Back to School: Teachers Get Real

That's a watermark there, but I like to think of it as a black hole.

Back to the black hole of doom, guys!

Yeah, it’s back to school time, a time that is really only beneficial to retailers.  Working parents hate it because they have no time.  Stay-at-home parents hate it because they have a few minutes, between diaper changes, so hey go volunteer!  Kids hate it – well because it’s school.  I don’t care how cute the bulletin boards are, it’s gonna suck.

And, naturally, teachers hate it.  They are the ones stuck with our children all day.  So teachers have to give kids a hard time at the beginning so that they will know who is boss.  Unfortunately, the scary warnings only work on the kids who would be good anyway.  The troublemakers are just going to laugh, laugh, laugh and snort some cocaine off the page.

Keep your hands and weapons to yourselves, kiddos.

Keep your hands and weapons to yourselves, kiddos.

I kid, because my children go to suburban schools and everyone knows these students aren’t going to use plain old copy paper with their drugs, nor are they actively going to use them in front of the teacher.  So since suburban teachers don’t have the truly horrible problems that teachers at some inner-city schools face (lesson one: stay alive through 7th period), they have to make them up.

Here’s an example.  When Thing Two was in kindergarten, her teacher gave her detentions every day.  It’s not that my little darling didn’t deserve many of them. I do understand that the angrily scribbled note “Child was in boy’s restroom screaming down the hall” is kind of hard to debate.  But forgetting her lunch back in the classroom?  Yes, she got one for that.  At five.  Two years out of diapers.  Heck, I once forgot to pack her a lunch. Oh, I gave her the lunch sack, just no lunch.  I can still imagine the child opening that empty sack to this day.  Luckily I only received “Mom of Shame” for that one.

The thing with giving a detentions for a kid misbehaving is that it backfires. You were jumping around the classroom; now you miss recess!  The – one time when the kid CAN jump?  When you want them to jump until they collapse barely breathing and then you can actually tell them stuff?  The detention defeats that.  And giving detentions for something that isn’t even misbehavior is just as bad.  You end up with so many, it is no longer really a punishment.  Thing Two handed them to me like flyers.

Detention? Now I'll never get a job.

Detention? Now I’ll never get a job.

I remember back in the day – the day before Internet kids – when teachers just saved those things for when kids really did something bad, like say punching another kid, or the teacher.  Definitely deserved then.  But the other stuff is just silly.  And it doesn’t stop in kindergarten.  Thing One brought home a paper for me to sign for her art class yesterday.  It said “Any mechanical pencils left on the desk will result in a detention.  No mechanical pencils!!!”  Wow.  I get that you use “special” (ie expensive) pencils for art, but what the heck did a mechanical pencil do to her?  That seems a wee bit extreme.  Either she hasn’t been at that school long, or she’s been there WAY too long.

A lot of the teachers seemed pretty harried, judging by the number of times they used ALL CAPS in their warning, er, welcome letters.  I get that teaching is an incredibly hard job.  Both my parents did it, and they got out of it into the library and counseling, respectively, which are also awful, but not quite as bad.  I was an education major, and just ran altogether my senior year.  But I wonder what they give detentions for in those really tough schools they feature in movies like “Dangerous minds.”

  1. No semi-automatic weapons on the desk.  Please keep in backpacks.
  2. Do not leave heroin needles lying around.  Clean up after yourselves.
  3. If you wish to start creating the next generation, please do so in the privacy of your own locker.
  4. Please reserve making plans to rob the 7-11 for study hall.
  5. Tattoos are for art class.
  6. Please save gang warfare for Physical Education class.
  7. No shanking in the classroom, unless it’s science class and it’s a frog.
  8. No spitting, shooting, stabbing, stapling, severing, or stomping your teacher
  9. Save cell phones calls to pimps for after class
  10. Absolutely no mechanical pencils.

I think that about does it.  How is the school year going for you guys?

~ Alice







27 responses

  1. my mother got such notes too… the teacher somehow didn’t like me. one of them was: “talked!!” yes, I can talk, I’m a human. fortunately I had very liberal parents who laughed at the most letters&notes from school :o) Wishing thing 1&2 a very good school year and super nice class mates :o)

    1. Lol. “Talked!” is so specific there. I guess after a while the teachers are ready to write “Breathed!” I probably would. Thanks – I hope they do well too. It will certainly make things easier for me – I mean it’s best for them.

  2. My kids are all grown up so I don’t have to worry about any of that anymore. I do think some of those detentions your child received were a bit much. It’s good to know about the mechanical pencils!

    1. I know! And here I thought it was the compass that was deadly. Weirdly no one asks for compasses anymore.

  3. Mechanical pencils equal detention? That is idiotic. As for inner city schools, they actually just have students arrested instead of doling out detention. Even for stupid stuff like bringing a knife to school to cut a cake for the teachers in the teacher’s lounge. Remember that one, our classmate got a 3 day suspension? Nowadays they would expel her and have her arrested. Zero Tolerance! Zero brains needed to implement the policy!

    1. Wouldn’t they have to arrest some kids everyday? I think the inner city schools should just have Michelle Pheiffer come by. White middle-class women seem to always reform those schools.

      I do not remember the knife, but it doesn’t surprise me. Well, the police in small towns need stuff to do too! Like the kid who brought the alarm clock. Totally uncalled for!

      1. It’s called the “school to prison pipeline” for a reason.

        The knife incident was Janalyn, your junior year.

        A certain niece of mine in our dear small town only got a warning for putting bomb threats in lockers (including her own) as a joke. Police were called to give the warning, but that’s all that happened. It’s a good thing it happened in your town and not where she lives now, because they called my mom instead of pressing charges. Sometimes small towns and the way everybody knows everybody are a good thing.

        But really, does the art teacher have to supervise the detention? Because I bet she’d be less free with it if she did.

        Police in your small town occupy their time by following Potentially Suspicious Individuals who have the audacity to go for a walk after 10 PM dressed in black. They followed my husband and brother in law on several occasions.

        Also, pulling over people driving cool cars to get a look at the car is a good way to occupy time. Remember that time we went for a spin in my dad’s street rod?

  4. I’m so glad B is in college now. LOL

    1. I can hardly wait. Except then I have to pay . . . still worth it.

  5. So glad I don’t have kids.

    1. If I had only known about the mechanical pencils, I’d have thought out birth control better, I tell you.

      1. Lol..good luck this year and ps. Shank is a great word!

  6. It is rather ridiculous. Not forgetting that the shops have the “back to school” uniforms and stationary out about a fortnight before they actually break up for the summer holidays. As soon as the little darlings are back in school, we’ll get bombarded with Halloween, and as soon as that’s done, here in the UK, it’ll be Christmas all the way until the 26th December, when the Easter Eggs will make an appearance.

    I think we really need to create that colony on the moon.

    1. I know! The “Back to School” stuff is out insanely early, then you totally forget about it and nearly miss registration and that’s so early you almost forget the first day of school. Well, I did anyway.

      I think everyone wants that colony on the moon. Set to launch in November, just in case.

      1. We’ll send the Trump supporters there and restore sanity to planet earth.

    2. There are six seasons in American retail…. Valentines Day, Easter, Summer, Back To School, Halloween and Chrtistmas. At least one MUST be active at any time…. there can never be a void in the seasonal department just because the calendar says its too early.

      1. I think it’s the same here too.

      2. You forgot New Year’s. That’s when they bust out the indoor fitness equipment and diet stuff and push it to help you with your New Year’s Resolutions. It starts the day after Christmas, so it’s short because by Jan 1 the valentine’s candy is out.

        1. That’s a mini season (like Tax Time, which also overlaps VD and stretches into Easter)… and the extra fitness stuff usually stays out through January and even February…. mainly because most people know better than to buy any of it in the first place. The Big Six are front and center stuff you’re gonna walk right into as soon as you come in the front door for at least a month or longer at some point during the year… the seasons stores really make their money from.

          One interesting thing about the four candy seasons is that if we run out of one before the holiday itself hits (Which happens about once a year), we just put out the next season’s candy early. VD candy for Xmas…. you bet! It’s happened before…

  7. See, back in the day we didn’t get detentions for stupid shit like that…. we got our asses paddled for stupid shit like that. Boom, boom…. all done. Now you can go out and enjoy recess like a Ritalin deprived kid. Luckily, my parents couldn’t afford mechanical pencils, so I didn’t meet up with the board of education as often as my peers did…

    1. I remember the paddle! I had a Math teacher who had kids sign it. It was sort of like the “Red Badge of Courage” for a lot of boys in our class. I used mechanical pencils AND erasable pens, which I’m not sure they make anymore? I haven’t seen them. My teachers hated the pens because they were kind of messy. What-ever.

  8. Mechanical pencils? What’s wrong with mechanical pencils? We’re talking about regular mechanical pencils, not the high capacity ones that mark the entire school with neatly filled ovals, aren’t we?

    1. I don’t think they allow the mechanical pencils on The Test because they are not the magical “number two” pencils. I’m not sure what happened to the “number one” pencil. I would love a pencil that could actually fill in the ovals right. Kids actually get counted off for not filling in those ovals completely, cause God knows you never know when you’re gonna have to have an oval totally filled in with number 2 pencil in real life.

  9. I hear it’s completely different in “upper class” schools. Instead of getting arrested and put on death row for leaving pencils lying about, you actually get extra marks for building a functioning 100 kTonne fusion bomb for your science project.

    There’s no justice.

    1. Totally. Also, I’m curious as to how many kids are shooting up heroin while the teacher meticulously goes after the mechanical pencils. In her class a lot, I bet.

  10. Detention for all that?! Good lord. I’m not entirely sure what punishments will be for LM this year, since the letter home says they believe in positive enforcement and the teacher says she doesn’t take away recess for misbehavior (which is what any sane teacher who will have the same kid after recess should believe).

    And #3 on your list, LOL!

    1. A teacher who doesn’t take away recess? You got a sane one? Not that it’s the teachers’ faults entirely – they get to follow the administrators, better known as people who couldn’t hack it in the classroom. But some really seem to like the power trip. I have a phobia of mechanical pencils and I will use my power for GOOD to banish them allll!

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