The other day I posted an exchange I had with a parent about farting. Today I follow that up with another interesting, though not nearly as outrageous exchange. One thing to note this time around is that although I emailed Dad’s email address (like last time), Mom was the one who replied. There is a clear difference in tone between their styles of communication.
Aside from that, I guess what I”m learning here is that for some people/parents, you really need to spell it all out.
So without further ado, my original email, followed by Mother’s reply, followed by me again:
I wanted to let you know that the farting has stopped for now. Thanks for your help with that. But now there’s a new issue. We are currently reading Treasure Island and B… has lost his book. From my perspective that’s fine. That sort of thing happens and I always work with a student until they either find it or pay for it.
However, B…’s solution to this problem was, not to come to me, but to steal another classmate’s book this morning.
It would be great if you could reinforce that this is not acceptable.
We have discussed this with B…., he did NOT steal a book from another student, but did take another one from the classroom. If this was another student’s he was not aware of this and did not have any intention of stealing another students book. He will pay for the one he has lost. Please let him know the cost to replace the lost book and this will be taken care of.
B…. does not steal things from others and I resent your accusations.
My response (notice the increased level of formality),
I’m sorry that you feel resentment. I guess I can accept that B… believes he took a book from the room without the intention of stealing. His explanation to you is interesting, however. The book that he took, was N…S…’s. He found it, sitting with all of her other Language Arts materials, at her seat and on top of her Language Arts binder. She had stepped out of the room for a moment leaving her materials unattended. When she came back into the room, she was very surprised to find her book missing.
Please understand that there are not Treasure Island books just lying around the room. Each student is assigned one book and is responsible for that book.
If you like, perhaps “steal” is too strong a word. Perhaps “took” or “borrowed without asking” would be more appropriate. Maybe he did truly intend to return it to her. In either case, because I highly value parent/teacher communication, I feel it’s important that I share with you behavior that you, as a parent, may or may not want to deal with.
I’m just sharing with you what I see. I do the same for all my students and their parents. Please understand that from my perspective I don’t “accuse.” That would require interpretation. I am only sharing my observations. Feel free to interpret and react (or not react) to those observations in whatever way you feel appropriate. I have kids myself and honestly believe we are all in this together.
From my perspective, the bottom line is that you talked to B…. about this, and I appreciate that. And as far as the lost book itself is concerned, B….. told me this morning that he found it in his locker.
Now, I have to be honest with you. That comment, “I resent your accusations,” raised my hackles a bit. While I didn’t feel my original communication was accusatory, or attacking in any way, I’m a parent so I can empathize with that interpretation. Nobody likes to hear that their kid is behaving inappropriately. Still, sometimes they really do need to hear about it.
So, in keeping with my life’s purpose to become more conscious, I tried to remove my ego and its defense from the situation. What’s left is only information without emotion, attachment, or expectation.
So that’s what I was shooting for. Is what resulted an example of projecting more consciousness into the world? I don’t know. Either way, it felt pretty good to me.
Still, understanding the nature of things, I’ve been cc’ing my principal every communication I have with these parents. I figure if I’m doing something inappropriate myself, she’ll let me know. This morning I got this little thank-you note in my box from her:
Thanks for being in touch with your parents on a regular basis and communicating with them in such a positive manner. You do a nice job with this.
I also appreciate being notified when the situation demands such.
I’ll tell you what. Regardless of any situation or outcome. As a professional, it sure is nice to have support.