Monday, July 9, 2012

My Scarlet Letter Part II

I got home with Raphaela and began to realize that I needed to apologize to E's parents for disciplining a child other than my own, in a way that may have been perceived as harsh.  I tried to call E's parents several times, leaving messages and asking that we be able to speak in person, so that I may apologize and explain.

I waited several hours and when I did not hear from them,  I sat down in front of the computer and wrote them an apology, what I would have said to them had they answered the phone.  I apologized for overstepping and behaving inappropriately.  I assured them that in no way could I ever physically harm a child, and that was not violent with their son.  I invited them to please speak to me in person, or not, but that I needed to express this to them before this night was over.

I was abused in high school, and I know how it feels to be vulnerable that way, and I would never even threaten physical contact.

I called the Head Nursery Teacher so that she could hear the story from my point of view, before it became the grist for rumor and exaggeration.  I told her the story in all truthfulness, I told S the story with full disclosure.  She then spent the next 15 minutes yelling at me, saying the following:

1. I have violated Israeli law by even talking to a child who is not mine.  I am not allowed, by Israeli law, to touch, talk to and certainly not discipline any other child than my own.
2.  She understands that I was defending Raphaela, because "all mothers are the Lioness when it comes to their own children."  According to the Montessori tradition, however, I did more harm to my own daughter than good, because in standing up for her I made Raphaela appear weak, I "stole her power and self confidence," and I destroyed any learning potential from the situation.
3.  IF I were returning to this Gan next year instead of removing Raphaela from her family - yes, the guilt trip continues because S thinks that will make me emotionally dependent on her - I would have understood better how to handle the situation.
4.  It doesn't matter if I saw E attack Raphaela with my own eyes, and it doesn't matter if it wasn't the first time.  There is one month left before the end of the academic year and she no longer feels that E and his behaviour represent a topic worth tackling, so she, as the spiritual and educational mentor of the Gan, has no intention of rectifying the situation for Raphaela or any of his other victims.

I was not sure how to react to this diatribe, except to assert that I acted in response to an immediate situation, and out of frustration that it was clear to me and other parents that her approach to styme this behaviour has not worked since the beginning of the year.



Sylvia said...

Wait, it is against the Law to talk to a child in Israel? You live in a crazy place. Also this doesn't seem like a healthy environment for R. This headmistress sounds both crazy and negligent. I also have yet to see any resemblance between what transpires here and Montessori education.

Doc said...

Sylvia, you are most correct in your assesment: the sign on the door might say Montessori, but it is most certainly not! One of my closest friends is very involved in the Montessori movement in the States, and she is appalled by many of the things I have told her.

Commenter Abbi said...

Unfortunately, I'm my experienced with "theory-based" educational environments, the theory tends to make Israelis' basic common sense and courtesy fly out the window. I sent my daughter to a Waldorf-style gan in J-m and suffice it to say, I too was in tears at the end of the year (Thank Gd, it was only because I mismanaged the end of the year party planning, not involving my daughter at all. Although, like you, I was bullied by other parents and ended up in tears).

A theory doesn't make the place any better, IME. YMMV.