Friday, March 30, 2007

Parental Contrasts

What a Day!

Did I teach today? I'm not sure.

My morning began with an appointment to speak to my principal about the horrendous play debaucle. But, in order to do that, I had to track him down and then I became embroiled in the great "What the heck did the computer program do to the 3rd marking level progress reports?"

We are required to send reports on students who are in danger of failing for a marking level. Somewhere along the way, the master program lost some teachers had submitted. I compiled a list of all the kids in my classes who never got a report from me to give to the computer techies this morning. Between then and this morning, somehow all the missing reports are showing up in all kinds of places, including on my version of the program which had been a blank the last time I'd looked at it. Go figure.

I had followed up with letters, so that meant parents began to call the school to talk to me. Yippee. There is only one phone for teachers to use during the day. But so what. Every parent who wanted me to call wanted me to do it after school.

Right now, I have two piles of papers to grade on my desk. The first one is work that was handed in on time. The much larger pile is work that was handed in weeks late as a result of the notices I sent home. I left it there for the Spring Break. This time I wasn't going to spoil my vacation by grading papers, especially various forms of papers I had finished grading weeks ago.

On a nice note, most of my students handed in their reviews of the performing arts play. They really, as a whole, did some really good writing. Every one received an "A" for following the required format, and I may have handed out perhaps six "B's" on content for the students who neglected to have specific details--actors' names, etc.--while all the rest earned "A's." I was really delighted.

I have given one set of the reviews to the performing arts teacher so, if she chooses, she may share them with her classes.

Oh, yes, she too consumed a good part of my morning as well. Yesterday she fell off a desk and was knocked unconscious. They took her to the hospital in an ambulance. This morning, she was back in school!!!! She kept insisting she had to get the set down. On my break, I went down to the theater to check on her. She was in pain but still plugging away. I tried to get her out of there, but she was stubborn about getting the work done. I told the kids who were working on the stage with her to keep a keen eye on her and off I went to try to do something about it.

Frustrated, I finally went to the nurses' office and told them what was going on. Fortunately, the nurses are pretty sharp and decided on the spot that without a doctor's note releasing her to be back at work, there was no way she could stay. So that sent the Vice Principal down to escort her up to the nurses' office. I found out later that she surrendered with a whimper as by then she was really not feeling well. Thank goodness they sent her home. Apparently she had a mild concussion was supposed to be resting for at least 48 hours.

Now, the fact is, that had I not intervened, apparently none of the administrators would have even bothered. Come on!! The woman had been hospitalized the day before! It was an accident on school property. The paperwork hadn't even been filed in the nurses' office yet. Why in the world had they let her out the main office door when she signed in?

Well, I guess for the same reason that they yakked on their walkie talkies all during the play. 'Nough said on that topic.

At dismissal time I ended up in the Guidance office at the request of the counselor who has been fielding calls from a very problematic parent. The result was my sitting there, holding the phone away from my ear as she screamed hysterically at me for a good ten minutes. I felt very sorry that she was so upset, but there was nothing I could actually do to fix things except listen from afar. She is very upset about what she feels is an unwillingness on our part to handle things with her daughter to her satisfaction.

To make it even more uncomfortable, her poor daughter was there as she was yelling at me. So now I had an upset mother and an upset daughter. Fortunately, I managed to calm the mother down by letting her know I was worried that she was so upset and that the problem in my class was an easy fix that the daughter and I had already discussed over a week ago.

Between phone calls to the upset mother, I made a call to another mother who was concerned because her son was doing his work and it was all his fault. She advocated absolutely every rule and concept I try to uphold in running my class and told me if her son missed doing his homework or an assignment, I should do whatever I needed to do to penalize him, including giving him more work to do.

Mom #1, therefore was demanding we all bend over backwards to make all kinds of concessions to her daughter including letting her make up work well past all deadlines. Mom #2 didn't even want me to accept work from her son if it was even a day late.

Somewhere in between would be nice, since these are teenagers, but when you consider that my class is supposed to be college prep, one has to wonder just how many college or university professors are quite willing to accept excuses from their students for missed assignments.

By the time I left school and did a bit of shopping, all I have managed to do since I got home is feed the Boys.

I think my brain has fried.

I may just do a bit of lunging. Or not....Again.


  1. You know this is like my wife's days in the Special Ed class, that god she is in the Tech group now..I feel your psin...

  2. crikey.

    your performing arts teacher is, i hope, now tied to her bed for the next 2 days. ridiculous.

    and what was she doing on a desk to fall off it anyway? over here, i'd be thinking of a claim against the school for damages for personal injuries for failing to provide the correct equipment to enable her to do the job, so that she had to climb on the desk etc. but hey, that's me. she'll have to watch out for whiplash and stuff....

    and as for the parents....? apparently we have them like that over here as well.

    sounds like you had as bad a day as me in a different way (i was too tired to blog it, but it didn't involve riding!)

  3. I think the school insurance and workman's comp will pay the medical bills. She chose to use the desk to stand on. I don't know if the school ever refused to provide a ladder.

    As long as she is properly cared for, it should be OK with no need for a suit. My question would be whether there was any negligence on allowing her back to work without proper clearance. I may take that up with the teachers' association.