Sunday, May 18, 2014

No Quarter

                                            All that is left of me after this school year. I am a rind husk of my former self.

All I did was ask his daughter where she was headed to high school next year and was told that she came home hysterical after my bullying. A phone call to my principal was placed and a conference with said father arranged for the next morning and it turned out to be every bit as ugly as it was promised to be. During the conversation, I was called a liar. Never mind that this same father had previously--without warning or appointment-- cornered a very pregnant teacher in her class and angrily demanded to know why she felt his daughter was not ready for accelerated classes the following year. He refused to leave until she caved to his demands.

This father mocked everything from my posture (unlike him--my arms were uncrossed) and the expression on my face. Because I refused to cry or crumple in his presence, he said I was rude and sarcastic. He referred to me as a disgusting person, though this particular opinion was not adequately explained. He did not want to talk about his poor daughter's academics, but rather, her face-saving version of a simple conversation we had about academic plans for the following year. And because her answer to my initial question took the conversation off in a completely different trajectory (An aspect of school that many people support OVER academics and I can't say what it is for fear that this blog will accidentally pop up. Think, people! It starts with an "A" and it doesn't require studying), I was held personally responsible for the expression I had on my face when I dared to disagree with her answer.

And this father? This bull-necked gorilla of a man whose volatile demeanor makes Hitler look like Tickle- Me Elmo" decided it was his right to verbally curb stomp me and then mock me for failing to fold like a bad poker hand in front of my principal. ( Thank you, Russian ancestry).  My principal made a half-hearted attempt to reign him in, but Godzilla was having none of it. He had not come to listen to anyone else's side of the story. Clearly high on testosterone, an overblown sense of self-importance and some military grade horse stimulants, this father had come to take an enormous and metaphorical dump on me while the unwritten rules of the Parent/Teacher Conference Handbook required me to sit passively like an apologetic bag of meat.

Except for the fact that I did not apologize. However, thoughts of firing a t-shirt cannon full of thumbtacks directly into his face did cross my mind.

America, our schools are going down the toilet and the biggest reason out there (besides the underfunding of districts and the teachers who toil there) is that parents have way too much control. And when I say control, I mean that no one questions them when they "early dismiss" their child every Friday without question because traffic is heavy and they miss half of my class. Control in that we are no longer allowed to demand any kind of work standards for our classes as long as it keeps their child from being designated as Honors/Pre-AP/Accelerated. This just in: Not all children are gifted. You heard it here first.

Anyway... control in that I am forced to forgive/overlook/accommodate the fact that their child comes to school without completed homework, materials, sufficient sleep or breakfast. Teacher, feel free to use your own money to buy my hungry kid a breakfast burrito every morning on your way to work, but don't expect me to teach him/her to thank you or even follow your daily classroom instructions without acting like a major jag weed in the process. That would require me to actually p-a-r-e-n-t my offspring. And if you dare to correct my baby for his heinous display of disrespect, disregard for you or disruption of the learning process, I'm going to have your ass on a platter and your license to teach revoked.

It's not 1986 anymore when parents approached the school with requests and not demands. When an abominable report card meant consequences for the student, rather than threats to the teacher. When "Zeros Are Not Permitted" meant a kid wasn't allowed to skip a homework obligation, rather than an edict requiring teachers to offer a bottomless bucket of chances to turn in work for weeks after it was originally due. Parents still write to demand that you take the half-assed, hot mess of work that their kid probably just copied from someone else and then offer the chance to make "corrections" for a passing grade when it misses the mark My co-worker currently has a parent who demands she change a report card grade from January. FROM JANUARY, people! The kid had a 38 average and the teacher generously bumped it to 50. The mother wants it to be 70. Even though this kid refuses to do any work in class or out.

The inmates took over the asylum quite a while ago, my friends, and changing schools only puts a cheesecloth haze over the lens. Eventually, the grim reality comes into focus.  I've spent the last few days having crazy stress dreams which, if I am honest, were most likely underscored by the ingestion of both wine and cold medication. I am deathly sick with a cold that has taken my voice and most of my will to live. I would love to call in sick tomorrow, but I have five days until the Memorial Day weekend and I plan to see them through. Meanwhile, I look over my shoulder wherever I go now and I examine the mirror for any residual signs of the Resting Bitch Face that apparently spelled my doom last week. Because to hear this d-bag of a sperm donor tell it, everything is all my fault.


  1. I can't figure out what starts with an A and doesn't require studying. It is driving me CRAZY, thanks.

    1. Sporty stuff? You know, the team stuff that some kids see as the only reason for school. The stuff that shouldn't be part of school anyway, in my opinion. But I know it's not a popular opinion.

  2. Also, your principal was not doing his job when he let the parent speak belligerently toward you. He should have ended the meeting after a warning.

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  4. Ugh, just ugh. No teacher (or anyone, for that matter) should have to sit through abuse like that.

  5. What a d-bag! Both the principal and the parent.

  6. I keep wondering when NO ONE will want to be a teacher in a public school. I think that is what it will take before our public school system can be fixed. Teaching as a profession has become less and less appealing. Would anyone honestly suggest public-school teaching as a possible career to their children or friends? I know I wouldn't --I come from a family of teachers, and I'll be sure to steer my child away from the profession.

  7. Sounds really crappy. Just reminding yourself it is almost summer...

  8. I am very late to the party, but I'm sending you a giant, not-creepy hug. I'm so sorry, but I'm incredibly impressed that you kept your cool. Clearly, that dad has ginormous emotional problems.

    Well, emotional problems and a microscopic wee-wee.

  9. When you're right, you're right. Do you have tenure? Seems like you might need a few months of stress disability. In a way, teaching young adults is easier because I don't have to talk to parents. In fact I have refused to a couple of times.


Be nice. It's not as hard as it sounds.