I’m an elementary teacher — you wouldn’t believe how many times a year I hear “I don’t have to…
Kellie Kearney James

In my first year of teaching I would hear that ALL of the time from my Learning Assisted Math students and my reply was, “Well, you are free to tell your (mom/dad/the principal) but this is not their class, this is my class. In my class, I make the rules. As long as my rules are reasonable, moral, and legal, I am relatively sure they will be on my side. And guess what, even if they aren’t, the rules are not going to change because it is still my class.”

I will gladly explain why I have a rule, I always take this conversation outside of earshot of other kids (or did, I never have kids do this to me now), but when I taught junior high school I would say at least once or twice a month I had to have this discussion with a student, and yes a time or two I had this very discussion with a parent. I one time actually had a parent tell me that because her son could not be trusted to intercept the mail, nor bring home a progress report, she expected us to bring them to her AT HER HOME. I shit you not…I tell you, I’m still amazed that as a first year teacher I had the guts to stand up to her and tell her that that was a discipline issue, and that I would be happy to send home a progress report every week as my part of the equation, but it would be her responsibilty to hold her son accountable and if he did not bring it home, then she needed to hold him accountable and take away his weekend privileges. Believe it or not, the other teachers just sat there blustering. I thought, “WTF people? She can’t tell us to drive over to her house and hand her a progress report!!” Even administration wasn’t backing us up!

That was the first time, but not the last, I was asked if I’d considered becoming an administrator because I handle parents so well. Hell no. I don’t need that headache. I love my students and most of my parents love me (because I love my students). Loving them means I hold them accountable with a kind heart and a gentle but firm hand because I know that life is going to hold them accountable. I want them to go out there and take on the world and KILL IT (in a euphamistic awesome way, obvislouy).

I teac high school Career Technical classes now and I love my kids. I would do anything for them.

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