After a festive evening of cooking, eating, drinking, telling stories, it was time to clean up. We all pitched in to tidy up. It was then that I asked the kids what they thought about J’s current issue with school. His mom had mentioned to me yesterday that she had been called to have a meeting with the school about him. It appears he has been cutting class and the reason he gave her is that he did not like the teacher. This has resulted in his grades going south dramatically. Not good, I said. And so, this particular evening, I ask the slightly older cousins if they have been in similar situations. Also, what did they do? Here is what they had to say:
They all agreed that they have been in situations where they did not like the teacher. One of them has always opened up to us when a teacher is being difficult, has strange ways of doing things or seems unfair or is not very good in communicating and teaching. as parents, we have never stepped in to interfere or comment, let alone fight the battle by confronting a teacher. We always told her to do her best, make the most of it and learn the material anyway. That’s what she’s at school for–to learn. Not to have to like or be liked, although the latter helps a lot in day-to-day activities.
The reason for this is we believe that aside from the academic instruction a child receives from school, the student body they are a part of and the faculty and school staff, are all his/her rehearsal for the world outside. In this enclosed environment, our children can mess up a little and the consequences are not so serious–yet. However, if they are sharp enough, (and I know they are pretty sharp), they will see that there are many life lessons to pick up, analyze, and learn from so they can use these skills you develop later on when they are out in the real world.
The cousins unanimously said they would stick it to that teacher by learning so much more than what the teacher can teach. M even said he’d master the craft better than the teacher. L told us of a situation when a good friend at school absolutely hated his teacher in an important subject in college. He finally went up to her and told her what he thought of the subject matter. She ended up asking him to do a presentation in class. He wound up learning a lot more of the subject than anyone else in the class.
I still cannot forget a professor I had in college. His name was Mr. Paman. I can still picture him in my mind. He taught us Anatomy. I could tell he did not like me nor my type from the first day. He thought I was some spoiled convent school girl who was stuck up. And maybe I came across that way to him. I was always so mad at him. He used to call on me at class and he would embarrass me in front of everyone. I would leave class fuming! Then one night, as I lay in bed so distressed by this idiot, I decided he was going to respect me no matter what. I started to spend extra time in the lab. I spent extra hours reading the anatomy book and even going to the library for more detailed information on the subject matter. If going though the chapters twice was not enough, then I went through it three-four times. This time, whenever he would call on me, I knew the answer and I explained them with ease and confidence. My test scores became consistently high. In the end, he had to give me an “A.” He had no choice, really. To do otherwise would have caused me to question his grading system.
The one thing the experience taught me was that there will always be difficult people in our lives. And we will be in situations where we will have to work with them, for them, or under them. It’s up to me to If I will let this person get the better of me. The better path is to become so damned good at it that I’d make them so sorry they misjudged me or my capabilities. In the long-term, I developed my study skills that helped me a lot when I went to med school.
And so, it’s all really up to how a person deals with adversary. You either let your hatred or anger consume you, and you end up the loser in the equation. In this situation J is in, he loses out with learning the academic subject that he may need later on or it’s an important prerequisite for other more complex courses he needs to qualify for college. He will also miss out on the valuable life skills he can derive from the experience. What a shame!
In the end, he decides if he will let this teacher get to him. Not the teacher. The decision is ultimately and completely his.
I also want to say that a bona fide member of our family does not cut class just because he/she hates the teacher. That’s a cop-out. It’s a coward’s way out.