One day last week I wrote this:
Fun learning moment for today: I headed out walking around our school this morning looking for objects which my students might wonder about and ran into a former student. She's now a fourth grader and has a rough time at home. She walked with me looking for objects and had a great eye for ideas and thought about what my first graders would find most interesting. I wanted pinecones and she pointed out the right kind of trees (something I didn't know). She was so thoughtful, it started my day off right!That was a great up for my day.
The next morning I had to run back out to my car for something I had forgotten. As I walked towards my car I noticed the same girl sitting on the same bench in front of the school. She does so most days. I think she is just looking for a quiet moment to herself. (When it's cold or rainy our principal will open her office window and call to this little one to come keep her company.)
As I watched the girl's mother pulled up, got out of the car, and went over to yell at her daughter. I couldn't hear the words but I could hear the tone. When the girl stood up she smacked her on the bottom, pointed to the car, and kept yelling until her daughter was inside the car. Then she got in and drove away.
As she pulled out of our parking lot she passed our principal walking in and they waved at one another. I walked over and shared what I had seen. My principal was quite surprised, given that the mother had just smiled and waved.
That was a serious down for the day.
I hate that... when you know a child is mistreated but it probably isn't severe enough to be considered abuse, so there's barely anything you can do. You can talk to the mother and try to encourage her to do other things, like use other discipline measures, but if they are careful to act different when people are watching, nothing changes at home. :(
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