I remember the day that my children made a switch in their “educational” thinking. For them, it happened in kindergarten, but I know it can happen at any time during those first few years of school. Up until that point in their lives, everything Mom said was right. Mom knew the facts. Mom knew the truth. No questions about it.
Then one day it happened. We were having a conversation, probably about some wonder in God’s great world, and I was sharing my vast knowledge with them. And then the words came out.
“No, Mom. My teacher said…” and they went on to explain what the teacher had taught.
And from then on, whatever the teacher said was truth. Whatever I said was compared to what the teacher had said.
My teacher side rejoiced!
I had seen this trend countless times in my own experience. I knew their learning was secure! I knew that if the teacher had their undivided attention, whatever was said would go into their brains and work out to be learned from there. “My teacher said that I shouldn’t eat too much sugar” or “my teacher said, I have to play outside for a while.”
While as a mom I had said these very same things and gotten nowhere, now that the teacher has said them, they were rules to be followed! I remember clearly the day my son refused to have even a little red lollipop in his lunch because his teacher had said no candy was allowed for snacks!
My mom side deflated
Even though as a teacher I knew a trend like this should happen to some degree, I realized that my ideas, my rules, my thoughts, my teachings would be compared to the teacher’s for the next year or so while they learned to process and evaluate all this information from home and school on their own. While this made learning guaranteed to happen and their experience at school safe, it made me feel like all my hard work in raising a baby to a toddler to a school-aged child was fading.
It also brought me back to my first year of teaching…when I had a phone call from a parent—who was also a middle school teacher—asking me to explain to their child that they could read their home reading book right before supper, not right after school. This particular child was taking everything I said as a teacher literally, and following every “rule” that came out in school to a T.
I remember being surprised that a child would argue with a parent in order to follow the teacher’s idea, to please the teacher.
After talking to the child—and the class—about how home reading could happen whenever it was best for mom or dad, I received a thank you note from the parent for making their schedule at home run a little more smoothly.
And a p.s. asking if I could mention to this child that cleaning her room was also an important task to complete!