Teaching Life Lessons to my Son

R really dislikes his new teacher. After the amazing Mrs L last year (young, fun, passionate, active) I had a feeling that whoever he got this year wouldn’t measure up, but this morning in the car he looked really down and when I asked him what was up it all came out.

She doesn’t shout, she isn’t a dragon, but according to him she ‘just shouldn’t be a teacher.’ He faults include not listening, accusing him of hairsplitting and being, basically, boring.

I know my boy loves to prove a point, and last year Mrs L was happy to debate and argue in a fun and respectful way. This teacher, it seems, doesn’t like to be told when she’s wrong, especially if it’s backed up with hard evidence.

Seeing him slumped and wishing he didn’t have to go to school (as compared to last year when he couldn’t wait to get inside) I wanted to change the world for him, go in and demand that they get last years’ teacher back, move him to another school… but that’s not how life works, and I know that wouldn’t help him.

So this was the advice I gave the boy (not sure how much went in to be honest, but anyway)

I first listened to him and didn’t try stand up for her – let him have his moan (we all need a good whinge sometimes right?).

Then I told him that he’s going to have some good, some great, some average and some dreadful teachers and that the same will happen one day in the work place. That this is training for life and that if he learns how to deal with this person now it will help him in the future.

That he needs to choose his battles so that she won’t see him as an argumentative pain in the butt and ignore him when he has something serious to sort out with her.

That he can’t change her, he can only choose how he is going to let her affect his school year – he can let her make it miserable or try find some positive things about her, try be respectful and (genuinely) helpful and friendly towards her and try to stay interested in the work itself (he loves history, geography and English).

I hope he will be able to get his head around this. It’s not easy but I would hate for him to spend the year miserable. I hope that he settles in and finds a way to not hate her and that this year doesn’t mark the start of his developing a negative attitude towards school.

But I have to agree with him. Some people shouldn’t be teachers. If you don’t like children, if you’re not passionate about what you’re teaching, then maybe it’s time to change careers.

Any advice from other parents out there?

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10 Responses to Teaching Life Lessons to my Son

  1. cassey says:

    I’d say your advice counts all the time, especially when dealing with people you don’t like.

  2. Dave Beer says:

    It’s probably a good thing to learn this lesson so early.

    In school, as well as the workplace, there will always be superstars as well as the below average. People who are passionate about what they do vs others who look at it as just a job.

    It’d be great if we only had to deal with the passionate people, but reality means that’s often not the case.

    I wonder what that teacher would rather be doing?

    • So true! I think in her case she’s just getting old and tired. probably would rather be sitting by the telly with a pot of tea! but yeah i did tell him it’s a good time to start learning about all the many people he will encounter. he seemed to have had a better day with her. i reckon it will be up and down, at least she isn’t a total bitch 🙂

  3. You gave great advice; I recently dished out some similar insights to my son. We want all first experiences to be the best and feel the loss when they are not. However, you may choose to look at it this way: he has a great experience from his last teacher to know when he has a bad teacher and he knows the difference. This lesson will be carried with him through his schooling, athletic and professional careers.

    • that’s a very good way of looking at it. and while awesome teachers are wonderful but often it’s the difficult ones who can by their nature make us better people. it’s just at his age (coming up for 13 this year) he is ripe for becoming disinterested in school and i would hate to see him pushed that way, it’s such a critical time…

  4. groupiemom says:

    good advice, although hard for someone so young to put into practice, but he is very level-headed and mature and yes, he realises straight away why this teacher is wrong for him. that’s important. and it’s always hard, you want to stand up for your kids and help them, especially when they are down, but sometimes the very best we can do for them, is what you just did. show them their options and let them make their own decision. you couldnt have done it any differently. hats off to you supermom.
    but always remember, if things get too bad, i know someone who’s awesome with a sniper rifle & boning knife. #justsaying#

  5. Pingback: Pride, in the name of love | the green hair mermaid blogs

  6. Jon says:

    Sometimes the best teachers in life are the ones that we dislike the most.

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