Sorry Teacher, But Girl’s ‘Catastrophe Award’ Is No Laughing Matter
Another week, another mother experiencing some serious mommy-shaming. Earlier this week, Christina Valdez spoke to her local news about an issue at her daughter’s school. During the end of the year awards, the 8-year-old’s teacher gave her the “Catastrophe Award.” It was bright and colorful, like the awards for “Math Wizard” and “Class Clown.” It was signed with a smiley face next to the teacher’s name. Except it was to honor the student for having the most homework excuses. Apparently, something catastrophic was always preventing this little girl from getting her homework done.
So, the little girl was humiliated. The mom complained to the school first, then to the local media when the principal was dismissive. And now the internet is telling her that she’s a horrible human being because her daughter wasn’t turning in her homework. Are we all caught up? Good.
I think we can all agree that a parent should have a good idea of their child’s homework and whether or not it’s being completed. It obviously sounds like this mom and her daughter’s teacher didn’t have a whole lot of communication. One would assume that if they ever spoke, the problem would’ve come up before this and the mom wouldn’t have been “shocked” to hear that her little girl was struggling.
Personally, I think it’s really important for parents to get involved in their kids’ schools. I think we should be talking to teachers. I think we should be volunteering to help and getting to know the people who are educating our kids. Even a busy working mom can write a note or an email to their child’s teacher to check in from time to time. Hopefully, Ms. Valdez will be planning on doing so in the future.
All that aside though, I think the teacher’s behavior really was inappropriate. The principal called the award a joke, but if the little girl came home embarrassed and upset, it obviously wasn’t a funny one. Humiliating a student for their academic performance in front of their peers normally isn’t a great idea. Honestly, I think this teacher crossed the line.
For a minute, let’s not think about the mother who should have known that there was a problem. Think about an 8-year-old girl having her whole class laugh at her for not turning in her homework. If she was making up crazy excuses for her late assignments, think about the emotional state she must be in already. Either A, the girl’s life is hectic and filled with drama and she really can’t get her homework done because of that chaos. Or B, she’s struggling with the homework and making excuses because she’s ashamed that her assignments aren’t done.
Both of these would be reasons to reach out and support a young girl. To me, they signal who child who might desperately need some confidence and encouragement. Instead, she got to feel even more exposed and insecure. Whatever comedic value this little award gave, it wasn’t worth the detriment to a child who is already struggling in school.
Some might say that the child needs to be embarrassed so that she doesn’t pull the same stunts next year. I think it’s more likely that a little girl will shut down and just stop trying at all.
Should this mother being paying more attention to her daughter’s school performance. Probably. But the relationship between the parent and the teacher is a two-way street. The teacher should have been communicating with the mother as well if there were homework problems. And we’re all so busy tearing this mother to shreds that we’re overlooking the point she had to make. Humiliating a child for academic issues isn’t going to solve anything. It’s not funny, it’s hurtful. And a “Catastrophe Award” certainly isn’t going to support or encourage a young student, which is what a teacher’s job should be about.
(Photo: ABC Local)