Monday, October 06, 2008

A Tale of Two Mothers

Tiny Tim's mom is at it again.

If you recall, this is one of my mothers who does her son's work, questions every thing we do, and really, really, needs to get out more. We suspect all she does is chain smoke her cigarettes, play on the internet, wait for her public assistance, and email people just to complain about life. She is not a happy woman to be blunt about it. What's sad is she has a neat kid who's learned that he doesn't need to do a thing as his mom will do it for him. He won't ask a single question in class, and instead waits to go home, tells his mom his question, she fires off a snotty email along the lines of "why didn't you help Tiny Tim with this", and we're once again blind-sided.


She'd left me alone for a few weeks as she was busy tormenting the other teachers on the team (it's almost as if she decides which teacher she's going to pick on each week). However, I made the fatal mistake of having the kids clean out their binders and took a binder grade last week.

Let me explain a bit about the is a district-wide mandate that the students in middle school follow a program called GPA (Greater Potential for Achievement) which is modeled, somewhat, on the AVID programs our high schools offer. Each kid has a binder that is organized for each subject, and each subject has three sections - homework, classwork and notes, and returned work. We helped the kids set up their binders, and explained (over and over and over) how they work. We also explained (over and over and over) that they needed to keep all their returned work in the - surprise! - returned work section of their binders until we clean them out.

So, since we are starting in on biology, and it's near the end of the grading period, I had the kids clean out their classwork (except for foldables) and their returned work sections. I had them turn in their Unit 2 test which I'd graded and returned. After all, if the kids are keeping up with their binders, they should have this test. Pretty simple, really, and most kids (including my bunch in ISS) had this in their binders.

Tiny Tim did not have his. Therefore I got hate mail. Vicious, nasty, ugly hate mail.

She thinks the binders are STUPID. She doesn 't agree with them and therefore refuses to use them they way they are to be used. Her son shouldn't have to do what everyone else does. She cleans out his binder every night and throws every thing away because it's STUPID that we have to keep any returned work. She never kept any work from when she was in college (this surprised me because if you meet her, she talks and acts like she barely got out of high school) because it was STUPID to do so. How dare I didn't tell her when I was going to do a binder clean up and how dare I not tell her what I was going to collect, and how dare I not email her every single detail of every single decision I make each and every day. And while she was at it, she didn't agree with our Very Big Deal State Mandated Test and NCLB either. (Like I have any control over that).

I didn't respond. I simply sent it to The Principal.

The Principal ended up in a 45 minute phone conversation with Mean Nasty Mom who proceeded to berate her for every little thing she could think of, including the lunch menu and the color of the floor tiles. The Principal basically told her that instead of always looking at the negative, perhaps she should celebrate the fact that her son has the best team of teachers in the seventh grade and that he's doing well.

And that probably went over like a lead balloon.

So while The Principal is wasting her time listening to this woman vent, her phone calls are going to voicemail. After she gets rid of Mean Nasty Mom, she starts to go through them which, by all accounts is usually a depressing experience because it's usually nothing but people complaining about one thing or another.

And then she gets the call from Sweet Boy's Mom.

"Mrs. Principal, I know the only reason anyone ever calls you is to complain so I thought I'd call and tell you what a fantastic job Mrs. Bluebird and her team is doing to help Sweet Boy this year. I can't believe how they're willing to go the extra mile for him, are helping him so much with some one on one tutoring, and how they always have his best interests at heart."


Funny. One Team of Teachers. Two Moms. Two completely different viewpoints.

Maybe it's how you look at the world - you can hate everything and always see the negative, or you can believe in always seeing the positive.


Mrs. T said...

I'm intrigued by this binder thing. I have my own students keep a notebook for class- I check it at the end of the grading term to make sure they've got all the required parts. I like the idea of the binder, though. If you have any info. re: guidelines, etc. could you email to me?
And the moms? Isn't it crazy? Some love you, some hate you. The sad thing is that Tiny Tim is the one who'll suffer because of his wack of a mom.

The Bus Driver said...

Thats awesome, I'm glad that at least someone took the time to commend your team of teachers. If I ever recieve exceptional service somewhere (whether it be at a restaurant or grocery store) I nearly always go to the manager and commend the employee. Keep up the good work and keep fighting the good fight!

Princess Lionhead said...

Isn't it funny how two parents can have such different perspectives on the same situation? I know you're giving your all and you have a heart for those kids. And I know you realize how ridiculous parents can be sometimes!! Keep up the tremendous work you're doing! :)

Melissa B. said...

The parents who do their children's work are the bane of my existence! I've started assigning most of the difficult stuff--ie, much of the writing and research--for class time, so parents can't get their noses into their children's business. What's going to happen to these children of the "helicopter parents" when the kids go off to school?