According to some of my parents, we can’t expect young children to bear any responsibility for their actions.
Mad Parent: “I want to know why my son rode the bus home to my empty apartment when I told the teacher he was going to after school care!”
Me: “Ma’am. I know you are upset and I understand. Your son was lined up to go to after school care in the lunchroom but he chose to get into the bus line to go home. He told us that he wanted to play with his friend at home. He has a responsibility to go where he is told to go.”
Mad Parent: “But how could he be responsible? He is only 5 years old!”
Me: “Ma’am. We have to start teaching responsibility from the time children are very young. We have children with special needs who understand that they have to go where the teacher tells them to go. The ones with more significant needs have someone assigned to them. But I don’t believe that is what your son needs. He just needs a consequence in place if he doesn’t follow directions.”
Mad Parent: “He will not be held responsible for this! And I don’t care if someone does have to be assigned to my son. I just need a guarantee that he will never be allowed to move to a different line when leaving at the end of the day!”
Then again, according to some of my teachers, they are free from responsibility, too.
Whining Teacher (at 7:35 a.m. – school starts at 7:45 a.m.): “I need to take a sick day today because <insert any minor reason here>.”
Me: “You are supposed to call that in to the substitute finding service by 6:30 a.m. The only exception is when there is an emergency and this doesn’t sound like an emergency.”
Whining Teacher: “Well, I didn’t know. You haven’t told us that before.”
Me: “Actually, I’ve told you every year at the beginning of the year for the past 4 years. In addition, it is in the Faculty Handbook in which you signed acknowledging that you’d read it.”
Whining Teacher: “How am I supposed to remember everything in that manual? You should have reminders about this more often. It is not my fault.”
So, any ideas on when I can expect people to be responsible?