We thought it was the teacher’s fault. Isn’t that always the gut reaction you have when something bad happens to your child? Someone must be to blame and in this case, since Thea told us she hated school, well then the teacher must have been to blame. Except, I asked, and Thea said that no, she loved her teacher. Was it the kids? Was she being teased? No, sure there were recess squabbles, typical of a 5 year olds’ day. Was it the homework? The reading log? The lunch? As we asked every night, searching for the answer, Thea just kept shaking her head. “I just hate school, mom…I hate all of it.”
What do you do when your child says they hate school and there is no one to blame? No way to fix it? When their hate is based on a notion that they would rather stay home and play than learn? That they have decided 2 weeks into Kindergarten that school is not a place for learning, nor is it a place for fun, besides in recess and gym.
We can blame the teachers, “They must not be doing their job to make it fun.” We can blame the other students, “Those kids must be disruptive.” We can blame the district, after all, they make all of the decisions. We can blame our own child, after all, she must not be trying hard enough. We can blame ourselves since somehow we have not instilled a natural love of learning in our child. But really in the end, there is no person to blame. Sometimes it is nobody’s fault. Sometimes it is truly the system, a faceless entity that we must change.
So instead of blaming, we are trying to fix, to mend, to repair. To teach Thea that school is a great place to be. That school is magical, that learning is one of the most powerful things we can spend our time on and how lucky we are that we get to do it every day. Sometimes there are no easy answers. Sometimes there are no easy fixes. That doesn’t mean we give up, it just means we try to change rather than blame. There is so much to do.
I am a passionate teacher in Wisconsin, USA, who has taught 4, 5th, and 7th grade. Proud techy geek, and mass consumer of incredible books. Creator of the Global Read Aloud Project, Co-founder of EdCamp MadWI, and believer in all children. I have no awards or accolades except for the lightbulbs that go off in my students’ heads every day. First book “Passionate Learners – Giving Our Classrooms Back to Our Students” can be purchased now from Powerful Learning Press. Second book“Empowered Schools, Empowered Students – Creating Connected and Invested Learners” is out now from Corwin Press. Follow me on Twitter @PernilleRipp.