Saturday, October 10, 2009

Living in the Milky Way

Life is like a box of chocolates... right?

I feel like I am constantly working on being less judgmental. Of others. Of myself.

I had pretty much made my mind up on what I thought of Miss MaGoo's teacher. Our first encounter wasn't the most positive experience... most likely for both of us.
Miss MaGoo shed some tears in the first few weeks of school. She was, well... quite intimidated and frankly scared of her teacher. This teacher is what I would call a 'barker'. In my opinion, that in-and-of-itself is not a bad thing. I think of myself as a 'barker'... meaning I tend to bark at my kids. I'm not a 'sweet talker' and I don't sugar-coat anything for anyone.
Miss MaGoo and I had some long talks about different forms of discipline, threats, and fear. Her 'ah-ha moment' was when she realized that going to the Principal's office wouldn't kill her... and then I said "Ya know what the absolute WORST thing they could do to you is?" Her eyes got real big and in a whisper-type voice she asked..."what?" I got close to her face and said "They will... CALL ME!" She giggled and smiled at me. Then she laughed "Well that's not scary!"... EXACTLY!
This teacher has been good for Miss MaGoo, and she needs to learn how to handle the different types of personalities of people she'll come across in life.

So when I went in for Parent/Teacher Conference, I thought I had this teacher nailed. She's very strict, blunt, and rules with fear. She's not the most tolerant or the most patient. When she started to compliment Miss MaGoo I was taken back a bit. Miss MaGoo is a sweetheart, no doubt about that! She is very kind and always thoughtful of others feelings. She's not in any way aggressive or brash. And while she cut our visit very short, she explained how disrespectful she thought it was to make people wait. She technically had 12 minutes with each parent, but said that she can't take more than 10. (5 with me... even though nobody was waiting)
I guess that I wasn't expecting this particular teacher to credit or notice the good in my daughter. Being as critical as she is, I had pegged her wrong.
My eyes were opened even wider when I spent the next day helping in the classroom.
While I sat in the back of the room renewing my fine motor skills (cutting and coloring) I listened to a rowdy and somewhat distracting bunch of kiddo's. Many thoughts ran through my head... long it had been since I used scissors to cut out shapes... and how I was struggling I had judged this teacher without knowing her day-to-day obstacles

She came back and visited with me few times. One of the times letting me know how much better she's been feeling lately. She has a blood disorder that makes her extremely irritable and gives her anger issues. "Uh... Okay." was all that came out of my mind, and mouth for the moment. (It was going to take me minute to process.) She said it just like that! She went on to inform me that on Labor Day weekend her husband told her she was too ornery and needed treatment. (which she does every 3 months or so) It made me laugh and my sarcastic comment was "That's always nice coming from your husband... even if it's true."
This woman shared only a small part of herself with me... but it was enough to teach me a good lesson.
We are not so different from one another.
My husband has to tell me when I'm headed downhill. Heaven knows it's not always received well, but I'm grateful he tells me.
Even knowing one or two of her struggles makes me realize that under her hard shell, she cares and loves... and really does her job well.
I don't know her personal battles, what she goes home to, what she has gone through in life, what she hopes and dreams about, or what she fears in life. I don't know what gave her a hard outer shell, but I know what gave me mine... and I don't think anyone wants to build up those walls. But I do know that she's a wife, a mother, a teacher, a woman, a daughter of God. After spending time her classroom, I know she loves what she does. I may not agree with everything she does, or how she does it... but who knows? Maybe she'll end up being one of my favorite teachers ever? One thing I do know...I'll always remember her as the teacher who taught me to give the benefit of the doubt.

Miss MaGoo is...well... goo. There's no shell around her softness. So as her and I encounter different teachers... some with nuts, some without. Some too sweet for my liking, some that annoy me and stick to my teeth. Dark chocolate, white chocolate... regardless. Under those hard shells is a soft nougat-type center. Remember the nougat.


gillman said...

I love any analogy that has to do with chocolate!!:0) i love this post, its so true about so many people in life!! remember the nougat, i love it!:0) keep posting!

Wilde Things said...

Awesome! From a teacher's point of view it is always nice to hear parents change their opinion. As a parent I know it is hard to listen to our kids complaints and gripes and not judge--we're people, we do that. But, you're right, teachers are people too (in my opinion some of the best people) and life happens for them too. So, good for you Mrs. Smith . . . I commend you!