Can I ever have a year without a parent who is constantly on my ass? I mean, I know parents mean well, but, really, do you have to email me 7 times a day? Do you really have to come in and sit in the classroom to "observe your son's learning environment?" I guess you do, because you did. Lemme 'splain.
I have a boy in my class who is new to our school this year. This kid is by no means "bad." He can have his annoying moments and he doesn't always listen, but he doesn't fight, he isn't mean, and he pretty much does his work. Well, last month, he neglected to tell his parents that he had to complete a science fair project. He didn't bring home any of the information I had given him and he didn't write down any of the assignments and due dates associated with the project in his homework journal. This started the whole thing. His father emailed me concerned that he (the father) and I were not communicating enough. Fine. We had a long phone conversation and many emails were exchanged about what we were going to do to make sure this "science fair fiasco" did not happen again. I now check the kid's homework journal every day to make sure he is writing down every assignment.
Then the kid did something else. Instead of taking all his graded papers home last Friday, he hid them in the classroom. He did this because he had some papers in there that he did not do well on. I gave the papers to the kid, told him to take them home today, emailed the father about what happened, and left it at that.
Of course I get an email from the dad asking me if it would be okay to attend class the next morning to help him get control of this situation. He said he felt he may be able to gain some insight by watching his son's behavior and environment. Oh, did I mention the father is some kind of child behavioralist or something? I told him fine. Come on in.
He came in for about 2 hours. I pretty much ignored him (I mean, of course I said hello and told him where to sit) and went on with things as normal. Everything went well. Nobody got in a fight, there was no fire alarm pulled, nothing out of the ordinary...thank god.
That night, I get an email from the dad thanking me for letting him into the classroom and that he thinks he thinks that some of the issues with his son is that "he is really accustomed to highly structured classroom settings." Uh...excuse me? What the hell is that supposed to mean? Did you take my classroom as a free-for-all? I find my classroom to be very well-structured. No, I don't make my kids stay in their seats for 2 hours at a time, I allow them choice in their activities, and I don't expect everyone to be doing the exact same thing at the same exact time, but my classroom is STRUCTURED! The dad went on to write that this is by no means judgment on me. Uh, okay...but it kind of is. Now he wants to get together so we can work on a plan to help his son become more consistent with his work and his responsibilities. That sounds fun. I hope you send me a nice Christmas present.
My last complaint is that this man addresses me by my first name. If you're a civilian (a.k.a. not a teacher), this may sound normal to you, but in the teaching world, you are ALWAYS known by your last name. In my 10+ years of teaching, no parent has EVER called me by my first name. Hell, no boss has ever called me by my first name. It's just the way it goes. So where does this guy get off on calling me by my first name? I guess he thinks we're friends. Friends get nice Christmas presents.