. Regurgitated Alpha Bits: Life Lessons

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Life Lessons

I never like to get those phone calls from the office that start with:

"Hello Mrs. Lee. There's a parent in the office right now who would like to speak with you."

It's never good.

I start wracking my brain.

Who did I piss off this time?

Was it something I said? I can't recall anything controversial.

Ha! Like it takes "something controversial" to upset some parents.

Goodness knows what I've done this time.

I'll bet it's related to running the mile later this morning. Grrrrr.

What a way to start my morning...

Luckily, I team teach and we do everything together, including placating upset parents.

We three marched up to the office and found the father of one of our most reliable, best behaved, most athletic boys standing there, arms crossed and furrowed brow.

Well, at least I know it's not about running the mile!

Next to him was his son Tim, eyes red from crying and shame splashed across his face.

Me: Good morning, Mr. Johnson. What can we do for you?

Mr. J: Hello. Tim has something to tell you.

Tim: Ummm Mrs. Lee. Remember that test we took on the rock cycle?

Me: Yup. (Like a month ago.)

Tim: Well, I copied one of my answers off of Jimmy's test. I copied number five.

Me: Oh! Oh, ok. Well, Tim... (Holy cow! This sweet kid has been marinating in this guilt for a month!)

Tim (crying): So I tore up my test and want you to give me a zero. I also will accept any other consequences you think are fair. I should have NEVER done that.

Me: Wow, Ok, Tim, what motivates you to bring this to me now?

Tim: I couldn't take it any longer. I felt so guilty, so I went to my parents and told them about what I did. Really, any other consequences are fine. I deserve whatever you think I should get. I was soooo wrong. And Jimmy had NOTHING to do with it. He's innocent.

Me: Well, Tim, I think the zero is more than enough for a guy who clearly understands his poor choice. Frankly, I'm proud of you. Of course not for looking at someone's paper, but certainly for coming to your parents and your teachers about what you did. It takes real bravery to do this. You are a gentleman with true character. 

My teaching partners went on to explain how we all make mistakes, but the real lessons come by admitting them. THAT is where real learning takes place. Childhood is the perfect time to make these mistakes. We really were proud of him, and it was important for him to know that.

Tim learned a far more important lesson from one little bad choice than anything I can teach him about the silly rock cycle or anything else in science for that matter.

The life lessons are the most important lessons we teach.

...and we never have them in our plan books.

Oh, and I only lowered his test grade by 2 points, the value of that question. (Thanks for the suggestion, Ma.)


Miss Angel said...

Poor kid! He must have felt sick to his stomach every time he thought about it! I'm sure he punished himself worse than you could have ever punished him! I'm glad you all saw it as a life lesson for him and didn't give him too many consequences.

Mom not Mum (Sandy) said...

A month is a LONG time in kid years. I agree...he punished himself enough and how great of his Dad as well to guide him to learning how to do the right thing.

Ms V said...

Oh wow, that sweet kid. I love how everyone handled the situation and that it seems he learned a valuable lesson!

ps. Just found your blog and am enjoying reading through!