Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Touchy Subject

If you're on Facebook, Twitter, or any other social network, you've probably seen this cartoon already. For the most part, I think it's a true statement. Back when I was in school, parents tended to get more upset with their children when they were misbehaving or doing poorly in school. These days I hear more stories of parents getting upset with the teachers for their child's problems. Of course, I'm sure it's not the case all the time, but those are generally the stories we hear most often ... thanks to the Internet.

When I woke up this morning I checked the news online, just as I do everyday. I came upon an article which was titled, "Eight-year-old receives Catastrophe Award". If you click on the link there's a video to go along with the story, although basically they say the same thing. I'm just curious what other people think of this? Do you think the mom is making a big deal out of nothing? Do you think the teacher was wrong to give a negative award, even though she said it was a joke? What are your thoughts on this?

The reason I ask is because I received a similar award on my last day of sixth grade. The teacher passed out so-called awards to the kids and each one was different. I can't remember any of the actual awards, but I do recall most were positive. Well ... all but mine. I received the "Most Inclined to Keep Banker's Hours Award". Seriously. If you don't know what the banker's hour term is, it means, "Time period between 10am and 3pm of the day, or an easy job especially one with a short working day." So, while my sixth grade teacher passed out awards praising my classmates for all their wonderful abilities, she gave me that. She didn't acknowledge my love for art. She said nothing about my passion for reading and writing. She didn't mention that I often finished all my work on time, in addition to all the extra credit projects I did. Nope. Instead, she decided to insult me in front of the entire school.

You might be wondering why I got that award. The reason was because I was often late for school or absent all together. I came from a single parent household. My father died when I was a baby and my mom raised three children by herself. She worked literally all the time, and often she worked all night long. Sometimes she'd be forced to stay over and work a double shift. Because of this, I was often late for school. And because of her crazy schedule, she was often too tired to argue with me when I put up a fuss about going to school all together. I'm not blaming her, by any means, but it's one of the reasons I was late or absent so often. So, probably as a joke, my teacher decided to give me the "Most Inclined to Keep Banker's Award" in front of my entire school. It was humiliating. My teacher chose to make fun of me, not even knowing my reasons. My mom was a nurse and took care of geriatric patients. You know ... those old people in nursing homes that their own families don't even have time to visit. I probably spent more time with those patients than their own family members ... but that's another story.

So, I have very mixed feelings about that story I read this morning. The teacher in me sees how it could have been done in jest, but regardless, I still do not think it is appropriate at all. I think every teacher should focus on positive reinforcement when it comes to their students. If they want to poke fun at them on their own time, so be it. As a mom, I'd be upset if my child received an award like that, or even the one I got. No parent wants their child to be made fun of at school, especially by their teacher. As a student, well, I obviously see the horror in it. I was humiliated when it happened to me, and obviously it's stayed with me forever. It's no wonder I hated school.


  1. Back in my day, teachers were HARD on kids. Nowadays, kids are HARDER on the's true. I've spent lots of volunteer hours at my kids schools and that was a while ago...

    Not saying you should have gotten that - I think teachers have never focused enough on art!

  2. Nothing is ever done about it. Schools are afraid to punish teachers for any wrong action for fear of something. Maybe it's law suits, maybe it's a lack of a complete school rule left open for interpretation. Whatever it is, this Zero Tolerance nonsense isn't working and I don't think it will ever work until some actual laws are put in the books. Then again, that's a "Big Brother" kind of thing where Government will have to get involved. It's a mess. Teachers, above all, should be held accoutable for their actions or take an involved course themselves on tact and common sense. As for this girl, it's ridiculous what they've done considering her home life. It is doing nothing but angering everyone. There is no lesson to be learned from putting her in jail. Now she is not working to help support her family and will be behind on her school work, which I don't think she was to begin with. Anyway, enough of my rambling. LOL

  3. How about when YOUR child is singled out for being a 'bully' for telling an annoying child to be quiet, or when your child has a 'special lunch' with said annoying child, classroom teacher and principal, in a separate room, WITHOUT your knowledge??!!

  4. I totally get why you'd have mixed feelings about this. I think there's something to be said for having a good sense of humor, but you give that teasing to kids who are equipped to take it, right?
    It's a tricky thing, you never know what someone might be sensitive about or why.

  5. No, that teacher should not have given that award to you nor the one in the story. Even if in jest, if a teacher can find something to praise one student, he/she can find something good in every student.

    And today parents coddle their kids too much. They do need to back up the teachers more (but if the child is indeed treated unfairly, they also need to be the child's advocate.) My daughter pulled a behavior slip once this year in school, and there were consequences at home too. Even something simple as no desserts for the day or no computer for two days, whatever, a parent can think of something to let the child know it won't be tolerated.

  6. As a teacher all I can say is YES.