Friday, September 7, 2012

Stuck in the Middle School with You

Last night the Baudelaires participated in the annual back-to-school ritual called Meet the Teacher Night. Beloved Spouse and I followed the Preocious Daughter around her middle school so we could see her classrooms, introduce ourselves to her instructors, and try to act like mature adults and responsible parents for an hour.

I mean, that's funny, right?
Actually, I have a very specific agenda for these events. It's important to set the tone for an open and productive parent-teacher relationship, so I always make sure I cover these bases with each teacher.

1. Apologize for having such a rotten kid. The purpose here is to establish a baseline. At the beginning of the school year, the teachers will laugh and protest that PDaughter is in fact a lovely student. They'll say the same thing throughout the year, but as time goes on I can observe their dwindling level of sincerity and increase in facial tics. I can also track the type of euphemisms they use to describe her behavior, like "spirited" (never shuts up) "strong-willed" (uncontrollable), and "a natural leader" (incites rebellion among her classmates).

2. Offer to sign a waiver. You know, so they can beat her with impunity as needed. I know how strong the urge can be to employ cartoon-style violence against our irascible progeny, and I want her teachers to feel comfortable that we will not sue them or the school district if they decide to drop an anvil on her or put her hand in a mousetrap or something. So far, no teacher has ever taken me up on it, and I respect that. But the offer totally stands.

3. Make an off-color reference or joke. Because teachers need to know PDaughter didn't get the way she is on her own. We are partially to blame because we're awful people, and we accept that.

4. Smile, make eye contact, and listen respectfully to their teaching philosophy. I'm pretty sure BelSpouse does this naturally, but I have to make an effort. Otherwise, I'd be whining about how boring this is and how much I want to leave. Also, if the teacher is male and attractive, possibly making inappropriate overtures. My keen parenting instincts tell me this is bad form.

5. Keep the interaction brief. This shows that we respect the teachers' time and have consideration for the other parents. I figure it can't hurt to have them think that's true. Also, after about two minutes I want to start whining about how boring this is and how much I want to leave.

And one more thing...I have to make sure I rebuff the PTA moms' efforts to make me join their organization. I give them credit for persistence; this is the eighth year they've tried to convince me to become part of the collective, and they haven't let failure stop them yet. I just can't see any good coming of me being part of the PTA. I have limited social skills, I'm not organized, I don't do perky or crafty, and I'm pretty sure there's no open bar at those meetings.

Also, Lord love 'em, but I think some of those ladies are a little crazy.

Anyway, I think we got the school year off to a successful start. Good luck to my fellow parents and their Precocious Kids. If you need any tips or advice, you know where to find me. So look somewhere else.


  1. As an active PTA mom, I can GUARANTEE that many of those ladies are crazy.

  2. I join PTA to get the announcements, I have never actually participated in ANYTHING associated with it. :D


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