Saturday, October 10, 2009

Exactly what is the age of responsibility?

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?

23 comments:

TechnoBabe said...

When you write it out like this there doesn't seem like any difference between a five year old student and a teacher. Hmmmmm.

only a movie said...

Ha.
That it all.
xxoo

Brian Miller said...

and you wonder where the students get it from...lol. happy saturday!

Beth said...

Techno Babe - Seriously, it is easier to stomach with the kids.

Movie - Thankfully, most of my teachers ARE responsible. It only takes a few...

Brian - Exactly!

rxBambi said...

Oh my god. It makes me really sad to think that these are the "grown-ups" that are running our country. What's it gonna be like in 40 years when our kids are running us? They have no value system to learn from.

sad..

Midwest Mommy said...

If I had to pick between the two I would side with the kid that is ridiculous for a grown woman to do. Seriously?

Life with Kaishon said...

Wow. That does sound stressful! Sometimes life gets overwhelming for everyone. Maybe that whiney teacher is going thru stress we don't know about. I think kindness always wins. Kindness or firing : ) Either/or!

Oh My Goddess said...

Seems like some people would rather push off their accountability onto others.

Which leads to them thinking everyone else is responsible for my happiness/well being/success/failure etc.

So immature.

Lizzy Frizzfrock said...

I think it's only principals who have to show responsibility... not kids, not parents, and certainly not us teachers! Who me?
Maybe President Obama needs to give another pep talk to kids & parents... with a little aside to teachers.

Chief said...

This is so timely.

Thursday, a new student comes into my office and tells me that he does not have a ride home from school today. I sit there for a second, wondering why a 13 year old has just figured out he has no ride when it id 1:00 in the afternoon. I tell him to call his mom and tell her. He said he called both of his parents and they said he can't be picked up until 6:00! So I called the parents and finally got the dad to answer his cell phone and he basically told me that if his son can't find a ride home then he will have to wait with us until he gets off work. I told him he can't do that because the school closes at 4:00. he said that it was impossible to get him earlier and that it was our decision whether or not to leave him outside in the cold until 6:00 or let him stay in the school. He hung up on me.

What the hell is going on?

Vodka Mom said...

Is she blonde?

K13 said...

Your posts make me laugh but yet they are really amazing...I cannot believe the ignorance of some people. Um...yep you sort of need to teach your kid to get & stay in the right line - stupid parent. How frustrating. You seem to handle all these scenarios ALOT better than I would be able to.

The Bus Driver said...

Those are the same parents who arent home when their child gets home off the bus, and complain when we keep their 5-6-7-8-9 yr old on the bus because WE know it is unsafe to leave them ALONE. They complain that they were "there/sleeping/almost there/could see the bus/insert lame excuse here" What we know is the child knocked/pounded on your front door for a good 3-5 minutes before we called them back while they were sobbing because they had to stay on the bus. TWENTY minutes later we get a phonecall from the parent demanding to know where their child is. Fun times

Missy said...

I am laughing but only because I know it all too well.

Knucklehead said...

I'm not sure there really is an age of responsibility. Whackos come in all ages.

Emily said...

Here's a good one... my school is a magnet for The Arts and the first week I had a student withdraw so he could attend a school closer to home. Needless to say, I was surprised when he showed up in class the day after being withdrawn. It turns out that he made the decision (without his parents knowing) to get on the bus that comes to our school so that he could GET HIS CRAYONS OUT OF HIS DESK! The parents had no idea and they ended up having to take off work, drive across town to pick him up, and then drive back across town to drop him off at the other school.

otin said...

Some one said to me one time, "Aren't children cute?!"

I said, "Yea they are just cute little versions of the people who I am going to hate when they grow up!"

There are very few responsible people in this world!

Leslie Hanna said...

Sigh. I am so glad my kids spent a few years in Montessori. At the age of 3 & 4 they were planning their days and getting themselves to music lessons (on campus). It's called regiment (regimin?) and routine and rules. Kids WANT to be responsible, but the parents need to instill that concept in them and help them learn it, not make excuses for them.

Pseudonymous High School Teacher said...

You sure that teacher is not the boy's mother?

Jules said...

I keep trying to figure out where the normal people live. It's obviously not here...or there....

Aunt Becky said...

Wow. That's just incredible. I take my hat off to you for not losing your cool on a daily basis. How do you handle it?

Optimistic Pessimist said...

your guess is as good as mine. some people just never get it.

Hit 40 said...

You have the best posts!! Honestly!!

If the parent would have asked politely if the school could help her out with her air headed child. I am sure that you would have said that we will do our best. Then, she would have politely said that she would talk with her son about his choices. Let's all just work together.


I do not like the tone parents take like we are their servants.