Discipline, trust annd constant vigilance

I went to a special meeting for my daughter’s class last night. After a year’s hiatus from the school meeting hell I’ve decided that I can take it, that I am calmer, more mature. That I can deal with those bloody ^&&*%$^%$%#?! parents that just don’t know when to shut up.

Okay, obviously, I have some work to do and much whiskey to consume before the calmness and the maturity actually sets in, but I am determined to be more present and at least get through these ordeals like the good little parental martyr I am.

But my goal for this post is not to complain yet again about school meetings, and the people who do not have the filter in their brain to know when they are talking too much and are wasting everybody’s time. No sirree. You see, this was a special meeting, called only a week in advance. A crisis situation meeting.

The crisis? Discipline. Yes, apparently the children have been running amok since the beginning of the year. In a class of grade 3s and 4s, they are getting no work done, because there is a total disregard for teacher (and parental, as many parents come to volunteer at the school) authority.
They do not get ready when they are supposed to. They talk, read, pass notes when the teacher is giving them their instructions. They eat the ingredients for their science experiment and then come back with the “but you didn’t tell me that wasn’t allowed” defense. On a little more ominous tone, there is also a habit among the boys to proclaim everything stupid, from the work they have to do to the people they have to do it with.

On the whole, not earth shattering, gasp-worthy behaviour. However, it has come to such a pass that they are not getting the work done that they need to do in school. Which means, all the parents in the class were privvy to a nasty surprise the Monday before the meeting in the form of two bright yellow stickers in the agendas of our children saying that they had not finished all this work in class and that they now had to do it at home.

I completely freaked out when I saw those yellow stickers (not realising that the whole class had got them, I thought it was just my daughter pfaffing (is that how you spell it?) off. My daughter goofing around in class? Not doing her work? And let’s be honest, in general being a poor ambassador for my parental skills? Unacceptable. Heads rolled. A river of blood streamed through our kitchen.

Well, okay. There was no blood but there was definitely tears and a lot of yelling. Especially since I had been asking said daughter from the beginning of the year if she had any homework. How were things going at school? Is everything okay? Is there anything I should sign? Yes, mom. Everything is fine, mom. There is nothing to sign mom. These are not the droids you’re looking for mom.

The problem is, my daughter is more tight-lipped than a Tibetan Monk who has taken a vow of silence. She does not tell me anything. So I have no idea about what’s going on until I get to one of these meetings and I hear the other parents talking.

Oh God. Am I just about to make a case for the school meeting? Stop me now. Please.

But it’s true. I wouldn’t know diddly squat if it weren’t for those couple of excruciatingly enlightening hours spent hungry and crammed into my daughter’s desk on a Thursday night.

So here are the problems as I see it:

1. How can I get my daughter to actually tell me things without resorting to Bush-like persuasion techniques?

2. How can I trust my daughter to tell me what is really going on? And here I have a bit of a revelation. I can’t! That seems harsh, but she has never proven to me that she is responsible enough to do her homework without me looking over her shoulders. We have tried it and it has failed, so now we are going to the Napoleonic code- guilty until proven innocent! Vive la France! She must now prove to me her worthiness. Those are indeed not the droids I am looking for, missy.

3. On a more philosophical note, are our children more unruly these days then they were in our days? Are our lenient, discuss everything reasonably, no yelling at any cost theories inuring our children to adult authority? And if so, is that a good or a bad thing? Talk amongst yourselves…because I sure as hell don’t know.

4. Is it the teacher’s job to instill values of respect and consideration in our children, or should this be coming from us so that it can manifest outside of the home? Strike that from the record judge- leading the witness. Obviously, I feel like it should be coming from the home. If my daughter is showing such lack of respect I want to to know about it. I want to take steps so that it does not re-occur. And no, I do not mean waterboarding, Mr. Bush.

5. Why can’t people formulate their thoughts before they begin spouting inane nonsense? Why do people have to waste everybody’s time by proclaiming on topics they know nothing about? Why, in short, are people so stupid and selfish? Don’t they have homes to go to? People to feed? Places to drown? They obviously didn’t get the memo that TIME IS MONEY. Or at least as scarce. Sorry. I couldn’t help myself…Post meeting syndrome- it makes me susceptible to sudden fits of rage…

Anyway, lost of questions no answers and a whole lot of rambling. Two things are for sure though: there is now a lock-down on my youngest and I still really hate school meetings.

Um, the end?

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