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November 5, 2012 - Kristy MacKaben
My parents were both educators. I grew up hearing stories about their students---mostly wonderfully entertaining stories. But once and a while, I'd overhear a story or two about that parent who thought their kid could do no wrong. Those parents who always blamed the teacher instead of questioning their own children. Understanding the teacher's side, I, as a parent have been overly cautious in questioning my kids' teachers. In Julie's first year of preschool, I literally cried at her first report card proclaming that my daughter "does not listen in class." She was 3, yet I knew the teacher was right and I agonized over where I had gone wrong as a parent. I have listened with an open mind every time a teacher has had some constructive criticism or words of advice. Don't get me wrong. Julie has been a wonderful student so far, but her mind wanders and she has a tendency to forget, which in turn leads to not following directions. I get that. I have experienced this myself with Julie, which is why I'm open to suggestions from Julie's first grade teacher, and more than willing to work on improving her organization and listening skills. But, I just had to speak up last week. I couldn't hold my tongue. It was time to stick up for our daughter. On Julie's spelling test last week, two words were marked wrong. "Cap" and "snap." They were spelled perfectly, however, the "s" and "c" were slightly taller than the rest of the letters in the words, leading the teacher to believe they were capitalized. The thing is, these spelling words were the most neatly written words Julie has ever written. It was obvious she had tried so hard to work on her handwriting and truly didn't mean to capitlize them. Besides, it's not like it was an obvious capitalization error like "A" or "G". To make matters worse on top of the spelling test the teacher wrote "We talked about capitalization right before this test." Scott and I couldn't help but think that was a little dig at us and Julie's lack of following directions. Kind of like "See...I told you so." So, I promptly typed a more than cordial email stating my case. I can't say I changed the teacher's mind, but it was worth a shot. Obviously we won't complain at every little slight, but sometimes it's worth letting a teacher know you have your kid's back.
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