This is never fun. Because it's pretty damn hot in the building. School ends at 3:00, and the district, to save money, turns off the air conditioning at 3:15. In the middle of freakin' Summer. So by 5:00 the classrooms are sweltering.
The teachers aren't too fond of this either, because they have to stay late in the hot room, and deal with that most dreaded creature of all, the crazed parent. I show up with nothing but my clothes and cell phone (which I silence) and most parents do the same.
But there are a terrifying minority who show up with detailed print-outs of their kids capabilities, restrictions, non-allergic and non-religious dietary requirements ("Suzy likes PBJ and chips, so I pack those. Make sure she eats 1/2 sandwich, THEN the chips, then the other sandwich half. Any other order is bad for brain growth. I read that in a magazine once"- Yes folks, I really did hear a parent say that last year).
So we file in. The room is hot. Many parents are pouring sweat, having just come from work in bulky business clothes. Then we have to find OUR kid's desk, and cram our big fat overweight adult butts into seats designed for a 9 year old.
So now, in addition to being hot, we were all miserably uncomfortable and complaining about back pain. Seeing an opportunity, I handed out some business cards.
As if it wasn't hot enough already, the door opened and Craig's teacher, Miss Reba walked in. And the room went from hot, to hot and steamy.
She was sizzling. Suddenly all the Dads who'd been bitching about having to go to this were quiet. Now they were pissed off their kid didn't have a desk closer to the front of the room.
Miss Reba, as seen by the male parents.
And then the fun began.
Miss Reba had organized a detailed Powerpoint presentation, which was shown on some sort of interactive board at the front of the room (I guess blackboards and chalk have finally gone the way of the dinosaur). To advance slides, she had to tap on the board. Unfortunately, the board didn't grasp this concept very well, and so her taps had a 25% chance of advancing to the next slide, 25% chance of going to the previous slide, and a 50% chance of doing nothing. When the last happened, she'd pound on it repeatedly, getting louder each time, until we were afraid the board would crack or fall down.
Come to think of it, I think many of us were hoping it would fall, and knock her out. Some would get to leave early, and the rest would fight over who got to resuscitate her. As a doctor sitting in the front row, I figured I had a good shot.
She was a fast talker, but had only 1 hour to cover the entire school year. As a result, she leaped from topic to topic, ending each slide's summary by saying "And I update my website daily, so you can see what the kids are doing. Please check it regularly."
As usual, parents asked some remarkably stupid questions:
"You said the kids wouldn't have homework over the weekends. What about Fridays? Will you be sending stuff home for them to do on Friday nights?"
"If I send lunch with my kids, can you tell them what the nutritional value is? I think it's important that they know these things."
"Do you watch iCarly?"
"Do we need to check your website? Or can I just make my kid do it?"
And my personal favorite:
Miss Reba: "In music next month, the kids will learn about strings. Check my website for the dates."
Zealousfreak parent: "You mean string theory? Like in advanced physics?"
Miss Reba: "No. I said it's a music class. As in string instruments. Like a violin."
At this point, Miss Reba uttered the most dreaded words in the history of parent-teacher relationships: ""Now, I'll need some parents to volunteer..." Suddenly all of the hormonally charged fathers were checking their cell phones. Mothers suddenly had urgent texts to send. Nobody, not even the single fathers, made eye contact with Miss Reba as she ran down the list of class party organizers, reading assistants, paper copiers, and other volunteers that were needed. Usually there's some hyperactive-mother-on-speed who immediately leaps out of her chair and signs up for all of this, but she wasn't here tonight. I began picking at my face and loudly mentioned that my Leprosy treatments kept me from working with kids.
After getting home, Mrs. Grumpy and I compared notes, and now she wants to kill me.
She'd filled up a notebook listing times, dates, subjects, schedules, and phone numbers from Marie's teacher.
I had a piece of scrap paper I'd pulled out of Craig's desk on which I'd written "Check website regularly."