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Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Ask a Teacher: How to Get the Whole Story

Sometimes, when kids come home from school or even playdates, they have some...odd stories to share. I know mine have told me about teachers "yelling" at them, or saying something mean. Heck, it's happened to me on multiple occasions. Once, my daughter slipped on tile floor during a tantrum and I made a grab for her so she wouldn't bang her head, only I was in heels and stumbled myself, falling and putting a hole in the wall. The story that reached her daddy was: "Mommy got mad and kicked the wall."

She was three at the time, saw my stern, all-business, gonna-save-my daughter face, confused it with anger, and was falling herself as I fell, and when she got up there was my foot in the wall. Makes sense. I can see her version.

Anyway, sometimes what kids remember is not exactly what happened. So how do you get the whole story? We asked resident teacher, Emilie Blanton, who blogs over at Teaching Ain't for Heroes.


Kids remember the darndest things. Or they remember things in really odd and unflattering ways. This happens to parents all the time. It happens to teachers as well.

At some point, your child is going to come home with a really strange, possibly shocking story involving their teacher. It's going be easy to jump to conclusions. For example, my son came home and told me that his teacher told him he needs to brush his teeth in the morning because his breath smells bad.

I immediately jumped to conclusions and thought she'd singled out my son and made him feel bad. He was already brushing his teeth in the morning. I started trying to figure out how his fantastic Pre-K teacher would think that's okay to tell my son. I got a little irrational while talking about it with my husband demanding to know how she'd even know since he's in the afternoon class. I went through his normal lunch trying to figure out what would make his breath smell so bad.

At after school pick up the next day, I waited a bit to talk to his teacher only find out they sang a song all about why you should brush your teeth, including how it makes your breath smell good. I got irrational over nothing.

When these instances happen, it's important to keep a cool head and ask calmly what happened. Oftentimes kids have these weird filters that make no sense to adults. Sometimes starting out with "You know, Johnny said the craziest thing..." instead of an accusatory tone can keep help you get the whole story without the teacher getting defensive. You'd be surprised what kind of things students spout off about their parents. Keeping an open mind and remembering there's probably a perfectly good explanation can save a lot of stress and embarrassment for all parties.

There are "bad" teachers out there who may speak or act in a manner you don't find appropriate. If that is the case, discuss that situation with the teacher in question. If the behavior doesn't change, involve administrators as needed, but always try to discuss the issue with the teacher first.

What are some crazy stories your kids have come home with? What really happened?


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