Thursday, October 18, 2007

Tips From My Mom #4

I was quietly looking out from the window of the school bus in front of my junior high school while other students stumbled past me on the way to the back of the bus. From my seat I could see two of my favorite teachers conversing together under the metal structure hanging over the entrance to our school. I could not hear what they were saying but I was convinced that they were talking about how wonderful and smart I was. This made me love them very much. 

The fact that they would take time out of their busy schedules to confer about my academic promise really moved me. And it was so open, right there in front of everyone during dismissal. In order to not seem like I was eavesdropping I slid away from the window, content in the knowledge that my teachers thought the world of me. I honestly believed this.

That was until I got a little older and realized that Mr. Sericka and Ms. Azar probably had a plethora of topics in which to engage and the sweet little nerdy fella in the first row with his hand constantly in the air was not one of them. Oh, this hit me hard one day and I felt like such an idiot for being so naive and self involved. I have lived with the shame of this for years.

But then I became the teacher on the other side of the glass. And you know what? Teachers do discuss their students with one another. A lot! I discuss them not only with other teachers but also with my family, my friends and now courtesy of this blog, people I have never met. This realization lessens the embarrassment described in paragraph one.

Although my musings are mostly positive reflections and anecdotes involving the precious children entrusted to my care, there are those who are not so kind.

These people are in Florida.

I know this because my nephew Randy has established quite the reputation for being disruptive down in "The Sunshine State". I have never in my life heard more disgusting tales of mistreatment and petty grudges as I have had described to me regarding Randy and the Florida public school system. It seems that one teacher told two friends and they told two friends and so on and so on about this young boy who disrupts class because he is popular and too charming and we can't allow anyone to portray any promising qualities like individuality in the land of bubba.

I will concede that Randy may not be the angel I was (wink) but when a teacher says to a young teen "You are a waste of life and don't deserve the air that you breathe" they are crossing a line.

Recently Randy was voted homecoming king. This raised a huge stink and several teachers demanded a recount. When the votes were tallied a second time it was found that he actually came in second place. Good 'ol Florida continues their tradition of holding back the people's choice for president king.

At the homecoming celebration one of the teachers who has given Randy a hard time in the past told him that he is a good kid and shouldn't let some of these teachers get him down. Well, that was something at least.

I have talked to Randy about his endless troubles with school, which I would LOVE to elaborate on here but will spare you the details. He will graduate in about 7 months so hopefully he can bite his lip until then and keep his eye on his goals. Although the 'educators' there appear to relish the thought of his failing. What makes someone so hateful? That is something that I do not understand.

Here is where my mom and her tips come in to play. This one actually originated with my father and was then relayed to me over the phone. But since I don't have a 'Tips From My Dad' feature I'll credit it to my mom.
"Sometimes you gotta yes 'em to death and then do what you want."
Not really original perhaps but in some situations it works best. I realize that it is hard for my darling godson to remain silent when he feels he is being unjustifiably wronged but under these circumstances his protestations will only add fuel to the fire. And perhaps other teachers will follow the lead of the one from the homecoming who offered words of encouragement.

I would love for Randy to have one moment before his school years end when he can look out of the window from his seat on the school bus and think that his teachers are praising him. How cool would that be?

Goofing around with Randy this past August

15 comments:

Ladron de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

Oy, Florida is a pretty wacky state, isn't it? But I hear some pretty disturbing stories of the schools in California. I have a friend here in San Francisco, a city with ga-zillions of dollars it could be investing on education, who noticed that all the pull down maps in a classroom had a 1959 copyright date on them. It's not as much about resources as the collective political will.

Pod said...

well we all talk about how wonderful and smart (and dashing) you are when we think you're not looking

Joy said...

You really WERE a nerd, huh? ;)

I can't believe they did a recount on the effing homecoming king - these are educators? When an adult has that much jealousy and animosity towards a child there is a BIG problem. Good lord, time for them to get a life, no? Very, very disturbing.

But Mom (via Dad) is right - just yes 'em to death and smile.

Arielle said...

Seriously--what DOES posess some people to be that hateful? I know it might seem strange to say this, but I think--on some level--it's a jealousy thing. When people don't want the best for someone else, the reason is often petty jealousy. I know it's hard to imagine adults feeling this way toward a child, but I've seen it before. It could be something as simple as a teacher wishing his/her son or daughter was as popular or as charming. They take it out on the child who makes them feel inferior in some way. Or even in some instances, a teacher could actually be remembering how it was for them in high school--and if it was less than great--they feel a sort of resentment towards a kid like Randy. Same reason mothers sometimes are jealous of their daughters (or fathers of their sons)--they wish they could have been like that(or have what their kids have)when they were younger. I'm appalled that these teachers treat Randy like this. Some have obviously never learned how to be nurtured and/or feel like they were "enough" themselves. Hopefully the rest of the school year will go better for Randy!

Arielle

WAT said...

Some teachers should just not be teaching. They're nothing but bitter babysitters instead of true instructors.

And ya know what? You're hot. Even out of a tux.

kimy said...

I've said it before and I'll say it again I love your mom's tips! (even if they may have come first from you dad)

best of luck to randy - tell him not to let the turkeys get him down!

Gary said...

Ladron de Basura (JT) - This makes me wonder what the schools in Texas must be like. EEK! These are three states with great influence over the rest of the country in terms of testing and curriculum. Lord help us!

Pod - But, I am always looking.

Joy - I am glad to see you stressed WERE because in reality I am not so far removed from that lovable nerd.

Arielle - You (and Joy) have a good point. They may be jealous but how crazy is that? I find it much better to get close to the people I admire rather than alienate them or put them down. Who knows what motivates this type of person. It is probably a safe bet to assume that they are leading an unfulfilled and unhappy life. Thanks for supporting Randy!

Wat - AMEN brother. My thoughts exactly! (Oh, that is on the teacher/babysitter connection and not that I am hot. However, I appreciate your comment there as well. I have never been praised much for my looks, mostly my charm and energy have been my calling cards.)

Kim - I will pass this along. The more encouragement he gets the better.

J. David Zacko-Smith said...

As usual, a wonderful post -- and I totally agree, sometimes you DO have to "yes them to death and then do what you want, anyway" (did I get that right)?

Pod said...

then tis time to look within young man....

lettuce said...

hahaha, laughing at pods comment

(tho of course, tis true you know)

what an appalling thing for anyone to say to a young person (well, to anyone) - but esp. a teacher. LG used to have a teacher who played petty mind games with the children. Sometimes it takes quite a bit of teeth-gritting to do the "Yes" thing.

all the best of everything to Randy. He looks quite like you.

Mikey T said...

so i updated MY profile as per your instructions ...

Reya Mellicker said...

Pod is correct, you know. We really do rave about the many marvels of Gary. Really!

What a great post. High school was toxic for me, too, in at least 1,000,000 ways. As it turned out, it made college one of the best experiences of my life, and provided much grist for the therapeutic mill later on when I got myself onto the couch for 10 years.

Randy will be fine, in part because he has you. He is very lucky!

Reya Mellicker said...

I was never good at the YES thing. I can be charming, but I just can't YES them. Guess that's one major reason high school was pure shite for me.

Steve said...

Brilliant advice from your Mom. My Dad used to say much the same thing. And it usually works!

But as a product of public schools in the Land of Bubba, I can vouch that there are good teachers in Florida, too. :)

la bellina mammina said...

Great advice from your mom, and Pod is right - you ARE wonderful and smart and dashing! :-)

Sorry to hear about how Randy was treated - I had a teacher like that in school, I wasn't her favorite, you see, I was the 'bad' one as I was always asking her why, when she gave answers I couldn't really understand, and she would scold me for disrupting her class.. And she gave me such a hard time, saying I would flunk. But I shut her up in the end when the exam results were out and I was the first in class.

hmm, success is the sweetest revenge :-) So Randy, chin up and be strong, don't let it get you down!

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