Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Wayback - Because I'm Crazy

When I vacated and then re-inhabited this blog years ago, I didn't put all of the posts back. I saved a few of them before the Great Deletion and want to put them back out here, either because I think they're interesting or because I'm too lazy to come up with new content. Anyway, here's the first in a series I'm calling Wayback. Here's a post originally made on September 11, 2004.

Every school has a few. Some we call helicopter moms (thwp, thwp, thwp), some we cringe when they come close, some have bright ideas that they know we will love but have absolutely no feasability. In our school, we have all of the above. Our neighborhood consists of primarily upper middle class residents, with a few lower class/borderline poverty residents too, so many of the maternal units do not have jobs and little to do but Volunteer At School.

One parent the other day had a bright idea for a school-wide project that she proposed. Her proposal: each of the elementary grade levels would be assigned a continent and learn about and create projects about it, omitting North America. Her idea: that different cultures more likely exist on different continents than our own. Now as the world has seven continents and our school has six grades, eliminating one of the continents makes sense. See if you can figure out why she left out the wrong one.

Other parents frustrate with the "I'm exempt from the rules attitude." Again, with many upper middle class residents we get a lot of that. "I have money therefore you can't make me follow the rules if I choose not to."

Our school secretary has to deal with most of these, and we have such a chronic tardiness problem that the truancy court judge in our area has lowered the number of tardies necessary to receive a referral to truancy court. (I used to count kids for the principal after the bell rang last year. One day we had over 100 students arrive after 8am. That's about 1/6 of our student population.)

One of the most egregious offenders of the "I'm exempt" persuasion had what  almost passes for a normal conversation with me yesterday. This man, Mr. Gisbourne, complained incessantly about the early start time of our school when his son started kindergarten last year. We start at 8:00 am. He kept telling anyone whom he could corner, "But I don't have to be at work until 9:30!" Should have kept his sperm in his pants then, don't you think?

Mr. Gisbourne also had a problem with our policy regarding where he could drop his child from the car. We have a carpool driveway, with a great system that (we think) keeps most of the children safe. He didn't want to wait in the line, so he would try to sneak into the teacher parking lot. When we started posting a staff member to keep this lane clear for the school buses, Mr. Gisbourne actually yelled at teachers. "Why can't I drop my kid off in there? It's more convenient for me." His child, not surprisingly, has much the same attitude.

The conversation that he started occurred in the morning as I was enthusiastically greeting all of the students walking in the door, most of whom I actually like. "Wow," Mr. Gisbourne said, "You're very cheerful and enthusiastic this morning. Why can't all of the people here be that friendly?"
So I replied, "Because I'm crazy."
He did not laugh or anything, although that had been the response I projected onto him.

He said, "Well, it just seems like some of those other people could be more pleasant. Why aren't they as pleasant?"
I said, "I don't have to enforce any rules. I'm just the art teacher, so I tell people what to do in my class. The ladies in the office have to tell teachers and parents what all the rules are, and nobody wants to follow them. That might make me cranky too."
Mr. Gisbourne said, "Oh," and turned to say goodbye to his son as little Gisbourne walked to class.

No comments: