Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Lola's Very Bad Day

For the most part life with Lola so far has been wonderful. It’s been fun, entertaining, a bit frustrating at times, and a learning experience for both of us. She has been fairly even-tempered, with the occasional pouting session, but I think that is normal for any 11-year-old. She has not been a discipline problem, is now becoming happy to help me around the house, and learning about respect for herself and others.

There has been the occasional incident at school where she is too loud or too rowdy or even sometimes just refusing to cooperate. Her ESOL teacher has been witness to most of this and has handled it with admirable aplomb. The big surprise came today while Lola was in her ESOL class and 1) deliberately disobeyed her teacher’s instructions and 2) sassed off to her when reprimanded. Since this was the third (yes, THIRD) incident this week so far (and it’s only Wednesday!) her teacher was required to inform me of this. Lola was sent to another teacher’s classroom for quiet time for the rest of the period, and she also must have a silent lunch with one of her teachers. If she receives two more ‘citations’ such as this for the current nine weeks, she will be sent to In-School Suspension and it will go on her permanent school record.

I tried to think of something that was bothering Lola that may have caused her to conduct herself negatively. She seemed just fine this morning, we had a good conversation over breakfast as usual, and she was happy and ready to go to school. I dropped her off and not even an hour later I was informed of her behavioral faux-pas.

Yes, I know…welcome to parenthood…

After over-analyzing the incident in my head, I finally accepted that it is what it is and I would talk with her about it.

After arriving home, Lola and I sat down and discussed the events of the day (and week). She did show remorse, although a little apprehensive about verbally apologizing to her teacher. When I asked her why she behaved this way to one of her favorite teachers, she replied, “I don’t know, Mom, something just snapped in my head and I did and said all that and I just couldn’t stop!”

I think we all have days like that once in awhile. I told her that. But there are places that this type of thing just cannot happen. School is one of them. There are consequences.

She knows I’m serious about the importance of behavior in school. The unfortunate thing is that the public schools of today are full of children who display unacceptable behavior. Things are far different that when I was Lola’s age. There are different issues children face today within the family unit and with their peers. Some teachers, like Lola’s ESOL teacher, refuse to put up with bad behavior and place the responsibility back onto the child. Other less experienced teachers have a constant uphill battle, or perhaps the battle was lost long ago. I can understand the confusion about what one can get away with and what one cannot. But I will continue to stress to my daughter that no matter what she sees going on around her, she must always use her head and sound judgement to dictate her own behavior.

…it is truly a process…

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