Humor is also a way of saying something serious. - T. S. Eliot

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Mother-of-the-Year: The Call from Ella's Teacher that Explains Everything

I have not been fond of Ella's kindergarten teacher.  Initially I thought she was going to be great, but then after a few interactions with her, I thought she had an attitude and a stick up her wahoo.  I was so bothered by her as well as some other things that have gone on -- as far as really, really poor communication and record keeping by our local school that has been a HUGE frustration and inconvenience for me -- that I stood in the shower two nights ago ruminating about what the hell I was going to do. 

There's no way in hell I want to home school the kids.  That would be a disaster.  They'd never learn to do math, we'd skip history altogether, and PE would consist of us all going and shaking and gyrating at a zumba class. 

While I'd love to follow a friend -- who was tremendously unhappy about the local schools/community --  to St. Paul to enroll the girls in a creative arts charter school, there's no way in hell I want to live in an old home.  I'm paranoid about lead paint and other things that lurk in the musty basements of homes built before...2000. 

So that left me with no options.  I went to bed and woke up the next morning to a phone call from Ella's teacher accusing me of confusing her.  There was a bitchy edge in her voice and it caught me off guard.  I wasn't awake yet.  She said she was sitting with Sophia's teacher setting up conference times.  I knew I had sent the paperwork to Sophia's teacher, but Ella's teacher never sent anything about conferences.  How is this witch accusing me of confusing her by --apparently -- asking for conflicting conference times for the twins? 

I wasn't awake enough to purposely irritate her -- I don't have the capability to get passive-aggressive until about 9:30 AM -- but by telling her I had no idea what she was talking about, it only escalated her. 

"Didn't you get my email?  You are to come to a conference with me at noon, but you are asking Sophia's teacher for an evening appt and you want the twins conferences together.  So what do you want?" she asked me. I could nearly see her stomp her foot with a hand on one hip.

Well damn.  No.  I hadn't gotten her email. But then again, I only check it about one time per week these days since I HATE spending my precious time online dinking around achieving NOTHING.  I'd rather work, see my kids, cook, exercise, write a blog on a break at work and, oh, HAVE A FRICKIN' LIFE!

I began to get worried I had dropped a ball.  I could tell she didn't believe me when I told her I didn't get her email.  "Don't you get any of my emails?"

No.  But there again....I don't check it all that much because I  HATE spending my precious time online dinking around achieving NOTHING. I'd rather work, see my kids, cook, exercise, write a blog on a break at work and, oh, HAVE A FRICKIN' LIFE!

"This is very strange," she said doubtfully and continued on, "I send all  my communications to parents via email and you are on the list and every other parent gets them.  I haven't heard of anyone not getting it.  The emails I send you aren't coming back to me."

I was silent.  What was I to say?    Ella's teacher kept going, and read off the email address to me and I told her that was correct.  But suddenly she starts groaning as she realizes she has one wrong letter in the address...someone else has been getting the emails.

She groans louder and louder and then claims she feels sick to her stomach.  I'm starting to feel like I'm at work and have to start de-escalting her before she gets too worked up, "It's not a big deal," I say, "you figured it out and now we just go forward."

She is still muttering oh nos but her voice softens and has lost the bitchy edge, "This explains everything -- why Ella never has things done or is the only child in the classroom not to bring xyz.  I thought you all were just busy so you didn't help her, so I'd always tell Ella, 'it's ok, maybe mommy is just busy." (I am, actually, but we get the bare minimum done for school.)

She finished with an apology and a promise to tell Ella she had made a mistake that had caused Ella to miss out on a lot. 

I agreed with Ella's teacher...this did explain everything -- why she was so cold and bitchy towards me.  And for a moment I felt ok with this teacher again, but then, I got pissed when the clinical social worker rose up in me.  Pissed because what if I was busy? Overwhelmed? A single mom perhaps?  Or otherwise had stressors occurring that didn't allow me to be involved as needed.  That's not ok to treat someone like that.  And I get she's a teacher and values education and has a hard job, blah blah blah.  But, really.  Have some forgiveness versus, I guess, just assuming that I truly am a Mother-of-the-Year. 

The biggest downfall of this conversation -- besides the realization that sweet teachers like the ones at the girls preschool are rare --  is that I now have to check email daily.  And I really don't want to. I went to look at cell phones today.   I thought maybe it would help if I had a phone I could check email on. Maybe if I had a portable phone, technology would seem less intrusive.  But I don't think so. I don't always want to be reachable and accessible.  Oddly enough, it stresses me to go on FB and check emails. The thought of getting bombarded by texts or calls wherever I am overwhelms me.   I like to have my space where I am able to just be.  Especially now that I am back at work as a mental health therapist. 

In the end, I walked out of Best Buy empty handed.  I just can't bring myself to spend money on talk/text/data/web/facetime, etc.  But I can't help but feel that I am falling behind the rest of the world in a way that is going to come back and bite me on the ass.  Someday, I suppose I'll have to engage with technology more than I am.   But I'm so afraid of becoming so engaged in it that I miss out on the life and people around me. 

It seems to suck people in.  It's like they are constantly multi-tasking -- or worse -- absent from the person or child standing right in front of them.  It drives me insane to talk to someone who keeps one eye on me and the other eye on their phone.  My gutteral response is to rip the phone out of their hand, slam it to the ground and then stomp on it again and again and again.  When I talk to friends about times they've been forced into not  using technology because they lost their tech gadget or forgot it at home, etc., they always convey how nice it felt to disconnect -- though they welcome their tech gadget back like an addict welcomes the appearance of his long lost dealer. 

I guess technology is like men, can't live with it, can't live without it...

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