Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Communication, or lack thereof

A note to my daughter’s first grade teacher:

We have been dropping our daughter off at school on time (admittedly, maybe a bit close to the wire sometimes, but still on time). Until you sent the school administration to talk to us, we had no idea that she had been late for class several times. Now that we think about it, we realize that she tends to be a bit slow in the morning and perhaps it’s taking her several minutes to put her backpack away and get herself situated. Now we know – we need to get her to school five minutes earlier. Problem solved.

But, in the future, if you have a problem with something we’re doing – or not doing – it would be really nice if you spoke to us first (or sent a note home or sent an email). Bringing this to the attention of the school administration and having them talk to us makes it seem like we haven’t been cooperating with you. That kind of escalation was totally unnecessary and really pissed me off.

If you had bothered to communicate with us directly, I think you would have found us to be very cooperative. Apologetic, even. Now we feel blindsided and a little defensive (although my husband did send you a nice email apologizing and assuring you that we would get her there on time from now on). I really, really wanted to come in and talk to you this morning. And ask you how you would feel if I went directly to the administration with a classroom issue instead of talking to you first. But my husband talked me off that particular ledge, pointing out that you’d probably interpret it as a threat. (Plus I'm PMSing and it would have come out all wrong and bitchy and would just have made the situation worse so thank god for my husband and his rational thinking.)

Instead, my husband went back to the administrator he spoke with yesterday. He explained that you had never spoken to us about this. He voiced our concerns that the administration would think of us as uncooperative “scofflaws” who don’t care to get our kids to school on time. She had no idea that you hadn't talked to us first and she told us that you gave her the impression that we were regularly getting our daughter to school very late. Thankfully, the administrator was very nice. She knows us and knows that we care very much about our daughters’ education. She knows that we make every effort to follow the rules and work with the school when there are issues.

It’s too bad that you didn't give us a chance to show you that.


landismom said...

Ugh. Having been on the 'uncooperative' side of the parent-teacher argument myself a few times, you definitely have my sympathy. Thank goodness for sensible husbands!

Kristin said...

Maybe I'm a bit sloppy bohemian with regard to school, but how imperative is it that a first grader is achtung punctual to school each and every day? So what if she dawdles in a few seconds before or after the bell? Clearly, you're jeopardizing her college career and must be shamed by the authorities! But that could just be me.