Tuesday, November 13, 2012

When You Think You've Seen It All...A Retired Teacher's Rant

This morning there was a piece on the radio about a mother who wants four oak trees chopped down near a school yard because her children are allergic to nuts. Hubby said, "Have you ever heard of anything so ridiculous?" He has no idea!

In my career, every time I thought I had seen it all, heard it all, or experienced it all, I'd encounter another jaw dropping moment. I believe I have experienced things beyond a mere mortal's comprehension. OK, ok...so I exaggerate slightly for effect.

One incident that comes to mind occurred during my retirement year. About a half a dozen parents were very late picking up their kindergarten aged children. By very late, I'm not just talking about a few minutes. As everyone knows, teachers don't ever have to pee, so it was no problem standing there, waiting with the bundled up crew. I was glad I had worn a track suit and old shoes on that day....no, not for the aforementioned reason, but because one of my youngsters had decided to pick that moment to vomit. Her clothing, although not completely spared, was relatively unscathed. Unfortunately, mine was not. Most distressing was the fact that this was an activity which clearly should have been saved for home, but alas, she wasn't picked up on time....

A couple of adults appeared and tried to help me mop up to the chants of "Ewwwwwwwwwww" by the other remaining, some gagging youngsters.  I headed for the intercom where the most treasured of school commodities, the secretary, responded sympathetically. She tried to locate a custodian and attempted to call the child's parents. There was no response from home.

I felt sorry for the little girl as the other children were gradually picked up by apologetic parents and sitters. She was still sitting, waiting, and now, sick.

At this point, the four year old child's backpack began ringing. "What is that?" I asked.

"My phone", she responded through her sobs.

"A real one?" I asked in disbelief, imagining some kind of Fisher-Price toy.

"Yes", she responded.

"Do you have your mom's phone number on there?" I asked.

"Yes," she said and pushed the appropriate keys.

She gave me the phone and someone picked up at the other end with these words. "What do you want now?" Startled,  I explained who I was and why I had called on the child's phone.

How ridiculous was this? It was right up there with the fake nails and the hair extensions donned by some of the kindergarten aged youngsters. Have education, commitment, promptness, courtesy, common sense, integrity and honesty have lost their importance only to be replaced by technology, looks and "toys"?

Do people think they're being good parents by giving children ridiculous "stuff"? Good parents spend time, real time. They listen, they talk, they encourage, they help, they co-operate, they set disciplinary boundaries and they love. Good parents don't need money or use bribes.

Good parents, parent.

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