Thursday, July 5, 2012

Zero Period: "You're So Annoying!" The Parent Conference and Aftermath

Diana had become too much. I had put in her in the back of the room, where Dan would laugh at her because she had gotten in trouble. She was still a torrent of trouble, notwithstanding.

I did not like her. I did not want to deal with her, anymore, either. I had just been informed, also, that I was not going to be the full-time teacher for the rest of the year. A win for me, to be sure, although at the time I was just going through the motions, and I did not care what happened to me, good or bad.

I agreed to meet with Diana's father one afternoon, but not only did he fail to show up, he did not even bother to call me. I could not believe that parents could be so arbitrary and irresponsible. So, I called again, this time telling him to meet me early in the morning, before the zero period class even started. The father agreed that time, but he told me that I would have to make it quick, since he worked two jobs, and the first job started early, 7: 00 am, and he could not be late.

At six in the morning, the next day, Diana and her father showed up. His English was weak, and my Spanish was passable enough that I could make some conversation with. I definitely refused to speak through the daughter, who by that point was crying and sputtering, putting on a show to keep herself from getting in trouble.

Quickly, I explained that she was going other classwork in my class, a big no-no for me. I also shared how she had told me to "Shut up!" She began protesting, refusing to speak to me, refusing to speak English. "No me respeta! No me respeta!" she kept shouting, crying, blubbering, then she ran out of the room. That little drama went on and off for five to ten minutes, with little avail beyond the father weakly begging, "You have to respect the teacher. . .you have to respect the teacher."

Clearly,  Diana was running Daddy at home and now she was walking all over him at school. He commanded no respect, so what chance did I have to hold him in place? Nothing. Nothing at all. I tried to talk to him alone, but by the time Diana stormed out in a tear-induced huff, the father told me plainly that he had no more time left. He had to go to work, and I had had enough, besides. He left, the rest of the students clamored in, and I told Diana to sit in Mr. P's class next door.

I refused to let Ms. "Cries-a-lot" back in class, and since I knew that I would not be coming back next week, anyway, I just let her go, without a care in the world.

I was so annoying, no question about it, in part because I refused to feel sorry for this girl. It was not my problem that her parents were so poor and had so poorly planned their overgrown baby daughter's upbringing that she did not feel that she had to listen to anyone. It has never been my problem that parents birth their kids but refuse to raise them, that they refuse to hold them accountable. She had so many problems, including  the chore of taking over for her younger siblings. What a tragic setup, some observers may comment. In my opinion, she had wrapped herself up in an entitlement mentality, one which afforded her the right to bite and devour others just because she was in a bad mood.

Zero period had so many merits, a plus in comparison to the minus classes that took up the rest of the day. She was a dark cloud, and a large one at that, but the other students proved enough of a rainbow to make everything worthwhile and bearable.

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