Dealing with children has it’s moments, I have to say. But to be honest, dealing with parents is just as … how do I put this nicely … challenging is the word that springs to mind.
I’ve had my share of the weird and wacky entering my class room for parent-teacher night or just to make a point after school. And please, if you are a parent with children at primary school, don’t feel offended by any of this. I’m sure you are in the “they-are-really-nice-people” category.
However not everyone fits that category. Or only slightly …
Today I had an encounter with a mom I knew from years ago. Her eldest son had been in my class and apparently she had good memories of me. For the life of me, I couldn’t remember her. My excuse of course is that after thirty something years of full time teaching I’ve seen about 600 to 700 couples passing through my class room and really, you have to be quite special to be remembered. She wasn’t on that list …
But our shared past made her feel like she could push the envelop a little bit more than other parents would do.
I teach her son grammar and every week he has to write a short story. Last week his story was acceptable but his writing was not. Egyptian hieroglyphs come to mind. We had a talk and I told him I knew he could do better so I would expect at least a readable story next time. This week it was even worse. So I told him to write his story again, as a home assignment.
This morning, before lessons started, his mom met me in the hall, waving his paper. I braced myself. Paper waving parents early in the morning are no good most of the time.
But all she wanted to know was why he wrote this awful. I was curious myself too, so I told her I didn’t have a clue but I would not tolerate a third time. She showed me his homework. Hieroglyphs again.
She looked at me, told me she would not allow him to write another essay at home, walked off to his own teacher, told her the same, walked in to the teacher’s lounge to tell me again she would not allow for this anymore and stomped off. It wasn’t even 8.30am yet.
My colleague and I just looked at each other, asking ourselves what just happened.
Boy had to write a spelling test this afternoon. He wrote beautifully! I just grinned at him and said, “You have so betrayed yourself. Now I will never accept less than this of course.” He grinned too … he understood perfectly.