Thursday, May 7, 2015

Times Have Changed

I was talking with a colleague at lunch today about her daughter who is a 4th grader at a nearby elementary school. Some boys have been picking on the little girl, one of them since kindergarten. My friend has the ears of the teacher, the counselor, and the principal, which is a perk of being a longtime resident, a well-thought-of teacher, and an extrovert.

There are a few other social issues with her daughter as well, these involving a mean girl and a best friend who has never been in the same class. "I told them that I want some changes for next year," she said today, and I know she does; certainly every parent wants their children to be happy, especially at school, but as an educator my thoughts turned to the practical considerations of parent requests and parent demands.

In trying to reconcile the personal and the professional, our conversation made me think back to when I was in elementary student. In those days in our town we found out who our teachers were on a day in late August when the classes were published in the local newspaper. I remember that my mom was always glad when my best friends were not in my classes.

I wondered if it was the times or the situation that was different, and I asked my friend. "I get the bullying thing, but did your mom ever ask the school to change any of your classes so you would be with your friends?"

She was silent. 

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