Saturday, October 29, 2011

558. Teacher's Pet

Teachers always loved me. I was the annoying student who sat in the front row, raised my hand a lot, paid attention, and took detailed single-spaced notes, even when it was an assembly or guest speaker (“MOV, this speaker is just for fun! You don’t have to take notes on Magic Mania,” another student might say helpfully as I scribbled furiously in my green notebook. I knew that my so-called friend would be woefully underprepared for the next pop-quiz.). So it should come as no surprise that my son Tall has inherited my academic prowess and ability to impress his teachers:  Tall is teacher’s pet.

Tall is the smartest kid in his class. And the funniest. And the most creative. And the most athletic. And the nicest. And the fastest runner. And the best singer. And the most helpfulest. And the friendliest.

I am totally not biased at all, these are all things I witnessed for myself.

I sat in on his class for the first time yesterday. It was clear from the get-go that the teacher had spent a lot of time getting to know my son. She greeted me warmly and said, “Big is really excited to have you here today!” to which I responded, “His name is Tall.”

Later, I noticed that she kept looking at my son, or possibly she was looking at the wall-clock located just beyond his desk. She asked Tall to help her out with important tasks, like picking up the garbage can that he had inadvertently knocked over when he kept kicking it (“Big! Geesh! Your grandmother is here today! Show some respect and stop knocking things over. You need to pick up all that trash. Right. Now.”). I loved the way she singled him out as a positive example (some might say “role model” for the class). She called on him repeatedly, whether he raised his hand or not (“Big, stop doodling little stick people and pay attention,” and “You just got a yellow card, do you want to continue this behavior and have a red card?” and “Big, what did I say about paper airplanes? No more, I mean it.”).

When it was time for the class to form smaller groups for a math game, she made sure that Tall was on a good team (“Big, come over to my desk and work with me. Well, that’s what you get for taking the caps off of all of Sarah’s markers.”). When it was time to go to lunch, she asked him to stay behind, presumably to compliment him on his stellar performance during science (“You have lost recess again. Brian did not appreciate you dumping water on his head to simulate a tsunami.”).

I approached the teacher to let her know that I had an urgent appointment (at Starbucks, and then later at Macy’s super-sale) so I would not be able to stay the rest of the day. I thanked her for letting me sit in on the class and help, to which she replied, “I am so glad you were able to come today! Now I understand your son so much better, because of meeting you.”

I asked her when would be a good time for me to return to volunteer and that I was free the following Thursday.

She responded, “Wow, Dr. MOV, that is so nice of you, but the principal is, uh … he’s decided that having parents in the classroom is too distracting. So the volunteer program is going away.”

“What? I just talked to Tessa’s mom, and she is volunteering next week?”

“Yeah, well, she was already on the schedule.”

“Vladimir’s dad said he comes in every Friday?”

“He is a concert pianist, so he has a valuable skill set to share with them.”

“Lacey’s mom told me that she—”

She cut me off, “Can I be honest with you, Dr. MOV?”

I nodded.

“Your son, he is just so, so, so … well, you know. And I think he would benefit from a break from you. He has your, uh, influence all the other hours of the day at home.”

It was too painful for her to say what was really on her mind: Tall is teacher’s pet.



  1. You cracked me right up with this one! Why couldn't she just give you your mother of the year award and tell you that you were setting the bar too high for lesser skilled volunteers.

  2. My school shouldn't let me volunteer anymore. I missed the hay ride on apple picking day, Konked a girl on the head with my elbow, I couldn't get my group to hurry up on the scavenger hunt and upon return one boy had peed his pants..... (I hadn't noticed.) Yup I'm a great help! I believe the children sense my fear, like dogs do

  3. Oh snap! Well, at least you are willing, if not wanted.

  4. Dee from Tennessee (where the hills are alive with stunningly beautiful, breaktaking color!!!)

    A gazillion yrs ago when I took "my kids" to the zoo, I noticed one of the mom volunteers only had 2 kids - and I KNEW I "given" her 3 kids to supervise. When asked about said missing kid, she causually replied, "Oh, the last time I saw him was at the snake exhibit...a looooooong way from where we located." Heart attack city for me at age 24.Thank the Lord , I found child - safe n sound -- and he stayed with ME and the other 9 I had with me. I can say that one of my life's greatest accomplishment is taking 34 (yes, 34!!!!!! waaaaaay back before the max of 20 now allowed- thank you very much Tn Dept of Ed)
    second graders to the zoo and returning with 34 second

  5. andrea, lily, taki-- you puff up my ego. I love you guys.

    L-- you are hilarious.

    couse-- see? that's what I say too.

    Dee-- the Zoo is a sore spot with me. I took my two boys there, and we did get separated from then-5-yr-old Tall (I prefer the friendlier sounding word "separated" to the dismal and heart-attack-inducing "LOST"). It was the worst 5 minutes of my life. I stood there screaming for him at the top of my lungs (I did not want to move, because that is the last place he saw me if he came back). Luckily, a helpful Zoo employee approached me and helped me find him (about 100 feet away, clinging to a railing and crying). I had nightmares about that moment for months. (*shudder*) My hat is off to you for taking 34 kids.



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