This week’s parent teachers’ meetings bring back two memories. Forgive me for going Granpa Power on you, but I have two stories:
First, when I was in Grade 6, my mother came home from parent teacher meetings one November night (It was shortly before American Thanksgiving), and she was discouraged.
“Miss Scarduzio told me you weren’t even IN her class, but when I showed her your report card, she said, ‘Oh, he must be a good boy because I don’t know who he is’.”
St. Cyril’s School was a large and somewhat impersonal institution with lots of rows and lots of memorizing. Somehow, we survived. Because the school was supported financially by the parish, tuition was free. I still like to remind my mom that the school was worth every penny.
Second, a friend told me that a few years ago, his wife (who does most of the heavy parent teacher lifting in his house) came home, and she, too, was discouraged. Her husband quickly grabbed the nearest book and pretended to read.
“Do you know that Biff (the name’s been changed to protect the guilty) has a pattern. If he LIKES the teacher, he works hard and does well, but if he doesn’t -– are you listening to me?”
“I was reading this part where Jughead is about to say something important to Archie…”
“Listen, your son, if he likes the teacher, it works. But if he doesn’t connect with the teacher, he seems to punish him by doing the bare minimum. Can you explain that to me, Mr. Boy Expert?”
A momentary spark of courage, all too fleeting, passed through my friend’s jellied backbone.
“I had a friend who was something like that” he replied. “It’s a shame really, isn’t it? That he is actually punishing himself.”
The look on her face told the befuddled spouse that Jughead wasn’t the only fool in the room.