School has been back for just over a fortnight now.
Two weeks to get your head around the day-to-day-chaos of work, school and life. A week for your kids to come to terms with new classrooms, and new friends and new subjects.
And two weeks where the number one topic on the lips of every parent at drop off is “Which teacher did your kids get?”
It’s time for the comparisons and rumours to fly.
The my-neighbours-child-had-her-and-she-was wonderful/terrible/inattentive/over the top.
There are sighs of envy if your child got the teacher everyone longed for and groans and eyebrow raises if you got THAT one.
If your child managed to score a newbie you’ll find that while on one hand there aren’t any rumours or gossip about the fresh graduate, on the other you’ll inevitably hear tales of the time so-and-sos child had a first year teacher and what a disaster it was.
Last week at cricket practise we mothers gathered like teenagers analysing and examining who got who.
I was particularly concerned about my youngest son who ended up with two teachers in a job share. What if he gets confused I worried out loud? What if there is no consistency? What if he finds it hard to adjust to the change?
What if it’s a disaster? I had worked myself up into quite a state imagining the worst for my six-year-old when a veteran school mother-of-four interrupted my mounting hysteria with some words of wisdom I have thought about since.
“I couldn’t give a sh*t who my kids get" she told me bluntly. "It’s a good school ,the teachers are good teachers. If my kids doesn’t like them then tough. That’s life. That’s how the real lessons begin.”
I was momentarily taken aback but after much musing over her words I realised she was right.
It seems that teachers – especially with the rise of social media sites like Facebook to further the chatter – are the new celebrity when it comes to schooling.
We take to local Facebook sites and mothers groups to pick them apart. We Google them and probe fellow parents for every little detail. We want control.
But what if your kid did score a dud?
What if your kids scored THAT teacher, the one that everyone has stories about, the one that everyone seems to have a history with, the one no child likes?
Suck it up. Think of all that resilience building your kid is going to have. Think of all those real life lessons. Think of just how good next year’s teacher will seem in contrast.
But our instincts go against that don’t they? At the very core of our being we are programmed to protect our kids, to make things easier for them and so our first inclination when we hear we have that teacher is to march straight into the principals office and demands answers.
There are many reasons that parents – and lets face it usually it’s the parents – have an issue with teachers.
Whether it is because their child isn’t performing the way they expect them to at school, or that they feel their child is being unfairly treated what’s worth looking at are reasons the teacher has been labelled “bad” in the first place.
Was she really a bad teacher? Or was it the mother of a difficult student who began the rumours?
Watch this man propose to his partner, a kindergarten teacher with the help of her students. Post continues after video.
If the problem with the teacher stems from the kids themselves we need to remember that the story your child tells you may not be very accurate. Kids, especially in the first few years of primary school, have a different perspective from adults.
If we are truly honest the concept of a bad teacher is pretty rare.
Teachers are trained professionals, they are on the whole passionate about their jobs, education and our children. Of course there are some teachers who should be doing something else but it’s unusual– and if you have truly scored the teacher who is disinterested or performing their job badly then of course speak to the principal.
But it is worth remembering while we should all be advocates for our children, what we need to do is walk a fine line between protecting and helicoptering, because our children might just be able to cope better than we give them credit for.