Posted by: Genny Colby | August 19, 2011

The Other Side…

After many years of being the teacher, now I am the parent.  I must say, it is a different view from this side.  After a disastrous turn at dance class last winter, we returned to gymnastics this summer, which my daughter absolutely loves!  Since she is still under 3, we enrolled in the parent-tot class.    Now, even though she is not quite 3 yet, they have decided to age waive her up to the next class, where she goes solo, without mom.

As her teacher and I were talking about this choice, she reminded me that the first few classes are a bit chaotic, as most of the kids are coming from the parent-tot classes and each child has to get used to not having mom/dad right there to help them, keep them on task, etc.  She reminded me that the teachers are ready for this, they have been through all this before, and not to worry.  She even noted that my daughter may have a break down or two before she gets used to this new class set up and this is okay too.  Again, they are prepared and used to these situations.

Now the funny thing is…I have said all those things to parents when I was the teacher!   I have vivid memories of reassuring parents that yes, their little one will be okay once we got going, that they will all have a good time, that I was ready to handle the tears and work with their child to make this transition.   And you know what, I never had a student that did not get through the transition and begin to love coming to school.

But being on the other side is different.  I know she will do fine, I know the teachers are ready to help my daughter make this transition, and I know she will absolutely have a great time and learn so much not only in terms of gymnastics skills, but also about being part of a class, listening to someone other than mom and dad, and building confidence in herself.   She knows the teachers, she knows the environment, and I will just be on the other side of the barrier, watching class.  But I am going to admit that this is harder than I thought.  Not letting her go, which admittedly is both exciting and scary at the same time, but as the parent you don’t want your child to be the one that is running all over, not following directions, or having a melt down.   Even though I know the teachers can handle it, are prepared for it, even expect it to some degree…as the parent you just want your child to go in, be happy and successful.

Now being on the other side, I get a better idea why I would have those parents who would call to make sure their kids were okay, or hover on the edges for those first few days of class.  I know I was patient and sympathetic to these parents, giving them all the positive feedback I could, reassuring them each day that things would be fine, and giving them the extra hand holding they needed.  But I have a better understanding of how they were feeling.  They were not being over protective (usually) but rather just wanted their child to be happy.   And not to be judged by other parents if their child did not make a smooth transition.

Now it is my turn to trust the teachers, let them comfort my daughter, and let them help her take those next steps.



  1. It s good to know that you are going forward with your kid in making her learn new things at such a young age.

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