Saturday, February 07, 2009

Classroom craziness

I have a couple of bizarre experiences this week at work. The first was a mother knocking on my classroom door yesterday morning with her 8th grade son in tow. She was trying to find out more information about why exactly he is failing my class. This should be no surprise seeing as how I had him last year as a 7th grader and he failed both those semesters too. In fact, he has been failing every class every year, no matter which teacher he has. Right now, he has a 0.17 GPA, and that is about the highest it has ever been. No matter; I fully expect this kid to be passed onto high school where he will most likely fail miserably and drop out by the end of his sophomore year.

In the meantime, I was dealing with one pissed-off mother, and it wasn't me at whom she was pissed. As I went over the gradebook with her and showed her all the assignments her son had not turned in, including easy assignments like daily bellwork that are turned in every Friday, I could see her getting angrier by the second. The kettle started whistling when I turned to the kid and asked him to get out his bellwork for this week. "I don't have it," was his answer. Why not? "Because I didn't do it," was his answer. That's when Mom slammed her fist onto a desk and yelled, "Boy, I will knock you across this room!"

I didn't know whether to snicker under my breath, or think about covering my butt and reporting her comment to the administration as a possible CPS matter. I have to admit, it was rather satisfying to see this kid - a perpetual disruptive class cutup - get his perpetual grin wiped off his perpetually smug little face. The problem is that when all the smoke clears, and Mom calms down, this kid will most likely end up failing this final semester of his middle school experience, and he will be academically eaten alive in high school next year. Chalk up another ugly statistic.

That same day, I called another student's father after school let out. The kid had decided to dig in his heels when I told him to remove a sweat band from his head. The rules are clear about stuff on your head in the classroom, but for whatever reason, the kid defied my instructions and instead chose to argue with me about what is and isn't acceptable to be worn on your head in the classroom.

I called the Dad on his cellphone, and when he answered, I immediately noticed a lot of whooshing background noise, like he was on the side of a busy road somewhere. After I identify myself on the phone with a parent, I always ask if he or she has time to talk. This Dad said, "Well, actually I am pulled over on the freeway and a cop is writing me a ticket." Wow! I told the Dad I could call him back later, but God love him, he told me, "Nah, we can talk. I'm just sitting here and the cop is back at his car filling out the citation. What's up?"

Now that is a dedicated parent!

Good Day to You, Sir

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