So, the last of the three kids has started school, which leaves me in tears.
They could be tears of joy. The house is quiet, the TV is off more often, I don’t have to nag my teenager about acting like a house plant. I can walk from my bedroom to the dryer and back in my underwear without hearing, “God, Mom! Gross!”
They could also be tears of sadness. Homework is coming down the pipeline, which means that soon I’ll be checking grades on-line and see a missing assignment or a bad grade and do a mom-freak-out which will result in rolling of the teenaged eye-balls. I’ll likely see a homework assignment come home that is just busy work, or not explained well, or just a dumb idea all together, and yet, it’ll have to be done. Probably with my assistance. Certainly with my insistence.
Is it too late to send the kid to boarding school? It’s been working great to have kids living away from home while going to college. I can only imagine the same would be true with a high school kid.
The bummer is, that new school year starts out with so much hope. There are the new clothes, fresh haircuts, sharpened pencils and blank notebooks. There are even well stock pantries and refrigerators, filled with healthy breakfasts, lunches and snacks. For about 10 minutes, we’ve got our sh*t together. Schedules are synched, alarm clocks are set and, Hello Miracle Of God, I don’t have to pull anyone out of bed by their toe nails, because they actually get up when the alarm clock goes off.
It doesn’t take long, however, for things to start falling apart at the seams.
Snooze becomes a regular thing, papers get lost, lunches get skipped and after two weeks of school we need, ‘just one more school supply item’ for a class, putting me over the edge.
I’m sure I sound cynical, but it’s not like I’m a kindergarten parent. I’ve been doing this for a while. In fact, combined, I’ve been the parent of a student for 35 years. I have never had the desire to be a school teacher, but I’ve found myself, over the years, teaching (or re-teaching) every subject, from world history to pre calculus. Don’t even get me started on science fair. I’ve helped source research, edited papers, and, in fact, I’ve even written some of the papers. Don’t judge. If you are going to give an assignment (write a paper on the crisis in Ukraine and tell me what advice you’d give the President) without giving any further details, such as basics like WHERE Ukraine is or WHICH crisis in Ukraine or even a few credible sources from which students can glean their information for said paper, and then my kid spends two hours writing a paper on what happened in Ukraine when Stalin and then the Nazis invaded (which WAS, in fact, a crisis), you are going to get me, pissed off parent, writing the paper.
Side note, I got a 97% on the paper, but I have no idea where I lost the 3 percentage points because said teacher DOES NOT RETURN GRADED WORK. Seriously. So much for feedback. And I’d really like to know.
Side, side note, after writing said paper, my daughter and I took an hour long walk during which time I TAUGHT her about the current crisis in Ukraine, where Ukraine is and why the heck we even care. Yes, I did HIS job. He is welcome.
Although we’ve had some great teachers, I’ve certainly had my share of frustrating teacher moments in 35 years of having kids in school. I mean, bless them, because I certainly wouldn’t want to hang out with kids all day- especially middle school kids. Ugh. But, hey, you signed up for this gig. Not me. Don’t be sending them home with projects that we parents have to help with. I already went to school. I have a job. And I like to drink wine. Unless you want me to do a science fair project that involves me drinking wine, please keep your science fair projects in class.
The year is only three days old and already, there are signs of it going off the rails. I was reading the syllabus to my daughter’s World History class last night, because I have to sign a piece of paper that says I read it, and you never sign something you haven’t read, and I get to the end where the discipline policy for the class is.
Now, I think it’s silly to have to put this on your syllabus for a high school class, but I understand that it’s not for the kids. It’s for the parents who think their kids are perfect and would never misbehave (this is NOT me). So when Johnny throws his eraser across the classroom and pelts Annie in the face with it, knocking off and breaking her glasses, there is a clear policy on how it’s handled because you can no longer take a switch or paddle to my kid or put a dunce cap on them and stick them in the corner (not every progression is progress, right?). However, if you are a TEACHER and you are going to post your discipline policy IN ALL CAPS for the world to see and focus on, and then you are going to REQUIRE that parents sign off that they have read it, you should, by all means, make sure you use CORRECT SPELLING and PROPER FORMS OF WORDS. I’ve been a
teacher parent long enough that that sh*t jumps off the page at me and makes you look like an incompetent fool. If I have to edit a teacher’s writing, I might be a bit concerned about their ability to teach my child.
So, buckle up, parents. Here we go. Let the games begin. And keep our wine glasses full. We’re going to need the liquid encouragement.