Dear Readers — Take your chill pill FIRST. Then read on:
Dear Free-Range Kids: I’d like to tell you about a recent experience of mine and would love to get your feedback.
I am a mother of three children and a preschool teacher at a small, private preschool in my town. About two weeks ago, my class of four-year-olds was marching in from the playground. We routinely do this about five minutes before dismissal time.
The line leader on this particular day was a very bright, outgoing girl. Unfortunately, I did not notice that, upon re-entering the building, she did not turn into my classroom but marched right past it, rounded the corner and started walking down the main hallway of the school where parents were lined up to pick up their children.
Meanwhile, back in the classroom, my assistant and I had just seated ourselves on the rug with our other students to sing our good-bye song, when my missing line leader and her mother appeared in our doorway. I am certain that the entire event could not have lasted more than two minutes.
The mother was visibly outraged with me for not noticing that one of my students was missing. I have tried talking with her twice about this, her husband has complained to the director of the school, and they have threatened to send a letter to the school board. The idea of her daughter being unsupervised in our school hall is absolutely unacceptable to this mother. Instead of using this as an opportunity for her daughter to learn, she has refused to speak to her daughter about it.
My parent teacher conferences are tomorrow and would love to know your thoughts on how I should deal with this situation. Thanks — S.
I don’t suppose you could put those parents in a time capsule back to an era (perhaps 15 years ago) when two minutes in the school hallway by oneself in a secure location was not considered the end of the world? Or remind the parents that on a planet where something like a quarter of the population subsists on $2 a day, their child is safe and warm and fed and even getting an education, despite the fact she’s a girl! And she is not in a war zone, and not in a famine, and not eating dirt for dinner or being sold to the local warlord for a sack of rice and a skinny goat. So to treat her tiny, nay, microscopic non-adventure as an outrage shows, if nothing else, a lack of perspective and gratitude so GET A GRIP!
I’m not sure that’s precisely the tack to take, so, readers, if you have any better ideas, I’m sure this teacher is eager to hear them. — Lenore