Thump, Thump, Thump…

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:




Common Sense

Things to leave at home:

Stupid Questions

Your homemade “I’m the Man” card

Your mother

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.


3 thoughts on “Thump, Thump, Thump…

  1. mav3n

    HEY!!!! I seem to remember recently seeing a homemade “The Man” placard in front of a certain (not yet sunburned) RockWalker. Don’t forget the workshop – homemade signs not only allow us to learn these students actual names (instead of how I remember them usually – “the one with the dumb look on his face,” “the one that wears too much AXE,” “the pregnant one,” or “the one who smells like cat pee”) but also allow the students to express themselves. Really, drawing a stick figure with a middle finger sticking up as a representation of his or her outlook on a new school year tells me a lot about a student. My heart has already been going pitter-pat. In my wanderings into the school randomly this summer for copies and such I have seen/heard some of the changes being made. I LOVE LOVE LOVE coming back from the summer being told that I MATTER and that my opinion RUNS the school only to discover that the rug was pulled out from under me while I was trying to relax and regain sanity this summer! I absolutely can’t wait!!! Only 491 hours left before we all can embrace the new year. . . Does that make anyone else want to drink the sunscreen?


  2. stumpsmcgee

    As the eternal optimist that you are, Rockwalker, I don’t want to burst your bubble. However, I’m afraid that the thump, thump, thump that I’ve been hearing the past few days isn’t my heart pumping in excitement. I would have to say that it may be my heart pumping…in anticipation of the massive amounts of caffeine all educational professionals streamline and the fast food I will no doubt be eating because I don’t actually have time to eat. Or, it could be the mass of teachers around the country beating their head against the wall saying “NO! YOU CAN’T MAKE ME GO!! NO!!!!!” Now I’m not an expert or anything, but that’s my take.


  3. irishpirate81

    Wow, Rockwalker.. what a giant missed opportunity! I am so disappointed in you right now. Here you were, presented with a great chance to really, truly humiliate a kid on his first day on high school, and you missed it. I mean, you just watched the pitch sail by! How utterly AWESOME would it have been during your first day back to school, when you are crying silent tears and fighting the urge to set yourself on fire, to have this kid walk into your classroom dressed up as a tree. As is the “standard uniform for all Earth Science classes” per your should-have-been response to his mom’s email. You could have explained to her, “you need to BE the tree, to truly UNDERSTAND the tree.”


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