of reasons why a child may bring ‘junk’ food to school on a random day. It could also be a father packing a tiffin which she never considered a possibility or a mother not having anything else to pack/being sick or some other reason. Besides, she did not really need to go around checking tiffins. I think educating children the importance of healthy eating is important and I am happy that schools are doing their bit. But going overboard and poking fingers in tiffin boxes is ridiculous.
This school does not allow any non-veg food even eggs to be carried to school. Eggs are good for health, and most vegetarians consume them. But well, school policy. She could not say anymore. Was it be really necessary to single out kids who may have brought eggs on a stray day, make them stand at their desks and feel like criminals while consuming them. Where is the empathy in dealing with such situations? Do teachers become so hardened that the parent and human within them are silenced?
So, we had a long chat. She loves to talk and rambled on. She did promise not to indulge in any namecalling for any child’s parent. She also promised to look into her approach towards gender issues. I felt that her mindset was set and hence wondered if she was just paying me lip service.
Either way, the younger son was happy that the parents took up an issue that was bothering him and his classmates. And I was happy that I finally addressed the behaviour that was troubling me especially since she is an influence in my child’s life.
Only time will tell if she will modify her approach. Else, I can always help her out with understanding the issue better if the need arises again. 🙂
How do you handle any issues with your child’s teacher?
Pic courtesy: AJP at Shutterstock