Friday, January 27, 2006

OH, yeah

As we know, Friday is my busy day. Imagine my absolute delight when my phone rings during a class, and one of the secretaries says, "[PiTA Parent] is here, she has an appointment?" I said sweetly, "I'm in class, and no, she doesn't." I know the secretaries get the brunt of this parent, and I feel bad they have to run interference, so to speak. Then I get a call two minutes later, "Oh, they'd like you to join the meeting next period [my lunch break]." O-kay.

I armed myself with the plagiarized paper her child wrote, the conduct sheet she rejected over a month ago, and my record sheet of parent contact.

The meeting was with her, me and the principal. The woman hardly let me get a word in edgewise. However, the principal called her on her bullshit and backed me up right good. It felt wonderful to have such support in the face of parent adversity.

She accused me of not being open and kept going on about her commitment to a rapport. That she comes up and checks in, that she calls my cell phone but I say 'don't.' I cut in as much as I could--because this is bullshit, look at my record sheet--to remind her that she called me at seven in the morning ONE TIME, and I repeated (now for the THIRD time) that that --the one time--was inappropriate. "Well, [the math teacher] talks to me when she's at home" blah blah blah. Man, I was ready to pop. I restrained my eyeroll as much as possible; I think it ended up directed at the wall rather than one of them. But holy jesus, shut the hell up!

What few sentences I could get in, I said firmly that what's important is the student, and that he needs to get it together so he won't do poorly like he has been. After some lecturing and backup from the principal, the parent finally agreed that yes, the child is lazy and does just enough to get by.

I explained that just because a homework assignment is turned in, doesn't mean it gets all the points. All the directions need to be followed. For example, he just turned in two paragraphs for a paper that was supposed to be two pages. I also brought out the conduct sheet again and told her she'll see it each week. I got her cell number (the only number she's given me before is one that she never picks up), and it ended amicably, for the first time ever.

And I was only ten minutes late for my class I had to, you know, teach. Be the responsible adult. The class was waint for me, and someone crowed, "Ms C, you're late!" Grit those teeth: "Yes, I am," as I fast-walked to the door.

The only bad thing is that I didn't get to tell her about the cheated extra credit paper, and that he will still probably fail this quarter. I did tell the student himself at the end of the day: I pulled him aside and pointed to "assiduous" in his paper: "How do you pronounce this word?" "asid...I looked it up!" "These are not your words. You did not write this." "My mom didn't help me!" "You did not write this. That is plagiarizing. That is cheating. You will not be getting any credit for it." I said all this very quietly, calmly, gently. I wanted him to understand (briefly) that what he turned in is not acceptable. I hoped he would take it as a lesson to learn from, but with this kid, I rather doubt it. "Anything you turn in, must be in your words. Do you understand?" He looked mad but said, "Yes."

Oh Fridays and teaching, how I love you at times like this.

Happy note: I got all my grouping/seating charts done already! One more thing off the list. Only ten more to go!

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