Friday, September 10, 2010


With the beginning of each school year comes new clothes, new colored pencils, new friends, and new things we've never heard before.

And, by "we", I mean "parents".

This year has not disappointed. Five of our six kids are enrolled in school, and four of those five had meetings that parents were required to attend (a big "THANK YOU!" goes out to my son's high school who doesn't seem to care about seeing any parents unless their kids are in trouble). My husband and I divvied up the meetings as fairly as possible (Me: 3.5 meetings, Him: 1 meeting. Fair, like I said.) and tried our best to hunker down and hide behind the teacher's handouts. Our goal is to "get in/get out" and, yes, we are the people who hate you if you ask ANY question because it prolongs the meeting unnecessarily. *Side note: Lest you think we are old cranks, we have been attending these meetings unfailingly since 1997, and it just gets OLD after the first 7 or 8 years.*

And, because you know how I love to make lists, I am going to give you some of the interesting (read as "un-freaking-believable") things my husband and I heard at some of these meetings:
  1. The teacher in my 2nd grader's class made the decision to eliminate the privilege of trading/sharing lunches in the class, because one of the children has a severe chromosomal disorder which makes consuming most carbohydrates essentially lethal for this child, as well as causing him to have zero impulse control when it comes to resisting carbs. This child's father gave a lengthy description of this child's disorder, the history of his care, and of his very uncertain future, then left to attend another of his children's meetings. Immediately after his exit, another father in the class proceeded to complain that it was "unfair" and "un-Montessori" of the teacher to change the rules on trading, and it was infringing on his son's right to, apparently, do whatever the heck he wants to do regardless of the well-being of others. Yeah. Only one word comes to mind when I think of this guy, and I can't say it here. Jackhole. Whoops, sorry.
  2. The same teacher told us that the best way to reach her was to send in a note with your child or leave her a voice mail message at school. Another jackhole father asked her, "You don't use email?" Teacher says, "No. I don't give out my email address for various personal reasons." Jackhole Daddy asks, "And, what are those reasons?". Uh-huh. So, Mr. Nosy, didja hear the word "personal"? And, what I'd like to know, even more, is this: were you planning on trying to convince the teacher that her personal reasons were wrong? In the middle of the class meeting?
  3. At the class meeting for my 3-year-old's Primary class (ages 3 to 6), one set of Type-A parents wanted to know what allowances the The Montessori Method has made for technology. Yes, because what I want the most in the whole wide world is for my 3-year-old to go to school and spend even more time staring at electronic screens. Mr. and Mrs. Our-Child-Will-Never-Be-Able-To-Add-Without-A-Calculator, listen up: I'm sure in your 6 whole years as excellent managers of your child's life parents, you have realized that children log in a huge amount of hours in front of TVs, computers, and video games; in fact, too many hours.  I, for one, do not want my tuition to be converted into quarters to be used at a classroom arcade. But, I'm sure your son will have a very happy future at the Ho-Chunk Casino slot machines.
  4. And, to the mother who loves to be her 4-year-old daughter's slave, I just want to say that I really do not care one whit that your child is afraid of the toilet flushing. And, no, I don't think she should have a "designated flusher" every time she "makes tinkle" (grrrrr. Grow up! We are all adults here! It's called "pee-pee"!). I'm sure the teacher with 25 years teaching experience is going to immediately try to hire a person to accommodate your daughter's neuroses. Also, I know you think she should be able to bring and use her own disposable toilet seat covers, because "she can't stand to sit on an icky-wicky potty", but I think using regular old toilet paper to cover the seat is good enough for every other of the 172 students, so it's good enough for The Poopy Princess. Sorry, was I being too mean? Well, I'm probably having a crash from low blood-sugar because this meeting was scheduled at my dinnertime and it's now 90 minutes past that!
  5. On to the mother of the 2nd-grader who wanted to know what the "theme" for the year would be... OK, I got nothing. I'm truly flabbergasted. A theme? Really? A? Theme? How about the theme of EDUCATION??? Lady, this is your daughter's third year at this particular Montessori school, her second year with this particular teacher. At what point did you think you had enrolled her at The Wiggles Playschool? 
I already know what some of you are thinking. I'm being too cranky, harsh, touchy, whatever..... Obviously, you are neither a parent who has attended a class meeting nor a teacher who has led one. Or, worse, you are one of those parents.

The good news is that most people seem to come to their senses by the time their child reaches 4th grade. Those meetings tend to move quickly and genially. And, next year, I'm bringing margaritas!


  1. Oh, sweetie. This is exactly why I skip these meetings. And out here middle school is no better except we get to go to each and every classroom and ry to find our ways like idiots. Not my favorite.

    Here's another over achiever parent. Last spring when we were at the high school info meeting, the staff mentioned that kids can take classes at the local community college and get dual credit. One parent of an incoming freshman was asking about the to make that happen that summer. Between 8th and 9th grades. God forbid the kid rides his bike or goes to the pool or acts like he's 14.

    Your post made me laugh. A lot. Out loud. And I will totally stop skipping these meetings if there are margaritas.

  2. Thanks, Noelle!
    I seriously wonder if these parents ever really look at their kids or have a moment of self-reflection. I truly feel sorry for their children.
    And, as soon as I can get the margaritas in there, you had BETTER be there! ;-)

  3. As the daughter of a teacher, the wife of a teacher and a school adminstrator...I say AMEN Mark Kate. Those parents are enough to drive you out education. It's rarely the kids who are the issues !

  4. @Murchada: I cannot thank you and your family enough for the valuable and selfless work that you do! Oh, and glad you enjoyed the post!

  5. It is hard to believe that parents (and people in general) can be so, uh, odd. God gives us the grace when we Need it and I Bet most of his grace goes to the teachers of the world..

  6. I tried to make a comment at the Huffington for rants. To comment you had to creat an account and could do so through Facebook, so it pulls your account info, well, after it got my profile it said I as BANNED from making any comments!! I was like "wha??", so I emailed rants and told them about it. Guess I'm not liberal enough for them. Oh well, I tried!
    aka: Mamajulep

  7. I LOVE that you are named after The Quiet Man's wife!! Awesome!

  8. All I can say is AMEN to this post!!!