Thursday, April 06, 2006

So ... Weary ...

Jeez ... I tell you, having a full day of six lesson teaching AFTER an pretty full-on evening of parent-teacher interviews is not fun.

I freaking HATE parent-teacher interviews. I didn't like them too much as a student, and I actively dislike them as a teacher. For the most part because it is a colossal waste of time. A good half to three-quarters of the parents I saw last night I really didn't to see at all. Their kids are doing FINE in the subject - there have been no problems - everyone's happy. Seriously - they ONLY want to come along and see WHO you are. Which pretty much means that you're still 'on' as a teacher. Gah. To them I say - check out the photos in the yearbook ! They also last longer ! Man !

Having said that - it is a good thing to be able to put the boot into a student who is being a jerk. HOWEVER - you hardly EVER see the parents of said jerk-burger children because said parents KNOW their kid is spawned from the vilest demon from the deepest depths of the Abyss ... and don't really want to have you telling them that. I can't blame them really.

I've been doing these parent-teacher things for a few years now - and they still have me on edge. Mainly because I'm always waiting to get the real 100%, infused with insanium, fresh from their tour of Rubber-Room Land, NUTCASE parent. The one who will start screaming at me for making fun of Scientology or something, or start channeling the spirit of Gengis Khan - proceeding to beat me with a plank ripped from the gymnasium floor. I haven't had one of those yet ( a couple have been close though ! ) - but you're always thinking before the evening starts "... Maybe this is the year."

I did get a pretty angry mother last night. She managed to keep herself civil, though by the look in her eyes she would have liked to slide a rusty bayonet into my gall bladder. Sheesh ! There was some pretty undiluted malice there ! 'Why the malice?', I hear you ask. Oh - you know - the usual deal. 'You're picking on my boy ... blah blah ... he never lies ... yadda yadda" BIG DEAL !
I loved the "he never lies" thing. She is going to be in for a shock in the not too distant future. Kids lie through their teeth ALL times they can get away with it. In fact - I'd almost extend that to people in general, though adults tend to tell the truth more because they know when it's in their advantage to do so. Kids just always assume the truth will get them into trouble. Which provides me with NO END of joy - I freaking HATE being lied to by children. I hate it !
Reminds me of a situation that happened at my last school. I was teaching an Y9 English class how to write an essay, and part of the work was to, in the end, actually WRITE an essay.
One kid sticks up his hand - "Mr. S ... what if you were to ... COPY an essay from the internet ... you wouldn't be able to tell would you?"
"Oh contraire, my diminutive friend" I answer "You are a Y9 student - and as such, have virtually NO command of language ... AT ALL ! Bear in mind I have been reading your writing all year ! I know what you are generally capable of doing in terms of writing ! I have administered PAT tests which tell me your skill level in writing. If I were to get an essay which is much more advanced than your current level would indicate - I shall know right away that this is not your own work and that you are a dirty cheating scumbag !"
"...oh." He says.

So he turns in an essay copied from the net anyway. Duuuhhhhh.

I had a fun time with him afterwards.
S - "All your OWN work, eh?"
K - "Yes Mr.S"
S - "Are you SURE...?"
K - "Yes Mr. S"
S - "REEEEEEAAAALLLLY ? You don't want to ... y'know ... CONFESS anything to me at all ? Like ... oh, I don't know ... CHEATING for example?"
K - "No Mr. S"
S - "Okay ... so you'll have no problem explaining the meaning of this word you used here ?"
K - stares at paper for a good 30 seconds - "...I can't remember Mr. S"
S - "Why - that IS odd. I don't know HOW you could use a word like this without knowing WHAT it meant. You SURE you don't want to tell me anything now ?"
K - "...No Mr. S"
S - "Well how about this word here ? Or this one ? Or even this one HERE. You must know the meaning of 'juxtaposition" if you're using it with such flair !"
K - pausing even longer - "... I have a headache at the moment. I can't think properly."
S - "Oh DEAR. We'll get you to the sick bay RIGHT AWAY. But before that - could you tell me what this bit in your essay means - the bit where it says 'Refer to pages 25 - 30" ?"
K - almost under breath - "Oops - forgot to cut that out ..."

Y'see ? The barefaced CHEEK of some of them ! And the worst thing was that his parents couldn't see anything wrong with what he'd done !

Idiots !


Meredith said...

I wonder if that kid is in any way related to a now ex (wooooot) work colleague of mine?

She was a liar. She happily lied straight to your face. Problem was, she always came across so believable that it was tough convincing other people not to trust a word she said. At first I thought she was pathological but then quickly realised that it was because she was so incredibly stupid that she believed herself and really thought she was telling the truth.

And yep, just for entertainment I'd try and trap her in her lies and watch her confuse herself. Moooowhoohahaaa

Seraph said...

Yeah - I have had more than one "I create my own reality as I go along" student. They are really REALLY frustrating. In fact - I was just dealing with one in my last lesson. He got kicked out of class for talking too much - and he was complaining that he got kicked out the previous day for just lying on the floor.
He got kicked out yesterday for EXACTLY the SAME reason ! He's on a school behaviour report because he can't keep his trap shut ! Yeesh. The INSANITY ... !

Anonymous said...

Wheee! Your blog!


I can't believe his parents didn't agree with you. Are they crazy?

Seraph said...

Yes - They were crazy. Wanganui grade crazy.

Matt said...

It is frightening how much conviction a kid can muster when they've been caught doing something red-handed and choose to lie about it anyway.

I guess they hope that sheer volume and bluster will convince you to beleive them over your natural senses.

"I saw you hit him."

"No you didn't! How dare you say that! I never even looked at him!"

"Don't try to deny it, I SAW YOU HIT HIM."

"But nah.. but you never... but..."


Anonymous said...

Hee hee. I so agree on the pointlessness of 99% of Parent-Teacher interviews. There are times when a student is having a problem (or being a problem) and contacting the parents and getting their support on the home front is a great help. These cases tend to not conveniently fall on the week of the Parent-Teacher interviews (especially not the Term 1 ones). Generally they come along mostly to 'check the teachers out' (not in a sleazy way - usually). It feels kind a waste of my evening to just be there on display as if to prove to the parents that I'm not the eight-foot tall freaky alien hybrid the kids have made their teachers out to be. The whole thing seems to largely be an exercise in PR for the school.

I do have fears that one day I'll be savaged by an enraged parent whose child isn't doing well enough. I have witnessed one teacher get very unpleasant verbal abuse from a crazy parent because she gave the child a detention for not doing their homework! Scary.

However, there are some nice ego-boosting interviews where the parents come along and tell you how much their kid loves your class and how English is their favourite subject. I'd still rather have an evening at home but the nice comments take the sting out of being at work until 9pm a little.

kiwigina said...

Man Mr S - I suggest you consider a different career - like the head honcho for interrogations at the CIA :-)

Seriously - isn't it good to have a relationship with the parents as well?

What am I saying? I hated them with a vengeance whenI was a teacher. Mostly because of the utter exhaustion you feel after teaching all day. Ah well. I hear the CIA pays well and you get free holidays to Cuba....