A Special Kind of Awkward

I’ve had quite a few students in my fairly brief time as a teacher who had a parent who taught with me. Luckily my coworkers are all pretty great, and the staff kids I’ve had have all been sweet, laid back kids. Since my own mother is a teacher in the school we share a building with, I know first hand that having a parent in the building can at times be awkward.

Case in point, the one time my own mother really let the colleague role drop and went full on mom. It was my second year, and I was leading the class outside on a fairly cool fall day. From behind me, I heard, “Is that what you’re wearing on your feet? Sandals? In October?!” I turned to see my mom with a shocked look on her face. In the time it took me to turn, she realized where we were and that chastising your adult child for her footwear choices at work was not the way to go. She mouthed “I am so sorry!” and immediately walked away. The kids, of course,  thought it was hilarious.

So I know that it isn’t easy to have your mom there every step of the way while you try and go about your life.

Yesterday was the pinnacle of mother/teacher awkwardness for one of my boys. His mom and I have worked together for awhile. We’re both on a team of staff that deals with students in crisis. Yesterday, we were taking a refresher course for our restraint training. It’s not a funny topic. We need to practice how to safely hold and move a child that may be kicking, screaming, biting, and punching. When it happens, it’s sad, scary, and overwhelming. We take it very seriously.

That said, it’s hard to practice the same holds on your colleagues and not feel a bit ridiculous. Once you’ve had to restrain your principal while he pretends to try and pull your hair out (for training purposes!) you can really only laugh.

At one point, I was in the student role, while two of my colleagues restrained me. We were practicing a hold in which we would nee to safely lower a student to the ground, or one where we would need to go down safely if a student dropped to the ground by choice. I was facing the glass wall that partitioned the room we were using from the hallway, arms behind my back and a colleague on each side of me.

Of course, that was when my class walked by, on their way to music class. Of course, the other class in music was running late, so my kids got to stand for a few minutes and watch the whole thing. Of course, one of the teachers restraining me was the mother of one of my students.

“Hi sweetie!” She called to him, using my hand to wave. He shook his head and put his face in his hands while the rest of the class ogled us with confusion and glee.

We counted down, then all hit the mat with a less-than-graceful thump. Outside, my class applauded. Hopefully at my graceful moves, not the sight of their teacher being taken down like a pro-wrestler.

When I got upstairs, my colleague’s son had only this to say- “That was a special kind of awkward.”

I told him he should feel lucky- how many kids get to watch their mom take down their teacher in a drop hold?!


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