As my regulars know, my boy has been in my class this year. I thought it would be sorta weird, but it hasn’t been at all. He has admitted to his mom though, that his path through seventh grade (17 days to go) has most likely been a tad easier because of his, ahem, connections. Kind of like the son of the mafia boss…
“Make sure you tell your Uncle Vinnie I helped you out, eh?”
Or, “Whaddaya doing bumpin’ into me punk… oh heh, it’s you, no problem, no problem.”
He assures me that it’s much more subtle than that, and that nobody really talks about it at all (except his friends who sleep over and see me in my jammies).
This situation has helped me out of a jam or two.
“Did we do such and such already? Was indiscriminate already a vocab word?” He actually remembers what we’ve done or not done better than I do many times.
I have also gained a new perspective, and I don’t just mean a spy for when I have a sub. I mean…
The missus is what most people would call an involved parent. PTA, volunteering, running the chess club at our neighborhood school for years, cookies for teacher appreciation day, having the occasional run-in with the principal or teacher, helping me hound our IST department, knowing who the boy’s friends are and etc. She and the boy are BFF’s, even at this stage in his development (he just turned 13). In other words, one of those supermoms, with the emphasis on the mom rather than the super, if you know what I mean.
She hit the junior high participation wall this year.
Junior high is when kids start having other lives. For some reason, everything is more separate and other-worldly once you hit junior high. The teachers want the kids to start handling things themselves, and parents to start being more hands off. Plus the kids start leading what are basically second lives. In elementary school, they usually have one teacher sort of monitoring them in their natural habitat. One teacher the parents can call and find out stuff.
But in junior high everything changes. If you want to find out about school, you have to hound five or six teachers, a principal who probably doesn’t know the kid personally like the one in elementary school did, and/or the kid, who as a fresh adolescent has very little inclination to share anything with you.
This is what I learned from my wife.
Tonight I was complaining to her about Open House coming up on Thursday night.
“Dagnabbit! One of the rules of Open House is that you’re not supposed to hound us about your specific kid. You’re just supposed to be grooving on the projects and glad-handing, and meeting and greeting… and they always want to hound you about how Junior is doing and…”
“Just tell me how most of those parents are going to get face to face time with you. In elementary school, they can show up after class or at the pick-up after school. Most of you don’t return phone calls (sheepish look), and they won’t let the parents past the office without permission in advance. Just tell me how that kid’s mom who doesn’t have internet access is going to get any face time with you. Huh?”