Tuesday, March 31, 2009

never a dull moment...

Let me tell you of two interesting stories…both true. Oh, and both were uncovered today. Let it be known, a teacher’s job is far from dull. Enjoy. (Warning, these are long…and maybe not be all that interesting.)

Story #1 – A young man, we’ll call him Joe, explained to me that he will not be here tomorrow. The students are expected to work on a group project and he wanted me to know that his absence tomorrow might make things a bit difficult for his group. That was nice of him to warn me. However, when I asked Joe to explain why he won’t be here, he just smiled and didn’t say much. I pulled it out of him and this is what he had to say (I’ll paraphrase, since I don’t remember the details word for word – but it’s pretty close, I can assure you)…


“My dad needs my help. Since tomorrow’s April Fool’s Day, he needs me to do some stuff around the house. We’ll be up all night because of it. Like, we’re going to dress up in our camo gear and hide out in case any of my dad’s friends decide to do something to our place for April Fool’s. We’ve got flood lights that we have to remain on guard to keep watch. We are also going to head over to a friend’s house and mess with his stuff. Our plan is to take the tires off of his car and then jack it up on cinder blocks. So, I’ll be too tired and way too busy to be here tomorrow.”

Yep, that really happened just now. Apparently, parents and teachers don’t work together…instead, they work against one another. Oh, and did I mention that this young man is far from passing his classes? Yeah, he could use the extra time in school.

Story #2 – Let me introduce you to a quiet young lady – we’ll call her Jamie. She has missed quite a bit of school this year. Supposedly, she gets sick once or twice a week. In looking at her attendance records from last year, there’s not much to compare it to….she was homeschooled for part of the day/year. So, when Jamie’s family decided to go on a vacation during the first part of this year (keep in mind we have Christmas break which is 2 weeks long, a mid-winter break with 4 days off, and spring break which is an entire week), I was a little apprehensive. I emailed Jamie’s mom to explain that her daughter had already missed about a month’s worth of school. Obviously, I couldn’t keep her from going on the trip, but I did encourage her to make sure Jamie was here EVERYDAY once they returned.

Well, the family came back from their vacation and the mom was a little upset with all of Jamie’s teachers. She felt like family vacations were the type of things kids should be encouraged to do – I agree, to a certain extent. However, when your kid has missed a month of school, it’s time to sit down and evaluate your priorities. Anyways, at that time, the mom also informed the principal (and teachers too) that the family would be going on another vacation at the end of March. The principal informed her that those days would not be excused due to the Becca Bill.

Side note: Once Jamie returned from her family vacation, she continued to miss school on a regular basis. Nothing changed.


Fast forward to last week – I get an email from Jamie’s mom. Jamie had missed a few days of school and her mom was updating the teachers to let us know that her daughter had mono. Mom told us to keep our fingers crossed that Jamie would be back sometime this week (I thought that mono was more serious than just a few days out of school?!?!). Whatever the case, that can't be fun for a seventh grader.

:) Being the super nice teacher that I am, I started to gather work for this young lady so she wouldn’t fall too far behind. I emailed home a few times to see when mom would be by to pick up her work. I also had some questions as to which books she had at home, and what was left here at school. I wanted her to have all of her materials in order to complete the assignments. I never heard back from mom.

Today, I finally went down to the attendance secretary and asked her if she had heard from the family. Nothing. I asked the secretary to try calling home…and if that didn’t work, to try the other contact numbers listed. So much of my time had been spent gather materials and trying to contact the family, that I wasn’t about to let it go. I wanted to know why mom hadn’t emailed me back or called. One of the contact people on Jamie’s list gave us her father’s work number. When our secretary called, the person on the other end indicated that Jamie’s dad was not in the office and he wouldn’t be – he was on a family vacation.

So, either the daughter really is sick and the family decided to go on vacation, or Jamie is not sick and mom just lied to get out of her explanation of the family vacation. Either way, it’s all a bit shady if you ask me.

And we wonder why kids today lack responsibility?!?!

10 comments:

Laura said...

Wow!! I wish I could have taken more family vacations... Or I wish my parents would have let me stay hame because it was such an important holiday.

Doreen T. said...

Yikes!! On the one hand you have honest, but unwise. On the other hand you have questionable honesty and definite lack of wisdom. Makes you wonder....

Stefanie said...

this bugs me to no end...

Robica said...

whoa! 1st story-kinda funny, but also like 'wha, what?' 2nd story- how do you not let that affect you? that's ridiculous. i'm starting to think something else is going on..something fishy...

nicole said...

Oh my word, never a dull moment for sure! Isn't it interesting that student #1 was trying to be honest and semi-responsible by telling you he wouldn't be at school, yet it was for a very very irresponsible reason... And, I agree something seems a little shady about student #2's situation. Bless you Anne for teaching these kids and for dealing with their parents.

kate said...

That really is amazing! I promise that I will never let my children do that.

Robin said...

nice. I can relate :)

Alicia said...

We live in a world of parents constantly enabling their children. A-freakin-men Mrs. Simmons!
It really is sad. When I look at a student and their lack of work ethic, morals, attendance or all of the above I see straight through to their parents and put all the blame on them. I guess it is my job as a new mom to encourage myself and those around me to change this trend huh?

Anonymous said...

Hi, I am Janet's mom; remember me? Janet said I should read your blog. Your stories sound very familiar to me. This is my 26th year of teaching. I also do not condone all the time my students are out of school for various unnecessary reasons, especially the failing students. I had one girl gone 6 weeks in a row one year. I have many gone 25 - 30 days per year, every year. Washington's attendance laws excuse about any lame excuse parents can come up with for an absence. I have written my legislators on several occasions about these ridiculous laws, but they tend to be afraid to interfere with parental "rights" (to abuse their kids). I tell parents there are 185 non-school days per year; go on vacation then, but as you know, that doesn't work! Good luck! Gloria

Belleme said...

Hi Anne! I told my Mom to check this out because it is so funny and sounds like the stories she tells me! I, too, had a kid who is failing all her classes absent for 3 weeks to go to Hawaii earlier this year... Definately do feel like educators and parents are working against each other sometimes!!