Friday, February 25, 2011

Calling Your Shots

So this morning my daughter comes up from her bedroom, and she's complaining of a sore stomach. She figures she shouldn't go to school. I don't have a big problem with that - it's not like it's particularly important, eh? But she works in the cafeteria, doing real work, and that bit I do take seriously. The woman who runs it depends on her help. So a phone call must be made.

But who should make the call? Me? Why me? If school is about preparing for real life, as they insist it is, then I figure Poppy should be making her own phone calls. But schools tend to be a bit funny about that. Kids calling themselves in sick? That doesn't happen. I mean, you can't trust 'em, can you? Everyone knows that kids hate school, and they'll do anything to wiggle out of it.

Except.... my daughter goes because she chooses to go. I've had this conversation with the staff several times. She chooses to go, she chooses which courses to take, she chooses. So I figure that means that she should alert them if she's not going to be there, and it matters. In English class, it doesn't matter. The class goes on without her. But the cafeteria, that's a major inconvenience for the other cafeteria staff. A call must be made.

So she called, and I was ready to be referred to if they weren't going to accept her say-so, but there wasn't a problem. We're having a lot less problems this year in that regard.

A few weeks ago they brought a substitute in for one of Poppy's classes, cosmetology. This woman tends to be pretty high-strung. She completely lost it during classtime, had girls in tears, the class in chaos, and she was yelling at everyone, including my daughter. Poppy picked up her books, and said evenly, "I'm going to go study in the library". The sub replied, "You just do whatever you want, don't you?!" To which Poppy answered, "That's right."

Amen. Not that we don't need to make an effort to get on together under normal circumstances, but nobody should tolerate crap.

The next day, the regular teacher was back. She made a little speech regarding difficult people, and how if you're working in a spa, you'll end up with working with difficult people, so you need to learn to tiptoe around them. My daughter knows better. She watches her mother in action.

I do NOT put up with difficult people. Or rather, I do, but I don't put up with their difficult behaviours. You want to be a cantankerous wretch? Go right ahead - but in my clinic you'll be reasonably courteous, and you'll keep you appointments on time, or you'll find another therapist. I work at being very good at what I do, and that's something people are willing to be courteous for. Maybe if I were mediocre and desperate, I'd put up with abuse for the money. I think that's one of the side-benefits of competence - it makes you a lot less vulnerable.

Yesterday, another mum of a child at that school was telling me that her child had been bullied by another child, who'd been burning her son. High school, for crying out loud. When she finally figured it out, she gave the school hell, gave the other child's parents hell, and gave her son hell for choosing to be a victim instead of blowing a gasket.

But her son is stuck there. That's why he didn't speak up, isn't it? He feels stuck, and in his mind, he's dealing with the circumstances as best he can, because he has to face that torment in some form every day. I hope his mind learns freedom. I hope that as an adult he learns that he has agency to call his own shots.

3 comments:

CONSTANTINE said...

Jesus! I hope that boy leaves the school. The parents need to remove him. Some souls are more timid by nature. That's one of the reasons I'm a fan of the Sweet Science.

Madcap said...

I suspect that won't happen. I hope he follows your "scientific" lead with these situations in future though!

Seonaid said...

Wow! I'm going to have to think about this one, because I'm pretty sure that my kids still wouldn't have the aplomb to gather up their books and go to the library, but that's a perfectly reasonable response.

Nope. You're right. You don't have to learn to tiptoe around difficult people. You have to learn to set your boundaries. BIG difference. I hope that I figure out how to get that one out to the kids.