Battle with a Teacher

I’m an educator. My sister is an educator. I work for educators. My friends are educators.

Educators are my homies, and you can usually find me defending educators—especially K-12 teachers—hard!

My engagements with Hope’s school regarding her academic challenges have been far more positive than not. Of late, it’s been more challenging to get Hope to avail herself of the accommodations designed to help her be successful. Pride is one of the 7 deadly sins for good reason.

In any case, midway through this quarter I continued to monitor Hope’s grades. I didn’t put pressure on her, I just wanted to keep an eye on things. I reached out to several of her teachers; she seemed to be especially struggling in those courses and I wanted to know a bit about how she behaved in class, had she been to visit them about her work and whether she was regularly engaged.

One teacher was outright dismissive. I told her that her response was problematic and what I needed to know moving forward.

Hope managed to pull her grades up, but I knew it would be a long year with this teacher.

Fast forward to this morning when the teacher sends me a lengthy email about Hope’s lackluster performance, the fact that she has given her additional assignments and the fact that I was not holding up my end of the educational social contract.

Oh really?

I quickly wrote her back noting that this might’ve been avoided if she hadn’t been dismissive weeks ago, that Hope would absolutely NOT be doing additional assignments under any circumstances, and that she really had no clue what the details of my social contract were so she might want to get back in her lane.

We scheduled a call for after I arrived at the airport and things didn’t just go left. I was so damn furious after this call that we will be meeting with some administrators in the future.

I no longer disclose that Hope is an adoptee or that she has emotional struggles unless it’s necessary. She is entitled to some privacy; she is entitled to some normalcy. I disclosed a few weeks ago that my daughter struggles with ADHD.

Today, the instructor indicated she knew all about that because her son has it and he even had to go on anti-depressants briefly because he was down and really at his tween age, what could he possibly have to worry about? And what could Hope have to worry about?

I had to close my eyes and take a breath not to verbally stomp this woman.

Now, sometime this quarter the teacher disclosed that she was an adoptee, specifically a Korean adoptee. Hope was drawn to her because of both the adoptee identification and she still loves all things/people Korean. What I didn’t realize was that Hope had chosen not to disclose that she too was an adoptee.

Well, I began to explain that Hope’s struggles with ADHD are not organic; they are trauma based. She is struggling with many adoption-related issues and she is being monitored closely. She’s not “down” and only requiring a brief stint on drugs; medication is a part of her life and helps keeps her functional. And yes, she is an adoptee, an older adoptee who is struggling and who is exceptionally good at masking her struggle outside of our home.

I thought a brief moment of compassion and some level of shared experience might wash over us, but nah. Teacher lady proceeded to tell me that Hope needed to learn responsibility with this ‘punishment’ assignment, and I needed to learn how to properly offer positive reinforcement and incentives.

giphy-downsized

Say what now? Whoooosaaaaahhhhh….

Lady, I done took and told you she’s 👏🏾not 👏🏾doing👏🏾 your👏🏾 effing👏🏾 punishment 👏🏾assignment; you know nothing about Hope’s intrinsic or extrinsic motivation triggers so mind your beeswax and your adoption narrative is not the same as Hope’s so again, get in your lane.

She came again with how she would send me some incentive charts, and I just said, well, look at that, I’m at my airport gate, got to go. *Click*

Making me sing church spirituals, trying to get my mind right dealing with this teacher lady. Imma need the Holy Homeboy to show up and show out…cause for real…I am not the one.

giphy

At home, I told Hope she didn’t need to do any other assignments for this class this week; the grown folks have some stuff we need to work out and I need to to focus on getting her feeling safe, attached and functional.

The ONLY good thing is that I really do not have any more damns to give about Hope’s academic performance right now. My daughter’s well-being is everything. Sure, I want her to do her best, but not at the risk of her mental health.

Meanwhile, I feel like this teacher and I are going to butt heads for a while. She was downright offensive today. I’m hoping that with time she will have a better understanding of Hope’s struggle, but if she keeps pushing and academically punishing I’m going to have to be *that* mom.

She really, really doesn’t want to meet that chick.

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About AdoptiveBlackMom

I'm a single Black professional woman living in the DC area. I adopted tween a few years ago, and this blog chronicles our journey. Feel free to contact me at adoptiveblackmom@gmail.com, on Facebook at Adoptive Black Mom, and on Twitter @adoptiveblkmom. ©www.AdoptiveBlackMom.com, 2013-2017. All rights reserved. (Don't copy my ish without credit!) View all posts by AdoptiveBlackMom

8 responses to “Battle with a Teacher

  • Beth

    where does she get off just assuming that Hope, or any student, doesn’t have “something to worry about”? She just assumes that every student’s life is peachy unless someone tells her otherwise?

    It hurts to think that Hope is getting this kind of uncompassionate attitude from someone she felt a special connection to.

    I’m so glad you have Hope’s back, and your putting her mental health first is exactly right. The school stuff will come, and if it doesn’t come right now, there is time for it. Safe,attached and functional is everything.

    • AdoptiveBlackMom

      Yeah this teacher…we got some work to do. Hope is always a bit worried when I tell her to do something other than what the teacher has told her–some of that is the trust/attachment issues. Her anxiety is settled a bit when I tell her that grown folks need to work some stuff out and that she needs to let me step in and straighten things out. She was so happy to have an adoptee as a teacher; I was surprised that she didn’t share that she was also one, but we definitely have some sensitivity stuff we need to work through.

      • Beth

        That was a brilliant way to put it – the adults have some stuff to work out, don’t worry about it. I sympathize so much with your worry and struggle over Hope’s academics. This was a huge issue with my older girl, who came home at age 9 with a ton of undiagnosed learning issues that it took us about 10 years to fully understand. I had a lot of sleepless nights wondering what kind of life she could have with her 5th grade reading level, and the day she managed to graduate high school was a hugely proud moment, forget any dreams of college.

        Today she is 22, happy and secure, and finally some of the academics are maturing a little. She is doing community college courses to become a phlebotomist and managed to pass her recent course all on her own with a 79%, and for the first time ever I saw her learn to buckle down and study. It comes. It comes eventually.

  • TAO

    Ugh, I’m sorry. If she’s a Korean adoptee and old enough to be a teacher, she likely came home between 3 and 4 months old (yes, there were some older but most were mere babies) so she has no way to have empathy about a foster teen adoptee, she may not have yet done any deep processing of her own either.

    Glad you were able to step in even on a trip…

  • Caitlin

    oh my gosh, the CLAPS! Hahahahaha, I bet you are going to tell this lady everything that needs to be told! Get’em, mama!

  • thebeautifulopportunity

    Not sure why someone would go into teaching if they don’t think kids deserve empathy for whatever is going on in their lives. Everyone’s pain is their own, and if it feels like a big deal to that person, than it is. Loneliness, grief, fear, anger… the emotions are still there regardless of cause, “big” or “small”.

  • HerdingChickens

    Who on earth thinks that tweens have nothing to worry about? Dear lord how insensitive that is! And a punishment assignment?! You’ve GOT to be kidding. I’m so glad you set this woman straight!

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