First I need you to know I have DEEP respect for you. DEEP. I come from a family of teachers. I know your job is not 8-3, but evenings and weekends. You may get the summer off, but you cannot even take time to go to the bathroom during the school year let alone take a day off. I get anxiety just walking into an elementary school. You are underpaid, overworked, hardly appreciated and mandated by the government to do 10 million things and that have no true impact on education at all. You are amazing and I will fight for you always. I will stick up for you when people say teaching is easy. I will trust you when you give me feedback about my child. I will bring in Kleenex and pencils when you run out.
But here is the thing. It has been 20 years since I have been in 3rd grade. And I wasn’t very good at it back then and now, walking along side my 3rd grader, I realize I am still not very good at it. Specifically math. In fact I should still be in therapy because of the trauma math caused me. And now, every night, I have to face that worksheet. You have NO idea what happens when I look at that first question and I don’t know how to even begin. My stomach drops, my neck gets prickly, my ears get hot with anger. I instantly want to crumple it into a ball, throw it on the floor and stomp on it.
So I say, tell your teacher that your mom did not know how to help you. Which makes her cry because she is in 3rd grade and wants to impress her teacher and wants her teacher to think she is smart and does not want to miss recess because she needs to do the homework her mom could not help her with the night before.
So I start feeling worse. Cause now, she is upset and she realizes that I am lousy. Elementary School is really all we have with our kids. At some point they are going to figure out that we don’t know it all. They are going to be mad cause we give them a curfew. Right now I am clinging on the cliff of parenting with my fingertips of one hand and I am clinging onto the edge of sanity with the fingertips of the other.
I will do homework. I will do double homework if it is just not math. I will make them read, I will drill them in spelling and vocab. I will quiz them on dates and names of historical figures. Just please, please don’t make me face math.
And I am just gonna say it cause I have gone this far… I think the reason I do not know how to do 3rd grade math (or 2nd, or 4th or 6th grade) is because I have not used it since that grade. If I used it, wouldn’t I be able to do it? I think it would be second nature by now.
Thank you for your time,
A frazzled parent.