Thursday, April 19, 2007

Teaching is a Gift. Gifting the Teacher.

I’m the room parent for Daughter's class. For those of you not intimately familiar with every detail of my life – and why the hell aren’t you – let me explain that she is in third grade. My son is in fourth grade. I’m not his room momparent, although I promised to ask to do it when he’s in fifth grade. [I explained, of course, that this was contingent on the fact that the perfect mother doesn’t go for the job and that he doesn’t get the teacher I don’t want him to have for previously explained reasons.]

Duties of said room momparent vary from room to room, but definitely include planning the parties, asking over and over again if you can help with anything, making sure class projects are handled, and collecting for teacher gifts. I collected for the room Christmasholiday gift for Daughter’s class. I’ll do it again for the end of the year gift.

Now, while I’m not Eldest’s room momparent, I do help out in the class, so I know the kids fairly well. Today, I was helping his class while they were in the computer lab. I got to deal with one particularly distasteful kid. Let's call him, um, Boy. There are 30 kids in the class, and this kid is probably 5th or 6th on the list of difficult kids. In other words, he’s not the absolute worst of the bunch – the ones whom you stoically prepare yourself for whenever they approach you – but my antenna twitches slightly when I have an interaction with him.

I wanted to beat the crap out of Boy today. I wanted to make a fist – making sure my thumb wouldn’t get broken – and punch his lights out. He was talking like a weepy toddler talks, pretending to not understand what I was asking, putting on a show for a fellow difficult list mate, and generally just being such a…s*$#. [For the record, I would not have this reaction to a weepy toddler. This boy is 10 years old.]

And it was during that encounter that I stumbled upon how parents should assess what they should pony up for the end of the year gift. This is my top-of-mind thinking. I’m more than happy to take suggestions on how to improve it.

Everyone should start by assuming that the bare minimum they give toward the gift is $10. That’s the bare minimum. We’ve always done a lot more than that, but I realize everyone’s budgets and lifestyles are different. Here’s how the amount changes:

1. Volunteering in the class bi-weekly = Subtract $5
2. Only volunteering in the class at parties = Add $5

3. Volunteering to chaperone for cool field trips = Add $5
4. Volunteering to chaperone for crappy field trips = Subtract $2

5. Never volunteering to help in class = Add $15

6. Never bothering to respond to repeated calls for help in class = Add $10

7. Well behaved child in class = No change
8. Mischievous child in class = Add $10
9. One of the five worst behaved children in class = Add $50

10. Child prepared for class at least 90% of the time = No change
11. Child prepared for class between 75% and 90% of the time = Add $10
12. Child prepared for class less than 75% of the time = Add $25

How do I fall out on this? For both Eldest's and Daughter’s, my contribution should be $3.

Boy? That kid who I wanted to punch out? I believe his parents owe $115.



J. A. Blackburn said...

hilarious. This should be printed in the school newsletter!

Shannon Miller said...

Thanks for linking me to this, it was fabulous!!! Loved your math!
I only teach college, because helping out at my daughters school as taught me that not all children are as delightful as she is!


I mentioned to Eldest the other night that I had a fairly wide open day Friday. Writer that he is, he wondered if I would perhaps like a wri...