Friday, April 1, 2011

Josh Gets His Way or Mrs. Boyd Sets a Dangerous Precedent

Our school corporation has Parent-Teacher Conferences twice a year, once in October and again in March.  One of the first pronouncements I made upon learning that Kinley would be in my class was that I refused to hold a parent conference for her.  Conferences, while incredibly beneficial, are draining.  So if Josh wanted to know details about Kinley's performance in the classroom, he could ask me at home.  (Actually, I'm adamant that Kinley show him her graded papers and homework herself, without my prodding.  After all, none of the other students have me at home constantly nagging them to keep their parents informed.)

I held firm in October in spite of Josh's playful chastising.  "I'm going to call that principal and tell her that my child's teacher flatly refused to meet with me," he joked. 

I replied, "You absolutely should.  The nerve of that wretched teacher to deny a father his right to discuss his child's progress!  It's a disgrace to the profession."

But he never made that call, and I got away with having to schedule one fewer conference.

When March rolled around, I didn't even think about it this time.  Scheduling a slot for Josh to meet with me was simply not on my radar.  Not going to happen.  No way.  Why even discuss it?

But I was outsmarted.  Josh came to pick Kinley up after school on Thursday the week of conferences since hanging around school for four extra hours while I met with other students' parents wasn't her idea of a good time.  He waltzed in and cavalierly asked, "What time is my conference, Mrs. Boyd?"

The next day, my colleague Andrea told me that I should have responded, "I would love to meet with you, Mr. Boyd, but I see you haven't arranged for childcare for your four year old.  You'll have to make other arrangements since we can't have your son running willy-nilly around the classroom while I try to discuss your daughter's strengths and weaknesses." 

Too bad my wits weren't at their quickest that day.  Instead I just snapped,  "You want a conference?  Fine.  Your slot is now.  Sit down, Mr. Boyd."

He proceeded to back track, noting my annoyed tone and no doubt anticipating that I would hold this against him for who knows how long.  "I was just kidding!" he said.  "You don't have to!"

"No way.  Sit down.  I'm sick and tired of your giving me a hard time about this over and over, and you won't hush until I do it. So sit down."

He sat, and I spewed forth edu-babble about online assessments, Accelerated Reader scores, individual reading strategy goals, and projected ISTEP+ scores for the fifteen minutes allotted to other normal parents.  The whole time, Kinley sat wide-eyed while Knox drew on the white board.

At the end of my spiel, I said, "Well, Mr. Boyd, do you have any questions?"  Undaunted, he leaned over into the personal space of his child's 4th grade teacher, and laid on a big, fat, sloppy kiss.  "I've been wanting to do that all year!" he said, incredibly pleased with himself.

Kinley, no longer wide-eyed but now, instead, snarling, just said, "Gross.  That was TOTALLY inappropriate." 

She's probably right, but her teacher kinda liked it.