Stories and thoughts about family and life

Talking to the wall

on February 14, 2014

I was a good kid in school. I didn’t always love being there, but I did my work, and my parents never really had any complaints. I struggled with a couple of my classes, and I took it upon myself to discuss those struggles with my teacher and work them out directly. The only real difference between myself and my kids? My parents honestly had no idea what happened at school. There was no Edline (or eSchool, in our case). There weren’t e-mails and texts with the teachers. You went to school, did your thing, and better show up with the grades at the end. I acknowledge the benefit of those technological advances (for example, I wouldn’t know my kid isn’t getting his work done unless the teacher called me otherwise), but it’s rather frustrating to have the conversations I have to have sometimes. I can be entertaining, and especially when guided by a smart-ass as I am (I’m a good Southerner, what can I say??). Let me entertain you:

Me: “why is it you have a 0 for “bell work” on this date?”
Luke: “I didn’t get it turned in.”
Me: “what is bellwork anyway?”
Luke: “The teacher assigns it at the first bell. We work on it for a few minutes and then go on to something else.”
Me: “so, you weren’t in class that day?”
Luke: “no, I was there.”
Me: “so, why didn’t you turn it in?”
Luke: “it was at home.”
Me: “Wait. How did it get home?”
Luke: “I took it out of my backpack.”
Me: “Did you teleport to the house in the middle of class? How on Earth did you get something on your desk at home that you did in class?”
Luke: “I took it out while I was working on something else. I forgot to put it back in.”
Me (with Louis looking at the kid equally as if he’s crazy): “I’m confused. You were in the SAME class, right?”
Luke: “Right.”
Me: “And the bell rings (I hold my hand up in the air and wave my hand back and forth in “ringing” fashion) ‘Ding-a-ling-a-ling’ and the teacher gives you the assignment. Ten minutes later you are finished with the assignment, right?”
Luke: “Right.”
Me: “And then you turn it in, right?”
Luke: “well, she walks around and checks to be sure we’ve done it.”
Me: “And you had done it?”
Luke: “yes.”
Me: “so why couldn’t she see it was done?”
Luke: “it was on my desk at home.”

OMG! The conversation continues like this for about 20 minutes. Back and forth. Me asking, then Louis asking. Us trying varying approaches. Same answers. I finally stand up and re-enact the entire scenario by making a ringing noise again and handing Louis a piece of paper, narrating the whole time:

Me: “so, here’s your bellwork.” (Louis pretends to write). “Time’s up. Turn in your work.”
Louis hands me back the paper. I march diligently back to my desk. “Oh, now let me GRADE this BELL WORK,” I proclaim, with serious exaggeration. I look at Luke, who is taking in this spectacle in front of him, with wide eyes.
Finally, he speaks.
Luke: “Well, she only takes a look at it on Thursdays.”
Now we’re both perplexed. “So you only do bell work on Thursday?” we both exclaim.
Luke: “no, we have bell work every day. She only looks at it on Thursdays. She grades all five questions on Thursday.”

You would have thought we had discovered the atom at that point. Aha! So, there’s a new question every day. You write it down and on Thursdays she checks to be sure you’ve done it.

I have, seriously, completed contract negotiations which weren’t THAT complicated! I used to have witty, serious conversations with this kid. I had to wonder for half a second if he was doing this on purpose. Maybe this is the part where he turns into a real teenager and things this parents are totally stupid? I may be a raving alcoholic by the time he graduates high school if this keeps up!

So, what’d you do with YOUR day?


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