April 13, 2010

an accident (for my teacher friends)

i got yelled at today. by a parent. a parent whose child had an accident yesterday afternoon while we were outside. and i made a mistake.

we were outside to relieve some of the pent-up energy left over from state testing all morning. we were on our way inside when a child began jumping up and down. she stated that she needed to use the bathroom. i acknowledged her request, assured her we were going inside as quickly as we could, and suggested she not jump up and down because that would make it worse.

one more jump…….and the accident happened.

she cried. i felt horrible. the other kids were laughing.

then, we made our way inside, lined up at the bathroom, then i asked another teacher to watch my class for a second while i got the girl some fresh clothes.

to the library, to the guidance counselor, back downstairs to another teacher, then another. finally, pants and brand new underwear. i did not want this child to sit down in wet clothes and be uncomfortable.  i felt like i was on autopilot.

fast forward to today…and my mistake.

i remembered last night that in all the commotion of getting the child clean and the rest of the class resettled, i had completely forgotten to call the child’s mother.

horrible. unforgiveable.

i call the child over to me early this morning and apologized to her for not calling her mother. i would do it when i got a break.

then, THEN. i get a message from the office. the mother called to talk to me.

i called her back. i explained the to her that i had been so busy trying to get her daughter comfortable that i had forgotten to call. and i apologized over and over again for not calling.

the mother said that she did not understand how this could happen to her child. she acknowledged that her child has a “thing” and doesn’t use public restrooms. (literally, i do not believe i have ever seen this child use the restroom at school) she stated that she didn’t understand why i wouldn’t let her go to the bathroom. she stated that i shooshed her off and didn’t let her go.

(need I remind you that we were outside in the parking lot moving as quickly as we could to get inside?)

i assured her it was an accident – a true accident and that had the circumstances been different, the outcome also would have been different. i apologized again for not calling her as soon as the incident occurred and assured her i would communicate better in the future.

she continued to question my abilities in keeping the class in control and offered to call a parent meeting to get me help in the classroom.

i continued to reassure her that it was an accident. and that everything was controlable in the classroom. i apologized again that i had failed in communication.

all the while, my class was getting restless because they knew i was preoccupied on the phone and they had nothing to keep them occupied.

i hung up the phone. two tears formed on my right eye. i covered them while i got another teacher to take my class for a minute.

i stepped in the hallway and cried. until all of my mascara was gone.

luckily, i have good co-workers who watched my class and reassured me that parents will get angry with you no matter what you do. and tomorrow is a new day.

1 comment:

  1. Oh Candace, I know. I've been there. Just let it fall off your back as hard as that is to do. uggg. . . so sorry! Kelly