Then came the other family sending me a note informing that their child would NOT be taking the test I had planned because she hadn't had time to study. She would make up the test on Thursday. The tone was condescending and while the student tends to be one of the most gracious, I saw a side of this family I had known about. I have always had great deference towards family wishes in schooling: I don't feel it appropriate for schools to act as policemen on family life, but this note came in hard and poorly written. I let the girl study and catch up on homework. After a while she got bored and came into class to ask for the test, which I gave her. She almost finished it in class. In this instance, while a little frustrated by the tone, I chose the path of least resistance and it all came out well.
Writing about these frustrations have helped. Communicating via Twitter as well. I maintain my disposition of loving schools, loving education and loving my students, even when they can be annoying at times. I told my admin that of all my colleagues, I feel I am the least annoyed adult working at our cozy middle school, judging by how the others talk and act around these kids. But for reasons that confuse me, some students/families and others persist in interpreting me negatively.
I am reminded that education is never a closed, done deal: that each year is a whole new set of successes and challenges. This school year has been an amazing one, in large part due to a renewed sense of self in my profession, this blog and my Twitter based PLN.
This quote sums up my thoughts:
Education is the ability to listen to almost anything without losing your temper
or your self-confidence. -Robert Frost
I would just add that we have to forgive ourselves a little if, in the heat of the situation, we do occasionally lose either temper or self-confidence. Just be sure to recover it fast and furiously afterwards.