There is a dichotomy in teaching. I have had parents come to me and ask me how to fix their child. What can they do to make him a better student, a better human being? I try to answer them the best way I know how while in the back of my mind I am thinking, “Why do you think she knows any more than you? She is making it up as she goes along!” These parents think I know the answers, it’s a trap to believe that they are right. Listening to these parents prevents me from reflecting on the work that I am doing and thinking about how to improve it.
On the other hand, I have parents that come in and tell me that I, we, the school are all wrong. Everything we do is wrong. I had a child hospitalized this week because she was suicidal. We knew there was a problem with the child. We had a safety plan in place for her and we have been begging the guardian since the beginning of school year to get her some counseling. The guardian told me that “it is perfect at home, it is the fault of the school that she is in the hospital”. When kids don’t feel safe, when their needs are not being met, we cannot teach them. If the parents/guardians do not listen or believe us, we cannot help them either.