Shaddup Already!


Thing One and Thing Two

Okay, so I work with the brides of Godzilla. Honestly, I exaggerate not.

Let me give some background and then I'll give some examples. I know you're holding your breath.

Thing One is the math teacher on my team. I worked with her last year. She was controlling and critical last year, but nothing like this year. Last year she drew a very clear line about how much time she would spend at school. This year she is on an obsessive mission to save these children and their parents from themselves.

Thing Two is the geography teacher on my team. She came in late in the year when our other teacher flaked out and ran off to Georgia and got married. Actually, she did that in reverse order, but that isn't the point. We're talking about Psycho Bitch here. Thing Two has been teaching for no less than 350 years. She knows everything there is to know about everything. She is completely infallible and, though she has no children of her own, she knows exactly what makes for perfect parenting.

Both of these women are extremely type A personalities. Actually I think they're type AA. I wonder if I shove them in my remote control if they would make it work. Actually, they would just sit there and tell me about the problems with the TV shows I'm watching.

At any rate, when you get them together you can neither talk nor breathe because you might do either one wrong. You can also feel the negative energy zapping at your skin, pulling at your psyche desperate to pull you into a vat of critical negativity.

We have had several conferences this week and those are the things I cannot avoid and the things that bring out the worst in these women. Now come my examples of the horror.

Example 1:
Background--B is the type of student all teachers dream of. He is a hard worker, well-balanced and just a genuinely nice kid. He can hold down an intelligent conversation about many topics and is passionate about karate. He is also good at karate.

B's parents are the kinds of parents all teachers dream of. I have no doubt that they would lie in the path of a moving semi truck if that is what's in their child's best interest. They know what's going in school, they hold their child accountable and they are very proud of their son. They don't have a lot of money, but B has all the necessities in life and he is fully supported in all his activities.


We all spend some time raving about B and how much we all enjoy having him in our classes. He is making some B's, he could be making A's, but certainly B's are nothing to be ashamed of. In the grand scheme of things, B is right where he should be, which is more than we can say for 99% of our 6th grade boys this time of year.

Dad: We don't demand straight A's from B, but we do demand that he does his best. Karate is really important to him, so we make sure he is involved in that.

Thing 1: Have you considered enrolling B in Pre-IB?

Pre-IB is our advanced placement classes. It has an extremely rigorous work load. It has some definite plusses, like if they continue the IB program at high school they can finish their first two years of college while still in high school. However, some kids find the pre-IB program to be overwhelming and it can take over thier lives because of the demands placed on them.

Dad: Yes, we talked about it.

Thing 1: I think he would be really good in that program. He would have to work really hard and his grades would probably go down a letter grade, but he could handle it.

Me: One thing you need to consider is balancing after school activities with school because pre-IB has a lot of homework and projects.

Thing 1: You struggle in math, so it would be a lot of extra work, but you should do this. You really need to be in pre-IB next year.

Thing 2: Do you want to go to college, B?

B nods

Dad: He has a definite plan, he wants to go into the military and then to college. He really wants to be a martial arts instructor in the military.

Mom: I really like that idea because it will keep him out of combat.

Dad: B is really good at karate and he really loves it. He just finished second in the entire state of FL for his level.

Mom and Dad are positively beaming with pride and B has that goofy "quit bragging, but don't stop" look on his face.

Thing 2: Well, if you want to go to college, time is running out to get into these college prep classes. You really need to get into them.

Me: I don't think you need to make the decision now, talk it over, weigh your options and decide if you want to go to Pre-IB with the time commitment. You could do the work, but you need to consider karate because you love it so much and that involvement is a huge part of why you do so well in school. (those were the last words I spoke out loud--the rest will be my thoughts.)

Thing 2: You need to get into these classes now, time is running out.

Me thinking "um, he's in sixth-frickin'-grade"

Thing 2: If you don't get into these types of classes early, then you will have a hard time getting into college. 7th grade is where colleges start looking at your grades. You need to get into these classes.

Me thinking "he has a frickin' career plan that is amazingly thought out and very reachable that you may take away with shoving pre-IB down his throat. Why the hell do you keep pushing? Is this some unfulfilled part of your childhood? Did you regret not going into advanced placement classes and college was a living hell for you because you didn't know what to expect? Did you flounder in college? Cuz frankly, bitch, I didn't take advanced placement classes and I did frickin' fine in college. Oh maybe it had something to do with, um, balance? Naw, couldn't be that. We all know that well-rounded kids who are involved in extra-curricular activities are the ones out robbing convenience stores. yeah, that's it."


Example 2:

Background: V is a very sad little girl who basically doesn't do her work. We recently found out that mom is dying from throat and lung cancer. V has had to go through the horror of up to 16 seizures a day, coming home to ambulances and fire trucks, wondering where she is going to live because her dad died when she was 4. She is 12 years old. She is coping the best way she knows how.

I won't do a play by play, but basically Thing 1 and Thing 2 were giving lip service to what is going on, but were really pushing academics on this girl. They kept saying that it would be horrible if she had to repeat 6th grade and certainly she didn't want that. Thing 1 pretty much told her that, yeah she had a lot of crap going on, but that's life and she needs to get over it and do her school work.

I really wanted to say that it wouldn't be so horrible if she had to repeat sixth grade and maybe her mental health needed to be her top priority. I didn't get a chance because when there is emotional hurting Thing 1 is there with the quick fixes like "get over it." She's all heart.


Now the above conference was on my mind when we had a conference this morning with another child's mom. A is very bright, but a little spacy and a lot lazy. She has no huge reasons to not do her work, she just chooses not to. Her mom is supportive and nothing major is going on in her life right now.

So you can imagine my shock when Thing 1 actually said to A's mom, "You know, repeating 6th grade isn't the end of the world."

My mouth dropped open and my head fell back. I could not believe what I was hearing. Someone who's mom is dying in front of her should, "get over it," so she doesn't have to go through the horror of repeating 6th grade. Yet someone who is just your basic 11 year old with your basic 11 year old issues should repeat 6th grade?

The only plus side to this is that the year is now officially half over. I only have a few more months of this and then I can hopefully be working with some more, how shall I say it, um sane people in Georgia.

I do have to say that I like the science teacher on the team. She is very nice and we get along well. She has the same issues with the Things as I do, so at least I have someone to vent to.

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