Congratulations! You have successfully made it to August! This is cause for raucous celebration and frivolity because it means that your favorite public school teacher is about to become gainfully employed once more and the Muses will provide him with the inspiration for more blog posts! I know that my summer sabbaticals frustrate those faithful fans that are working all year, but as funny as it is there are only so many things I can say about getting one’s scalp sunburned and crying in the shower.
It is clear to me that the new school year is upon us; the signs are unmistakable. The school has called me several times in the last few days with increasingly desperate pleas for me to care about scheduled club meetings, class rosters, and brilliant solutions to problems created by incompetent people stumbling about blindly. All of those things are annual events as predictable as the mass migration of bright red tourists on Labor Day and serve in and of themselves as harbingers of the new school year, but this year I received an extra (and altogether more ominous) sign of my impending submergence into the Puddle of Perspicacity.
I received an email from a parent. Before I have even attempted to find out when my planning period is, I am already being pestered by parents. This one informed me that her child was in my class (it could be true, but I don’t know because I HAVEN’T STARTED WORK YET!) and was desperate to know what classroom supplies Lil Johnny needed. Please understand that once again (despite the efforts of my colleagues) I am teaching regular Earth Science and long ago decided to give those students able to figure out that they should sit in the chairs provided without asking an A. Stop laughing. That wasn’t a joke. Seriously.
Apparently this parent had realized that I had not provided a list of classroom supplies and concluded that I was an incompetent moron. I’m sure that it never occurred to her that the classroom supplies I think students should show up with on the first day are exactly the kinds of things that EVERY TEACHER EVER wants their students to have and I didn’t feel that it needed reiteration. I know that the majority of my students are freshmen, but this supposes that every one of them has already been in school for a minimum of 8 years (trust me that no students who skip grades are placed in my classes) and should by now have a fairly good grasp of the kinds of things to bring to school and the kinds of things they should leave behind.
Things to Bring:
Things to leave at home:
Your homemade “I’m the Man” card
You’d think that those kinds of things would a “given,” but apparently ours is a brave new world and the local helicopter parents aren’t quite sure what to make of it all. Clearly these are the kind of people for whom the “Contents are Hot” warnings on coffee cups were invented. I feel badly for the students of these parents and I think that I’ve stumbled across a fairly clever way to help them. In my response to the helicopter parent, I told them that their student needs to wear their safety helmet to class at least for the first week of the semester. This isn’t because I think our school is dangerous or anything, but more to give the rest of us a clue that this child is not being allowed to wipe his own ass and we’ll need to be prepared to enter into close personal relationships with his parents for the next 18 weeks.
To all those public school teachers out there mentally girding yourself for another school year of battling Fearless Leaders, Students, Copy Machines, and the Diet Mountain Dew-less Drink Machine (WTF is up with that, anyway?! I feel like we’re trapped in some Bangladeshi prison!), I wish you good luck. The growing thump, thump, thump you are hearing might be your own heart beating with increasing excitement deep within your chest, or it could be the rotors of the latest crop of helicopter parents. I guess we just hope for one and bring our safety helmets for the other.