A Cultural Misunderstanding…

Today I found out why one of my students’ quit. Apparently her mother thought my lesson was too scary.
The lesson in question was my famously fun Toilet Paper Lesson plan, an idea I stole from GenkiEnglish.com, (a useful site for fun game ideas young learners, by the way). We did a doctor/patient roll play that involved the student’s taking turns wrapping me (and each other) in toilet paper.
It was a way to have them practice the grammatical structure “my…(leg, arm, etc.) hurts” and help them memorize body parts, all while having fun. The toilet paper was supposed to symbolize a bandage or cast.
Unconventional? Yes. But scary? No way.
But the mother had misunderstood the lesson. She thought I was teaching the children about mummies and monsters.
So she quit.
And no one informs me of the reason until about six weeks later, and it was only after I casually inquired as to why I hadn’t seen the particular child in a while.
It was a simple misunderstanding and could have been easily explained…if only the parent or the school had asked me. And if after my explanation, they still found the lesson to be too scary, well I would have apologized and done all that I could to remedy the situation.
It just doesn’t make sense to me. And I’m trying very hard to see it from their perspective…but I can’t see anyone pulling their child out of a class without first getting all of the facts straight.
The only thing I can think of is that there must be some other reason as to why she quit…which for whatever reason, she doesn’t feel comfortable sharing. Perhaps the toilet paper lesson was just the last straw.
If that’s the case, and she was unhappy about something I was doing, or maybe not doing, she should have talked to me. Or the school. But to think that she just sat silently fuming at the back of the class, week after week, and said nothing…That makes me sad.
I’m trying very hard to make the parents and the children happy, (which isn’t easy!). How do you make a lesson both fun enough so the children aren’t bored, but educational enough so that the parents are satisfied they’re children are learning something? You can’t. Not if the parents can’t (or won’t) give you any feedback.

What do they want from me? I’m not a mind reader!
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