“Wrmvotlnk – (n. wurm-VOHT-link)- The little-known Russian spacecraft of 1965 of diminuitive proportions whose crew was composed entirely of earthworms, with the exception of the night crawler captain and co-captain. Hopes were initially high for the wee craft; However, after lifting off and hurtling through the cosmos at a frightening rate of speed, the vessel veered violently and crash-landed into a Ukranian compost pile. Though not found in any history book, the ill-fated flight of the Wrmvotlnk is the stuff of which Eastern folklore is made.
I have since learned that she is not scary at all (well, not TOO scary) and that she also writes a fun, well-written blog, too. I have no doubt that you will enjoy her humor and helpful hints, too. Get outcha notepads and please, put your hands togetha for….
Well, look at me…I’m in the Break Room! No Coke, thanks, Kelley…I’ve brought my own Behemoth Skim Latte with a Half Shot of Sugar Free Hazelnut. Pardon me while I take a swig for maintenance.
There. Much better.
Funny…as I make myself comfortable and take a gander around the Break Room, I have the oddest feeling that I’ve been here before. Hmmm…let me see…the vending machines, the water cooler, the inspirational posters on the walls, the empty Lean Cuisine boxes haphazardly left upon the tables…of course! That’s it! This room bears a striking resemblance to a teachers’ lounge! And believe you me, I know a thing or two about teachers’ lounges. You see, in my life BC – that’s before cherubs – I was an elementary school teacher. A great profession, that was…and I must say, there are many tips and tricks of the teaching trade (say that five times fast, why don’t you?) that I have put to good use in my current unpaid position as Housemommy to three school-aged children. Why, just last week, I attended Parent-Teacher Conferences at their elementary school, and the wisdom I gleaned from my tenure as an instructor allowed me to survive the ordeal with only two follow-up therapy sessions.
Pssssst…want me to let you in on a few conference tips? I assume that at least a handful of The Break Room faithful have children…and even if you don’t…well…pop open a Coke and talk amongst yourselves while I humbly present:
DO arrive on time to your conference. Never mind the fact that the teacher may be running two hours behind schedule and might have a line of disgruntled parents carrying picket signs, singing “We Shall Overcome,” and snaking halfway to the principal’s office. As Murphy’s Law dictates, the day that you arrive late to the conference will be the day that the teacher is right on schedule and will be waiting for you, peering over her glasses, arms crossed, low-heeled shoe –clad foot tapping impatiently as you skulk your way into the classroom and attempt to wedge yourself into a seat designed to hold an eight year-old.
DO give some thought to your personal decorum. It is of the utmost importance to appear well-groomed, but not SO well-groomed as to give the impression that you spend more time coiffing your ‘do than you do parenting your cherubs and maintaining a stable home environment. And, even if it is an evening conference and you are headed out to your BFF’s bachelor or bachelorette party immediately thereafter, bring your low-cut, form fitting, and/or bedazzled ensemble in a nondescript bag and change in the little girls’ or boys’ room at the end of the hallway on your way out of the school building.
DO NOT send your nanny, babysitter, next-door neighbor, or life coach to the conference in your place. It does not make a good first impression, even if any of the previously mentioned individuals may be good enough, smart enough, or if, doggoneit, people like them.
DO shake hands with the teacher. High-fives, fist bumps, or collegiate athlete’s fanny pats, however, are all generally frowned upon. Trust me on this one, friends…as the teacher, I was the recipient of more than one of the latter. The fall-out is not pretty.
DO NOT let your jaw drop to the floor and sputter, “Naw…REALLY?” when the teacher kicks off the conference by telling you how much they enjoy having your daughter or son in class. This is the way that all teachers are required to start. It is written in the by-laws of their contract, whether or not they derive any enjoyment from educating your little chip off the old block. DO take everything that the teacher says in stride, no matter how much you doubt the validity or sincerity of what they are saying. If it helps, hum Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face” or Kenny Rogers’ “The Gambler” to yourself for the duration of the conference.
If, like me, you have had any past teaching experience, DO NOT convey this to the teacher. You do NOT wish to be known as a Teacher-Parent. This could bring about an untold number of undesired consequences, from Nervous Teacher Withdrawal Syndrome to Ridiculously High Teacher-Parent Offspring Expectation Disorder. Don’t go there, Teacher-Parents. Just don’t.
If your schedule allows, DO mention that you’d be happy to volunteer in the classroom. However, if the teacher declines, DO NOT stalk the teacher with daily post-conference phone calls and handwritten reminders about how handy you are with a stapler, a hot glue gun, or butcher paper.
DO NOT invite the teacher “out for a nightcap” at the conclusion of the conference. Please allow me to remind you, yet again, that I speak from experience.
And with that, friends, I must be going. Kelley, girlfriend, thank you ever so much for having me! It’s been a hoot…please accept a virtual high-five/fist-bump/collegiate athlete’s fanny pat as I sashay on out the door. Because we’re tight like that.