Elementary schools need to rethink Mother’s and Father’s Day activities.
In 30 years as a teacher, I never once did Father’s Day activities. My children had a deadbeat father and I knew how painful this day was for them.
I regret that I did Mother’s Day activities. I assumed everyone had a mother at home. I was wrong.
Now when I think of that one student who was in foster care, or the one who lived with a relative while we brainstormed nice things to say about our mothers, I’m ashamed.
We should ‘meet the needs of all our students’
The traditional family has changed. A child may live with only one parent, or neither. They may be in a foster home. They may have a step-parent. They could have two mothers, or two fathers. The list goes on.
There is a fundamental right that every child has to feel emotionally safe in school no matter his or her family dynamics. It’s time we changed to meet the needs of all our students.
Think about your child losing you or your partner, then having to make a gift for this lost person.
– Katherine Gullion
That child who does not fit into the traditional family box should not have to endure these activities: the writing of the poems and the making of the cards. Perhaps that child does not know when, or if, he or she will ever see mom or dad again.
They shouldn’t have to miss school or be sent to another room or give the card to a grandparent. It is hurtful, confusing and painful. A safe place like a school should not inflict these emotions.
We, as teachers, have no right and no place to impose these activities on a child, even just one, so that all the others can enjoy them. Their cups are already full.
Put yourself in their shoes
It’s not in the curriculum to nurture the parent-child bond. It is the classroom teacher’s mandated job to nurture and protect the emotional, physical and psychological development of every student in the classroom.
Many of these situations can expose the private details of a child’s family life. This can and does result in children being teased.
Families know the best way to celebrate these two days within their homes and personal situations. The need to have this activity continued does not surpass the heartache or confusion it brings some children.
Think about your child losing you or your partner, then having to make a gift for this lost person. If you don’t have children, think about you losing a parent, then having to sit and make a card for that person just because it was fun for others.
There are schools everywhere who are incorporating Family Day activities and crafts and banning Mother’s/Father’s Day altogether. They get it.
If you know better, do better.
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