Thursday, May 22, 2008

the other side of the coin

I remember the school "open house" nights when I was a kid We went to most of them. There is one in particular that stands out loudly in my mind. It was a potluck one.
My mom will tell you I was a picky eater. I really wasn't, I just didn't like crappy things. I liked fresh things. Pot lucks are not notorious for anything fresh or tasty. So I wasn't eating. She wanted me to eat. So she MADE me eat this kraft macaroni and cheese thing where some idiot had mixed into it tuna from a can.
Gross beyond description.
She got her paybacks, I was sick for days. Puking, dehydrated not moving from my bed sick.
But I digress.
Last night, after carefully considering how embarrassing we would be to her, probably, MG told MM and I that it was open house night at school.
So we went, and almost immediately she was swallowed into the tide pool of milling kids, and we were swallowed into the tide pool of milling parents, all waiting for the classroom doors to open. There was a book faire and spaghetti feed going on there, too. I don't eat spaghetti ( I will explain my spaghetti hating ways in another post) and the book faire were all tween and teen books, for the main part, so MM and I chose a spot near the school garden and sat, talking about the other milling parents.
During our wanderings it dawned on me that I was going to get to meet the teacher who was giving her such lopsided information about things. Whoo hoo.
Now school is over in 3 weeks. Finals are next week. My brain ticked along, wondering. Should I say anything? What should I say, if I do? Is the guy approachable? I am not her Mom, but I am the one who has been here, listening to the stuff he has been teaching them/showing them. MM and I discussed it for awhile. He didn't seem to mind if I questioned the teacher. I said what would really be good is if that teacher told parents the stuff he intended on discussing, and perhaps, had a viewing night for them of the movie(s) so they could decide if they wanted their kids subjected to it. MM agreed.
The classrooms open, and we were, of course, at the wrong one (miscommunication) We worked our way around, and got lured into a classroom with a real skeleton in it. While pondering the bones I heard the name of the teacher. Ah ha! It was THE ONE.
Studying him, I see he is a man probably close to 60, large-ish, bald, and kind of loud.
OOOK. Into the fray. He was talking with other parents, so we kind of surfed the fringes. Eventually, it was our turn. MM kind of stood back, and I just started talking. About MG at first, and then I told him, that the things coming out of his classroom were making for some "interesting" dinner conversation. He took the usual route of "thats a good thing, right?" until I blinded him with the "abortion that ends up in a colostomy" information
Then, my friends, the fluster set in. He FLAT denied it at first. Telling me they ONLY taught abstinence, so why would he teach about an abortion? He insinuated that she was "mistaken". Huh. Thought I. Mistaken my arse. Further discussion of the movies ensued. Then, his mind clicked back into place, and he told me, "it was in a movie, the abortion talk". This of course gets me thinking "so you are teaching abstinence, showing movies where they talk abortion, and you can't remember any of this when someone asks you?" but I didn't say it out loud. He was still back pedaling. Then he made the comment of "wow, that was some good listening.. for her".
MM only heard the good listening. I heard the "for her" part. And bristled. Looking him in the eye, I told him something I think all teachers really should already know "she may not look like she is listening? But she hears every word."
With that, our audience with him was over. We moved on, neither one of us liking him much. The next few we met were pretty nice. All of them had good things to say about the work she has been doing. We ran into the principal and discussed highschool with him, as well.
Eventually, we ended up retrieving MG from the tide pool of teens and tweens, and going out for burgers.
Not spaghetti. Or mac and tuna casserole.
It is interesting to be on the other side of the coin...


Lori said...

Oh, I agree. While I used to get scared that my teachers would tell my parents something bad about me, now I'm scared that they're going to say something bad about my kids. And I might have to set them straight (which has happened).
When our school does the whole sex ed stuff, we get an informative letter from the prinicipal telling us exactly what is going to be taught, and we have to sign that they have our permission to attend. They are also very open w/ the parents and allow us to view ahead of time if we want.

Jo Beaufoix said...

Oh he sounds like an arse. I'm glad MG has you and MM to give her a wider view.

Daryl said...

Brava .. I bet no one has ever talked that way to him .. and clearly he needed it .. hopefully he will now pay attention and know that what he is saying/showing these kids IS making an impression and not always the right one!


sybil law said...

It is interesting, isn't it? I hate our school things, because there's always 1 or 2 parents that hog the teachers the whole damn time!
Good for you, giving him shit. Jerk.

holly said...

i'm glad you faced up to this dude.

and i'm looking forward to hearing about the spaghetti hating. spill it!

Bubblewench said...

I'm so glad you nailed that ass to the wall... I hope HE listens from now on! Asshat.