September 4, 2009

You're SOOOOO Strict...

Today was an especially rough day at school. I am pretty sure it is because it is our first three day weekend. Some of my students don't do very well when the routine is altered. I know that for some of them the teachers in the special education department are the ONLY constant these kids have in their lives. The kids can count on adults to be there every day, where as at home that isn't always the case.

The moods, the extra drama, and bad behavior could also have been a result of the full moon. Put the two together... BAM! It was a really rough day. I was constantly redirecting, correcting, pulling kids back from what I call "LaLa Land" and a couple of times getting down right angry and saying, "I can't take this any more, DO YOUR WORK!"

I had to break up a skirmish before fists started to fly. Kids in the office for 'ball bagging'. (Don't ask, you don't want to know.) Kids in the hall to calm them down because they were disrupting the whole class. Did I mention today was a rough day?

Finally I made it to the last class of the day. The class that just happens to be one of my largest classes and one of my most challenging. Good Golly! Was it ever today. I was already tense, I know that that makes the entire class a bit more tense. While I was explaining the quiz for the day suddenly, one of my precious freshman yells out, "Why the crap do we have to do this?"

Believe it or not, I was much calmer than I could have been while my sweet, princess freshman wanted to continue with a 'discussion'. My darling freshman wanted to have a 'discussion' about the fact the 'crap' is not a cuss word. I simply stated, firmly with my 'teacher' look, "It is not a word that will be used in my class. End of discussion!"

My lovable freshman shouts, "God! You're sooooo strict! I'm glad you're not my mom! I can't believe you're going to adopt a China baby."

On the outside I looked ~I hope~ calm and cool. I again gave her my "teacher look" to try and get the point across that we were finished with this conversation. On the inside I was stinging, and I believe my heart skipped a beat or my stomach did a flip ~ maybe it was both. All I know is I thought this day was NEVER going to end.

This is not the first time a student has shouted at me that I am 'too strict' or that they are 'glad I'm not their mom'. It is usually a freshman who has never had to follow rules like we have in the high school. (The middle school's special ed. program is completely different.) It usually comes when they are frustrated with me or the work that I am trying to get them to do. I understand all of that.

This time when she threw in the line about being able to adopt it made me start to think about how WILL I be as a parent? Will I be too strict? Do I expect too much from my kids?

At school I don't think I expect too much. I expect them to be polite. I expect them to try their best. I expect them to work for their grade. I WILL NOT just give it to them to move them on.

Most of the students in my class are with me for their entire high school career. By the time they are seniors, they 'get me'. They know that I love being with them and I only want them to succeed. Seeing the improvements in their work and the amazing changes that occur in their writing makes me so proud of them and all they've accomplished. Hearing comments from students like: ~ You're the first person to teach me anything. or
~ You and my grandpa were the only two I worried about seeing my piercing.
Those types of comments tell me that I am doing an 'ok' job.

How will it be with polar cub? Will I be too hard? Will I expect too much? Will it be easier because she is mine and she will have more support and structure from home? I don't know the answer to any of these questions. Only time will tell. I do know that I sure don't want to screw this up.


  1. You will be a GREAT Mom.. everyone says that I am strict.. well I don't let my kids go out on the streets.. they don't go to people's house that I don't know well..and they follow rules.. those are basic to me.. and my kids have turned out if you are strict.. that is fine.
    it is only cause you LOVE HER...

  2. You will be a great mom.

    Besides teachers kids are always naughty:P

    Got a new book for you...and it is not crap, crap, crap! Fantastic. I love it and I think it will "speak" to you too!

    see you soon!

  3. Oh sweetie! You're going to be an awesome mom!!! Those same kids who shout, 'You're too strict' and 'I'm glad you're not my mom' inside secretly love that you care about them and make them tow the line. They're the same kids who flourish under your teaching because you're loving, kind and consistant. You said it yourself that kids love routine and predictability.

    This is exactly the type of loving, caring home Polar Cub is going to grow up in!! One where love abounds and where she knows exactly what to expect when she does A, B or C. A mom and dad who love her like crazy and help her to grow to be the very best polar cub she can be!!!

    Love you friend! You're going to be an AMAZING MOM!!! xoxo

  4. I'm sorry you had a rough week. You will be a wonderful mother who will teach her child right from wrong, good from bad and everything in between. Sounds like these kids were not lucky enough to have someone like you right from their beginnings.

    It's the weekend. Time to forget about the "crappy" weeks we had and enjoy our three days off!! :o)

  5. You are going to be an awesome mom! Not only that, you are also an awesome teacher.

    Sorry you had a bad week, but it sounds like you handled yourself so well. Wish I was there to give you a HUGE hug :-(
    Soon, though!

  6. Ditto to what Catherine said.
    You both will be wonderful parents. I feel children need boundries to know that someone cares. I am just sorry you even have doubts because you are a great teacher and a beautiful person. Your polar cub will thank their lucky stars for you both.

  7. You are going to be an absolutely amazing mom. I just know it.

    That kid knew exactly what button to push to make you really mad and hurt your feelings. That's why he said it.

    I am strict with Briana. I'm sure I'll be hearing "you're sooo strict" in my own house in about 10 years. ;)

  8. I have to say that I 'third' Catherine's comment. My kids all thought I was too strict. Even my step-children who were already teenagers when I entered their lives. The best compliment I have is that my step-daughter is so called 'strict' with her daughter. She calls me about things and asks my opinion vs calling her own 'mom'. Having expectations and knowing those expectations makes children feel loved and I believe Polar Cub will know that!! Don't doubt yourself one minute... you'll be absolutely fine. And for those moments when you aren't the best parent in the world (and we ALL have those moments)... there's thing I call grace, and I'm so thankful to have it from the Father of all fathers. :0)

  9. My children used to say "You're the only parents who make their kids have a curfew" or "You're the only parents who ........" yadda, yadda, yadda!!!! You will learn that you are NOT the only parents who make rules. By creating structure in your family you will be teaching Polar Cubbie to value structure and she will be comfortable & productive in a world full of rules to follow. You'll be giving her WONDERFUL TOOLS and you should be proud that.