AAH was sent home from school yesterday for bad behaviour. Apparently she was sent to the principal’s office, not once but twice. First for talking back to a teacher; then a while later for talking in class. Keeping her mouth shut in class has been an ongoing challenge for AAH [and her group of friends] for far too many years now. It’s a complaint that has been expressed repeatedly in every parent-teacher interview: “AAH talks too much.”

YT was not amused.

I had a feeling she’d arrive home on the defensive, and she did. By her own account, she is the victim of grave injustice. This particular teacher has it out for her, etc. etc. She’s always the one singled out, etc. etc. The boys never get reprimanded; the girls always do, etc. etc. And her rights are being violated – and why should she not have the right to speak out if her rights are being violated?

So she got a [rather ill-received] lecture, the gist of which was: there is a time to speak your mind, and a time to back off. Throughout life there will always be those with greater authority than you. One must learn to accept the things one cannot change. Teachers are people, too, doing a difficult job [ain’t that the truth!]. And if she ever gets sent home from school again, there will be certain [clearly-defined] repercussions.

The atmosphere being volatile, YT did what anyone in her right mind would do: left the building and went into town to see if she could find any shoes she might like to own.

On the way I passed the National Theatre and decided to pop in for an impromptu visit with my father. His take on the situation was worth pondering: These days, we’re always trying to get kids to express themselves. We’re always asking them how they feel about things. [Indeed, the first question I asked AAH when she arrived home was, ‘How do you feel about what happened’!] But then when they do try to express themselves, as in this situation, they’re expected to show unequivocal obedience.

I countered with the view that they can express themselves, only they have to learn that there is an appropriate time and a place for it. In other words, if AAH feels her rights are being repeatedly violated, she could request a separate meeting with the teacher and the school authorities to state her view.

In any case, the fact remains is that being a teacher or a school principal is a hard, hard job, so is being a teenager, and so is being a parent.

On the ground today. And on the rooftops, and car windshields. However, it’s not going to last since there’s about half as much now as when I got up. There’s a pretty thick covering of clouds but not much wind, though, which is excellent news ‘cause I’m in dire need of a run. Temps around freezing; daybreak 05.13, darkness 21.47.