Monday, September 8, 2008

Actual Parent-Teacher Correspondence

The school year is still young, but already I've had the chance to deal with 'issues' via email. I've been thinking about the long, long collection I have of emails back and forth with teachers. I've decided to share some highlights from actual letters. *Only the names have been changed to protect me from the wrath of the guilty.

"Hey there Fabulous Teacher*,
I know that Quirky's* vision is pretty terrible, and that he has a hard time seeing if he forgets his glasses. I have a policy though, of not bringing anything the kids forget to school. I draw the line if they are still at the bus stop. You may remember Eugene* from a few years ago. Today he forgot his planner that had to be signed, his history book that had to be covered by today and his lunch. He hadn't left the neighborhood when I discovered the planner and the book, but he was out of luck with his lunch. I now have 4 kids in school, and they need to learn responsibility though the consequences of forgetting. You can put him up close to the screen, keep him in from recess, whatever. I need to be sure to keep his problems and his problems. I know it's inconvenient to have a little blind boy in class, I'm sorry about that. I does keep me from being a trained rescuing retriever though. Thanks and good luck,

"Hey Benevolent Teacher*,
I want to fill you in on what's happening at home. We have a program in our family called accountability. Every day before dinner, each kid is held accountable for 5 aspects of life. He has to report whether his room is clean, his scriptures were read, the nature and completion of his homework, whether he practiced his instrument for 30 mins, and if he's shown family spirit. Quirky* sloughed off accountability yesterday. Each item missed each day will cost him in money and privileges. He can't go out and play, work on the computer, or watch a movie until he's accountable. Friday, however, he was accountable. I signed off on everything. I saw the homework done, I signed the reading slip. That's my job. I also saw his homework lying loose on a pile of backpacks. "Is that really where you want your homework to go?" I asked him. He picked it up, and I continued on down the hall. Where it ended up, I have no idea. It's not my problem. It's Quirky's* problem. So these are his consequences and what is expected of him at home. There will be days when he slacks off. Go ahead and throw the book at him. A great deal of the work he's missing has been done. Again, I have no idea what he does with it between the time I check it and when he's standing before you. He may go behind the school and smoke it, I don't have a clue. There's only so much I can do before it becomes an issue of training me instead of training him. He'll get it, it may just take a reeeaaallly long time. Thanks,
A very frustrated Earlgirl"

Hi Militant Teacher*,
This is going to sound crazy, but I have the distinct feeling that I've done this before! It must have been in another life that I typed the words "Eugene* has missing assignments". So either I've been reincarnated, or we've got to stop meeting like this! Anyway, after a stellar first week of the quarter, here we are again. Eugene* assures me that everything that can be turned in has been. I haven't seen a signed paper, he has no memory of me ever giving it to him, but nevertheless, he says they're done. He says there is one science assignment that was a class project that he can't make up. Is that true? Are the other ones indeed turned in?
Eugene's* weary mom

"Hey P.E, Teacher*,
My husband, Quirky* and I would like to meet with you two after school sometime soon. Will right ofter school tomorrow (Thursday) work for you? We thought an acknowledgment and apology is in order. Just let me know so my husband can schedule the time in."
Yours in Righteous Indignation,



Kristin said...

Wow! Good for you! I totally agree with you on the training of the child vs. the parent issue. This was always the policy in my family growing up. It could have been because my mom was a teacher and knew what was expected of us at school and the fact that there was no way she could bring things that we forgot. It wasn't an option. You're a great mom! You teach me so much about raising boys!

Allison said...

Wow, I echo teach me so much about raising boys! As a mother of only one boy in school so far, I have much to learn about making sure I don't become the trained poodle! A mother's instinct is to rush in and rescue, but before long you realize you've taken away the opportunity to teach responsibility and then what??? Thanks for the early warning and instruction! You are so amazing!

SkinnyJeanGirl said...

Wow, what an amazing mom you are. I echo the previous comments. I am going to have to do this with my boys. I am glad they are still young so I can get a jump start on these great ideas from you. Thanks for this wonderful post. (What if he did smoke his homework? Too funny!:O).

Jenn said...

HA! I had a great laugh about this, mainly because we just had a responsibility spiel at our house this evening. I had to tell Tyce that I totally support his decision to go five hours over his limit on computer time and must respect his decision when he loses it for the next two weeks. Bummer, dude. I'll still love you whether you spend the rest of your life in the seventh grade or not.
I think you're doing great.

Jodi said...

I love your 5 things that they have to be accountable for! That is SO brilliant! You are amazing! Not to mention hilarious!

Great post!

Anonymous said...

Wow, here school is so different from the country I am from, there schools hold the parents accountable for 'everything' the kid does or does not, that means the parents are going to be very tough at home and I don't know which is worse :)

If the kid is late to class and the parents drove him, the parent is sent to the principal and the kid can't enter the class until the parent has justified himself(even in high school).

It might seem like it doesn't teach responsibility, but it does, because the parents become like a homework police at home :)
(I'll probably write a post about how the school system works there) :)

[More news about my pregnancy on my blog, if you'd like to read about our Sunday adventure]

Home of the Muddy Kids said...

Way to go! I sure would hate to be on the other end of it though. Someone tell me--why did I quit teaching?

Kim said...

You're a genius and so funny too. Love ya Missy.

Melinda said...

I want to jump up and down and shout "way to go mom and dad". You are certainly doing the right thing. My husband and I are on a mission in Ukraine and have been teaching lessons on "Strengthening Families" I would love to use this postin our lessons. what an awesome example you are of consistant limits, great logical consequences. Hooray for you two.