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THAT kid

My kid just spent the day in in-school suspension.

I mean, I guess it's called "the quiet room" but let's call that spade a spade, shall we? And while we're calling things as they are, my son is a bully. He's the mean kid. He's hurting others physically and with words. And I'm not whether he knows how what he's doing is wrong or whether he just doesn't care.

Either way.

I could make a list of things that could be reasons excuses: he's young for his class but huge for his age. He's a super silly kid who is also very imaginative. He's gifted. He's got terrible impulse control. He's an only child. He's bright enough to be experimenting with sarcasm. Maybe he's a bit of a misanthrope like his mother. In any case, he's apparently gone from "big clumsy puppy" to "bad, bad dog" rather quickly.


I have no idea how to handle this.

Mom-Sarah: Dude. you're in so much trouble. You're grounded for the rest of eternity, young man.

Mommy-Sarah: We need to help you learn how to control yourself, sweetie.

Sarah-Who-Can't-Adult: OhnowhatdoIdowhatdoIdowhathaveIdoneohno...

Teacher-Sarah: If you're having trouble, don't play with those kids on the playground.

Other Teacher-Sarah: (rolls eyes) Oh, jeeze. THAT kid.

My kid is THAT kid? What the hell, man? How'd we get to here? We teach to behavior and desired outcome all the time. Manners matter to us. We're still normal parents and fail at follow-through sometimes and other times have to resort to bribery, (We're human and so are you. Stop judging.) but I feel like we've done a good job of raising a kid who's becoming a good human.

I'm not ashamed of my kid, and I don't think he's a puzzle that needs to be "solved," but now I'm terrified that he's going to have a... reputation (?) that keeps his teachers and peers from getting to know what an awesome person he is. I keep thinking about the "THAT kid"s that I work with every day. I usually don't have the same issues with them their classroom teachers do, so I get to see some of their greatest traits. I like to give THAT kid a chance to show off how awesome they are in ways their teachers might not see - to shock their teachers a bit and remind them that these kids aren't diagnoses or behaviors but real people.

Which brings me to one last point. THAT kid is always someone's KID. We need to pay more than lip service to the idea of parent-teacher partnerships to help these children succeed. I'm scared to meet with my son's teacher and principal. I don't want to hear bad things about my baby. I can only imagine what it's like to come into a situation like this without a background in education - no wonder sometimes parents are so defensive. But parents see things that we as teachers don't. They have insights into what makes a child wonderful as well as experience with the exact same frustrations we're having in the classroom. When we can work together, really together, in the best interest of a student, everyone is going to win.

Especially THAT KID.


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