Let me tell you about my English class, which is rapidly becoming my least favorite class.

There are 13 students. Ten are boys and three are girls. The problem is not what you might think: to my utter amazement, those boys love me. (Why am I so popular with high school boys NOW? Fate is cruel and ironic.) The problem is this one student--a girl I will name G.

It's not even that G is a bad kid; she just will not (cannot?) shut up. This is a child who, if she were placed in a padded cell, would name the walls and strike up a conversation with them. As you might imagine, this is distracting and disruptive, not to mention annoying.

A couple of weeks ago, I called G's mom to talk about this problem. Today, as I told G for the eighth or ninth time to STOP TALKING FOR GOODNESS' SAKE, she said to me (paraphrased), "If you hate kids, you shouldn't be a teacher. That's what my mom said. She said you were in the wrong profession."


The more I thought about this, the angrier I got. Not at G, necessarily, though she shouldn't have passed that on, and she DEFINITELY should just SHUT HER MOUTH, but at her mom. I stewed over it for quite a while, before I considered the source.

See, the thing about G's mom is that, when I called her and made my standard spiel, which ends with "And I was hoping we could work together to encourage G to distinguish between appropriate and inappropriate times to advance her social calendar," this woman said to me, "Well, I wish I could help you but SHE JUST DOESN'T LISTEN TO ME." (emphasis mine)

Then, she said, "Let me give you her dad's number, and why don't you talk to him, because he can get through to her." Mind you, these people are still married and LIVE IN THE SAME HOUSE. She continued, "But when you talk to him, DON'T TELL HIM YOU ALREADY TALKED TO ME, because then he won't say anything to her because he'll think I'm overreacting and I'm just being silly." (emphasis mine, again)

Let me analyze this, shall I?

1. When I spoke to G's mom, I did not say I don't like G. I didn't say anything to the effect of "Your daughter is a jerk and I wish she would die in a fire."

I always try to cover my complaints with euphemisms (as in "How can we motivate ____ to do his work?" or "What can we do to help ____ concentrate on her work instead of her social life?" when what I mean is "Your kid is a lazy so-and-so and he's totally failing because he never does anything," or "Your kid is a pain in the butt and she actively works to keep other people from learning.").

Where, in that highly decorated BS, did I say, "I HATE KIDS."?

2. One of us has been certified by the state Board of Education, having met stringent requirements including (but not limited to) completing a college teacher preparatory program, passing 143096874 tests to determine her knowledge and readiness, continuing her education at the graduate level, and paying for her own background check and fingerprinting (both currently on file with the FBI).

And one of us had one night of unprotected sex, has no control over her daughter, and asks other people to lie to her husband about her parenting issues.


3. Furthermore, expressing a desire to actually be able to DO MY JOB, and asking that she assign some consequences for her daughter who constantly interrupts my lessons with her inconsequential chatter, does not equal dislike, and it most certainly does not equal HATING KIDS. It definitely does not mean I'm bad at my job, or that I'm "in the wrong profession."

In fact, I'd say that it shows a dedication to my profession, if I'm seeking her help in order to create a quality working environment. Sure, I'm biased, because it's me, but COME ON.

If I worked in an office and the same person called me every six seconds to conduct a conversation that was totally unrelated to my projects, wouldn't I have a right to complain to someone? Especially if the project I was working on determined what kind of money my company was going to make that year?

And if I asked my boss to please step in because that person was having a negative impact not only on my work but also on the work of EVERY SINGLE OTHER PERSON in the office, would it be fair to accuse me of hating that company?

No, of course not. That's just stupid.

Here's the thing: even though G gets on my nerves every single day, I still like her. She's a good kid with a bad habit that she'll eventually grow out of (I hope).

But ... now I kind of hate her mom.


arianna said...

Which is entirely reasonable - I do too, at this point: I hate people who presume to know more than a highly trained professional about something it's questionable they've ever encountered before in their lives (meaning, looking at the way G is handling school, it sounds like maybe the mother was kind of the same way in her day, and didn't get much out of her own education...just speculation, of course...). Not that we should just trust blindly; sure, I believe we should constantly question what is placed in front of us. But it sounds like you were being entirely reasonable and up-front about everything. Your request wasn't illogical. And the fact that she was all weird about contacting the father...yeah. I'd say just chalk that one up as slightly batty, and try to forget any interactions with her - including those that came through her daughter's mouth!

J said...

this post is GENIUS and I love it. this is the kind of thing that nonteachers need to read, because there is so much stupid DUH to deal with.

hope the girl grows out of the chattiness soon. :)


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