Saturday, September 01, 2007

Duck! It's the Helicopter Mother!

I know I haven't been posting much, but it's quite simply because it's the week from Hades. I've had something to do every single night after school and it's all I can do to get it done before I crawl into bed, exhausted.

For example, Open House was on Thursday.

We get an amazing number of families in the building on Open House days. Not only do we see our current student and his or her parent or parents, but we'll often see all the brothers and sisters tagging along as well. Our big goal is to smile, introduce ourselves, and have the kids show their parents their rooms, lockers, etc. Mr. Social Studies and I both have PowerPoints scrolling on our screens letting parents know about our classes, along with music playing, and an email sign up list.

One thing we do try to do is to not get trapped in a room with a parent who wants to talk grades (not a good thing when half the neighborhood is wandering through), so we tend to stand in the hall area outside our rooms. Mrs. Math, Miss Reading and Mrs. Language even had a table set up outside their room area. Mr. Social Studies and I didn't do the table thing, but instead simply stood in the hallway which gave us a chance to see who was going where and keep an eye on our rooms as well.

And that's when our number one Helicopter Mother from last year came by, along with her husband (whom we never met), and her two sons, Chopper Boy who we had last year and one who's in sixth grade. Mr. Social Studies saw her heading towards us and whispered "Look out," under his breath at me.

See, this mother had some definite problems with both of us at different times last year. She didn't like the fact that I had assigned a PowerPoint project for the students because she didn't know PowerPoint and couldn't prepare her son for the project. She even threatened to take her "case to the principal" if I couldn't "justify" the technology project I was assigning. Mr. Social Studies incurred her wrath when he told the kids that if they handed in anything on a piece of notebook paper that had been torn out of their binders that it would be counted as a zero - part of our big GPA program is that kids keep EVERYTHING in their binders and tearing out paper is a big no-no. She proceeded to not only complain to the principal about him, but showed up with a case of reinforcements. I still have over a dozen packages of reinforcements in my desk drawer from her gift.

So we were a little surprised when she showed up in our hallway with a big huge smile on her face.

"Oh, I wanted so much to come by and see you two," she gushed at us. "I wanted to know if parents are allowed to request teachers, because our son will be a seventh grader next year and I want him to be on your team."

Mr. Social Studies looked dumbfounded and didn't say a word. I think he was in shock. It takes me a minute or two to come to my senses and then I mumbled something to the effect that I think parents can request teachers but there's no guarantee they'll get their request. I'm sure I sounded like a complete moron. Good gracious, did we want this mother as a parent yet again?

"We're just so pleased with all the work you did with Chopper Boy. We got his Big Deal State Mandated Test Scores last week and he scored off the charts in science and social studies and we know it's just because of the fantastic job you two did with him last year."

"Uh, thanks," both Mr. Social Studies and I manage to mumble. Were we talking to the same mother we had last year?

"I just really like your philosophy on education and your values and I want my other son to have the same great teachers Chopper Boy had."

"Well, check with guidance next year and they'll let you put in a request," I mutter again, still completely astounded by this apparent change of heart.

"Will do!" she says. "Thanks again so much!" She walks away with her family, heading to the 8th grade hall to inspect Chopper Boys current crop of teachers. I feared for them.

"Well," says Mr. Social Studies. "That was a surprise."

"No kidding," I respond. "Especially considering how mad she got at both of us last year."

"Looks like we'll have another steady supply of reinforcements next year."

1 comment:

CaliforniaTeacherGuy said...

Parents seem to have this uncanny knack for surprising us, either for good or ill. At least this time the surprise was good!