It's the quiet ones you gotta watch
"Jenn, could I talk to you for a second?" Lila's teacher stopped me on the way out of the classroom today.
"Sure, what's up?" I said.
"One of my main concerns with Lila is that she doesn't always speak up when she knows something. She can be very chatty and silly at times, but at other times she doesn't speak up when she needs help."
"Yeah, I know that. She's pretty shy and you covered that on her kindergarten evaluation form." I told her.
"Well, yesterday we had an incident in the classroom." She looked at me very seriously.
"Ok, what happened?" Now I was a little worried.
"Well, it was time to pack up and go home and I saw Lila at the cubbies. I went over and asked what she was doing in the cubbies, but she didn't say anything, she just smiled at me. So I closed the cubby and told her it was time to get ready to go."
"A minute later, we noticed that Nancy was missing. We looked everywhere and couldn't find her. I was really starting to panic and then we discovered she was in the cubbies."
"Oh, you shut the door on her? She's pretty tiny, I could see how she'd be easy to miss." Nancy is a very small girl and this could have happened to anyone. I wanted to make her feel better.
"The thing is, I asked Lila if she knew that Nancy was hiding in the cubby and she said she did. I told her it would have been nice if she said something because I was very worried about Nancy."
"Ahh, yes, well, Lila doesn't like the attention on her. With all the commotion of looking for Nancy, she was probably too shy to speak up."
"I would expect her to speak up to us by now. She knows us well enough and feels comfortable in our class. Any conversation you could have with her about the importance of telling teachers what she knows would be very helpful. You may also want to let her Kindergarten teacher know that she is like this so she can be prepared."
"I'll talk to her." I said. I was kind of stunned. She's had my daughter in preschool for two years and this is the one and only time she has ever misbehaved, if you could even call it that. I definitely will talk to Lila about what happened. I want her to know how important it is to tell grown ups what she knows. Whether it's a missing kid or an alphabet question, her thoughts are important enough to share.
I can't help but feel that the main reason her teacher was so upset was that she lost a kid. In clear daylight, in the middle of the secure classroom, one of them got away from her. And we all know that if Nancy was truly missing, not just hiding in the cubby, her parents would have this teacher's head on a silver platter surrounded by curly endive and radish roses. This conversation seemed like it was a carefully worded defense in case she was ever called upon to explain why a kid went missing.
I guess she found her scapegoat, let's just hope this doesn't go down on Lila's permanent record.