Monday, August 10, 2009

PostHeaderIcon Cara: Who'd ya get?

That’s the scuttlebutt this week in the Land of I. The teacher assignments are out! Let the feeding frenzy begin. I am not poking fun, because I admit I am caught up in it myself. But as I take a step back to look at what it is… I do find it to be a little nuts.

In the grand scheme of life it really doesn’t matter who you have for 2nd grade. I had the teacher from hell for 2nd grade. (and I am sure my mother had no hand in picking her or any other teacher good or bad). But, I do remember her…Miss Miks. She was ugly as the day was long, and mean as snake. She ripped my Brownie beanie out of my hand (we used to wear our uniforms if we had a meeting after school that day) because she said I was twirling it and put it on top of the filing cabinet until the end of the day. I was really just trying to readjust the bobby pin attached to it that was stabbing my head. I can remember that day like it was yesterday. But I am sure we all have things that have “scarred” us for life. Miss Miks was one of those. But in spite of her life went along fine and dandy for me.

But I also remember the summer before 3rd grade finding out that I was getting the meanest teacher in the school…she was tiny and about 150 years old back in 1976, so that makes her pushing 200 now. I cried and cried. My parents didn’t run up to school and tell the principal to switch me out. I had to suck it up and deal with it at the ripe old age of 9. She ended up being fine by the way…I was a good kid, major rule follower (well I was then anyway…shut up) so she loved me and I was “safe”. Couldn’t say as much for Micheal D. who had his desk flung over for being messy…yikes! Dear God, I shudder to think of what would happen today if a 3rd grader had his desk flung over.

Today we make sure (most moms anyway) that our kid gets the right teacher. We write our kiss ass letter the May before to the principal describing “our Johnny/Susie” and what kind of teacher they would thrive with next year. We volunteer ‘til our brains leak out of our ears for every thing that goes on at school. Teachers, principals, office ladies and even custodians know us by first name. We get the lowdown on every teacher. We compare notes as to what teacher is mean, gives too much homework, has no control over the class, etc. By the time September rolls around, we have gathered information shy of a social security number, about the new teacher.

This is all to assure that our child has the best school experience possible. No one did that for us. We were the true “you get what you get and you don’t get upset” generation. “You got a mean teacher?” Sucks for you. “ Too much homework?” Tough, finish it. “You don’t like what’s for dinner?” Eat it or starve because YOU are not going to get a special meal. Are we worse for wear for it? Not really. Did it make us more resilient? Probably.

So what’s to become of our children? Will we write a nasty letter to the CEO because the supervisor was mean to our kid (a.k.a. the adult at his new job)? We will make their favorite meals and freeze them in little Tupperwares and send them over to their house in case their wife makes something yucky for dinner? Will they be a bunch of wimps? I don’t know.

But for now I will make sure Mike gets a good teacher throughout elementary school. (I no longer have much control over my High Schoolers teachers…it’s that letting go thing again dammit). I will be a “presence” at school so the right people know who I am. I will go to the classroom as much as I can so I can see what’s going. The teacher will know me and I will have an open line of communication with her. Am I micromanaging my kid? Maybe a little. I don’t fool around when it comes to school. It’s all too important and he is too smart and has too much potential for me to sit on the sidelines and always let the chips fall where they may.

I do that with other less important things. If I can have a hand in helping mold the student he is and will become then I will. When it comes to Middle and High School I won't have that opportunity very often. And that’s OK. For now, he has what I understand is an awesome 2nd grade teacher and no one is happier than me.


Lori said...

OMG - I had the meanest 2nd grade teacher also!! Mrs. Wishnowski - she collected rocks that she gave out for "rewards" and would smack a yard stick on your desk if you weren't paying attention! I still shudder when I see a yard stick!!

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