A Parent-Teacher Interview

I think at the beginning of each entry I will send a shout-out to one, or a group of, my former colleagues and/or friends. You know, the people who have been a source of inspiration along the way. Today I want to acknowledge Erica “Chookie” Kennedy. We worked together for a number of years and I was always impressed with her professionalism and insight. Philosophically we were in sync on so many issues. We had some great conversations over the years and we continue to do so; in fact, she has played a key role in pushing me down this road of blog.

A Parent-Teacher Interview

During the period 2003-2009 I was on staff, and taught a number of courses, at Belleisle Regional High School. This was my second time at BRHS. Being a small school, one’s teaching assignment consisted of 1 of many courses. In my case: chemistry 11 & 12, biology 11, math 10 & 11 and science 9 & 10. While I was there, few students graduated who did not have me for at least 1 course.

I had a math student who was prone to being tardy (did you know there are four reasons for a student being tardy? …. more later). He and I had a rather frank discussion about my classroom expectations and his need to be on time. The following day he was again late. In a calm voice I pointed out that, unless it was for a valid reason, he was to be on-time; otherwise, there would be a consequence. At this point he launched into me regarding another matter, for which we also had a discussion the previous day, and during the course of the exchange he dropped the F-bomb. At that point I said that, because of his language, I would be involving the principal in any further discussion. He took his seat. I later advised the principal of the event and he met with the student who was equally belligerent toward the principal. The student ended up being suspended.

That night we had Parent-Teacher Interviews. Following a rather pleasant meeting with another parent I looked out into the hallway and I saw the mother of this particular student. She was in the company of another woman whom I did not know, and they were waiting to see me. Now I should point out that I had a student intern working with me at the time, and she had witnessed the earlier exchange. I invited the two women to come into the classroom at which point I looked down the hall and saw the principal. I motioned him toward me and asked that he sit in on the interview.

It was obvious by the body language of the women that they were not there to discuss the student’s academic standing; by the way, he was passing. I began by saying, “I suppose you would like to talk about today’s incident?” I then gave an account of what had happened, and the student teacher confirmed that my explanation was accurate. The principal described what had happened in his office and that her son had also been rude to him. At that point she call us all “a bunch of liars”. The mother then accused me of picking on her son and that it was her intention to begin sitting in on my class to see what was “really going on”. I told her she was welcome to visit my class. I further said, “If you are going to be in my class would you like to help out?”. “What do you mean?’ she retorted. I explained that a number of the students could benefit from some one-on-one assistance and that if she were to be visiting why not assist with the learning process.

During this exchange I noticed that the right leg of the woman, to whom I had yet to be introduced, was vibrating vertically rather quickly. It reminded me of a volcano about to erupt. Well, sure enough, the volcano erupted. She jumped to her feet, pointed at me and said, “You are an asshole, you are nothing but an asshole. YOU are an asshole!” She then stomped out of the room. Silence followed and then I started to giggle, at which point the mother said, “Why are you laughing?”. I replied, “I have no idea

who that woman is.” The mother responded, “She is my partner. Do you have a problem with that?” I said, “No, but I have a problem with the fact that she called me an asshole three times in the space of five seconds.” The principal declared the interview over shortly thereafter.

If Aristotle had been present I suspect he would have referred to this as an assholium assaultum.

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