1. WriterodLife1994
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    WriterodLife1994 Member

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    How far can she go?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by WriterodLife1994, Aug 11, 2015.

    So my main character is a high school history teacher at a college prep school that goes all the way from preschool to 12th grade. She has both her children in the school she teaches at. Her daughter's best friend is ordered by her controlling, ultra-conservative, ultra-religious mother, not to be friends with the MC's daughter anymore because the facts that they are devout (but not crazy about it like this) members of a different faith and that the MC is a single mother who had her twins via a sperm donor makes the daughter a bad influence, (in part because she believes they were actually born out of wedlock) and has asked the school administration to back her up on separating the girls by moving their seats away from each other in all their common classes and not allowing them to sit together or talk to each other at lunch.

    The MC thinks this is stupid, that the mother is crazy and that this borders on child abuse, but just how far can she go to fight this or in encouraging the girls to fight it and what are some realistic consequences that she and/or the girls might face for trying?
     
  2. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Contributor

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    Your MC is in a really tricky situation. By trying to interfere she risks annoying one of her colleagues (the administrator, who would be put in an awkward position if your MC told her to ignore the crazy mother), inviting criticism for not being impartial as a teacher in her daughter's school, and enraging the crazy mother further, which might make crazy-mother try and get MC sacked. This is great! Conflict and tension galore.

    What's realistic for her depends on your character. If demanding mothers push her buttons, perhaps because she had one of her own, she might be so incensed that she would do something risky in order to get one over on the mother; like signing her daughter and the friend up for a history competition, forcing them to study together for the next few months. This would be an overt move - crazy mother would know your MC had done it just to flout her rules - inviting a lot of conflict. But that's okay, your character is up for a fight. On the other hand if she is spiralling into debt, desperately needs to keep her job, and the crazy mother is a powerful woman who has enough influence to get her sacked... she definitely can't risk asking for a fight. In that case she might invite the crazy mum to dinner to try and reason with her politely, but if crazy-mother doesn't change her mind your character is not going to push the issue.

    As she's a history teacher, I'd be tempted to have her use some lessons of history to help resolve the problem. Maybe she specialises in the Tudor period of English history. What did Henry VIII do when the Pope said he couldn't marry Anne Boleyn? He tore an entire country away from the religion it loved and created his own. Maybe she helps her daughter create a student group that depowers the oppressive school administrators who are always trying to stop them having fun.

    Depending on how strong her motivation is and where it comes from, she could also:
    - Try and turn daughter's friend off her mother's religion, so the friend is motivated to fight her own mother
    - Become close to the daughter's friends father, convincing him to overrule his wife and let the girls be friends
    - Take over supervising lunch and break times so she can let the girls spend time together
    - Teach the girls a secret method of communication, like hand signals, so they can talk even when physically separated
    - Find out something about the crazy mother to shame or embarrass her into dropping the fight... maybe she was once a teenage tearaway who got pregnant at 16? And if she doesn't want MC to tell everybody about it, she needs to let the girls be friends.
    - Make up a lie about crazy mum to the school administrator, so the administrator doesn't carry out crazy mum's instructions
    - Set up a fake Bible study group (or equivalent for whatever religion it is) at her home, which crazy mother will allow daughter's friend to go to

    Good luck!
     
  3. WriterodLife1994
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    WriterodLife1994 Member

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    Thanks, I have a few ideas about diplomatic options which she will exhaust first. I was just wondering what kind of pressures from above she might face for her less diplomatic tactics in the future. They aren't swimming in debt but they also certainly aren't rich. She gets free tuition for her children by working at the school, if she is fired and they have to start paying to stay there, there's no way they could afford it and the twins would have to transfer, I was just wondering what might happen as she walks the line of getting in trouble while trying to help. I'm a university student studying history and education, this is sort of like a "where I imagine myself in 20 years" story, but there are parts I wasn't sure of, this being one, since I won't be a teacher myself for another two years.
     
  4. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Contributor

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    Since it's a fee-paying school I would imagine the staff are told to keep the parents on their side. Unhappy parent = child withdrawn from the school = loss of fees. So the most likely response from senior management to her less-diplomatic tactics is to come down on her hard, take the crazy mother's side against her, and tell her in no uncertain terms to drop the fight. Depending on how exclusive and expensive the school is, the parents might generally be wealthy and powerful people which would make the staff even more nervous about upsetting them.
     

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