I am wondering how many times I need to reiterate this issue.
If my phone rings and I see that it is my children’s teacher/nanny/carer I die a little. My heart races, my breathing gets shallow, I start to picture the worst possible scenario. Usually involving one (or all) of my children, blood and possibly a paramedic.
I visualise kids floating face down in pools, television sets that have fallen on my kids, my kids abducted by someone, my children dead on a play ground.
I never.NEVER.never think this is a friendly how-do-you-do call. Why do teachers/carers not get this?
I had just trained Pepe to start any conversation, should she phone me with “Isabelle is fine, no one is hurt …..” and then she can say pretty much anything after that.
Yesterday Connor’s aftercare phones. They can’t reach me, they phones Kennith.
They open with: “Are you Connor’s father?”
School: “Your son has been involved in an accident at school, and hurt his neck…”
And then they stop talking — you know, to allow some time for the message to sink in.
This allows sufficient time for your mind to infuse with every paranoid thought it has ever had. Your nerves bristle, your body floods with adrenaline and fear, and your bowels loosen.
As it turns out, Connor had tripped over a pipe, he had fallen off a step, and his neck had taken the full brunt of his full body weight. Somehow his head had managed to fold itself into his chest so his neck could whack the tar with his full body weight and the momentum of his running.
It could have been very serious, fortunately it was not.
When I fetched Connor, he had a few scratches and I could see as soon as I was able to talk to him, that his neck was sore, but it was not serious or something that dinner and bowl of ice cream would not cure. He was sitting, conscious and clearly had not sustained a serious injury.
Would have been fabulous had the school communicated that on the phone.
Do you know what it is like to drive to your kid’s school after a call of “your child has hurt their neck, I think you should come….” ?
If you are a teacher or at any stage responsible for caring for a person’s child – please, as soon as the person answers open with: “Hello Kate/Bill/Mrs XYZ, your child is fine – there is no blood, no one is hurt, no one is dead, your child is fine. I am looking at him/her, she/he is smiling and happily colouring in …. everything is fine … really… calm down … breath, breath, breath ….. okay? Again nothing is wrong, Connor/Georgia/Isabelle is fine ….. brilliant in fact. You okay? Good. Okay, the reason I am calling is that we would love you to sell hotdogs at the fete, can you do a shift from 1 – 3pm?”
Do teachers actually know what they do to parents with these calls?