I gotta give kudos to my VP. Earlier this week, I walked in to the front office – by the reception desk, no less – and heard a parent SCREAMING at the top of her lungs.
Dropping F-Bombs like a belligerent sailor.
All while wearing a baby on her back.
I swear, it’s all true.
Let’s start with the baby. It was in a carrying sling, a baby bjorn of some sort. Yet even though the kid was about 8 months old, I’d guess, it was being shuttled around our campus like a biology textbook.
(Note: I didn’t see milk, diapers, a hat for the sun, or wipes. But I don’t want to jump to conclusions. Perhaps there was a diaper bag filled with junk in her car. I’ll cut her some slack for a moment.)
Now Mom was obviously livid. And why? Because her daughter was being suspended from school. Why? Because her daughter popped off to a teacher in the middle of class. Literally EXPLODED on her teacher, dropping F-Bombs like, well… dropping ’em like a belligerent sailor.
Hmmm, I wonder where she ever learned this type of behavior?
Our VP though, was a real pro. She tried to speak calmly. As the mom escalated, she de-escalated. She courteously asked the mom to lower her voice, watch her language and mind the fact that there were 25 other people around including a bunch of students.
“F-Bomb that!” was the reply.
At that point the VP explained that she was going to have to call campus security because discussing complaints in this fashion was not appropriate nor in accord with school policy. (And she did it without the sarcastic bite I probably would have applied.) The fact is, this mom was reckless and almost seemed on the border of violence.
And that’s with an 8 month old on her back! The 16 year old daughter, of course, just stood there next to her mother as if she were the real victim – and her mom was entirely right.
See, the thing is, my school gets run through the mud of the media in terrible ways and if you were to simply read the headlines or view our standardized test scores, you’d think all of us on campus were a bunch of unprofessional oafs who couldn’t teach a fish to swim.
Yet, do the bubble tests measure any of the extenuating circumstances which play a definite role in academic performance? Do the tests that ETS produces take into account a mom with a mouth full of F-Bombs?
Clearly, in my opinion, this lady was on the border of needing social services to intervene. Based on what I saw, I think there’s at least a reason to investigate whether or not this person is actually fit to be the guardian of her children.
Yet my school, we take all comers. If you were to look at this kids IEP I have a feeling you’d find a troubled history in school from way back when. A high school that wanted to elevate its test scores would try and re-route kids like this to “other” institutions. (Trust me, it happens.) But we don’t pull that nonsense. We try to provide all comers with an education. Of course we could do a better job of it – but who couldn’t? Yet, it’s the end of the year and some of our seniors are making plans to go to some pretty heavy-duty 4 year colleges… so at least there’s a path within our school for those who are determined to find it to actually take something from the time they spend in our halls.
Clearly, though, we’re not miracle workers. And even more clear is the idea that there are about a zillion factors that go into “making a student”.
And one day, when that 8 month old turns into a 16 year old, well… we can only pray, right?
These are the kids of our city. And this is what we, the teachers are facing, in trying to educate them. Nope, we don’t bat 1.000. Not even close.