Having spent a year sitting in this exact position where I am sitting now, in front of my lap-top writing my book I have decided that all things Communicating with Kids could do with a break, so this post is the last snippet of parenting fun I will write until September.
Instead of looking at a screen, I will spend a few weeks looking at other things – the sea, the landscape, my children – I will swim in the sea and walk up hills and have fun with my kids at festivals. And I will take my sketch pad everywhere and make squiggly marks on paper instead of words.
And I thought what better way to start the Summer hols than to write a piece about the wisdom of teachers, those adults that hold your kids in check during term time only to hand them back over to you for a whole six weeks of mahem during the summer?
If you have kids who behave perfectly at school and transform magically into tyrants at home, here, just for you, is a handy list of points to remember about how the best teachers do it, which you might want to refer to throughout the summer whenever the tyrant is in the ascendancy and you have forgotten what the angel looks like:
1. Teachers care about your child, even love your child, but not as much as you do. They don’t get so involved.
2. Teachers are just as committed as you to help your child realise her full potential, but they don’t think your child is any more ‘special’ than any other.
3. Teachers do not indulge bad behaviour with excuses. (‘It’s because he’s a middle child.’)
4. Teachers are confident in their right to set the rules.
5. Teachers are confident in their right to be treated respectfully.
6. Teachers see children’s dramas as ‘things that get in the way of learning,’ and not ‘interesting things that we need to get to the bottom of.’
7. Teachers view bratty behaviour as ‘exasperating and unacceptable,’ and not ‘worrying but inevitable.’
8. Teachers don’t do ‘helpless.’
9. Teachers think that they are the adults and that children are children.
10. Teachers do ‘non-negotiable’ and not ‘do I have the right to insist?’
11. Teachers can spot a fake attention-seeking tantrum a mile off.
12. Teachers are not really bothered if their policies make them unpopular.
13. Teachers don’t try to please children, they expect the children to want to please them.
14. Teachers see most day-to-day upsets as ‘things that get in the way of learning’ and not ‘things that require hours of counselling.’
That’s not an exhaustive list, but I hope it’s useful. The most popular teachers are described by children as ‘strict but kind,’ and maybe when things are going horribly wrong at home it might be helpful to remember how well our kids behave with their favourite teacher, and pretend to be that teacher for a while.
Have a brilliant Summer, see you in September!