I'm finding myself uber-stressed right now during halftime of the tied-up UO vs. Tennessee game. Sheesh! I'd forgotten this part of college football. So, as a stress relief, I'll vent about the most frustrating assignment we saw from school this week.
On the second day of school, Brayden brought home some homework for me. I've come to expect that; usually there are plenty of "signatures required" mixed with the occasional "Tell Me About Your Child" questionnaires. This one was different, though. This particular "assignment" followed a two page syllabus describing Brayden's social studies teacher's expectations. Just so you know, those two pages of information were typed in about a size 6 font. Then, came my assignment, which I will share with you as was presented on the sheet:
"Parents/guardians: Please read and complete the reverse after reviewing the syllabus. Thanks most kindly for taking the time to review the course syllabus. Your attention to your student's education is very much appreciated." [On that side of the sheet we, along with our student, were supposed to sign and date that we'd read the information]
-Ok, I get it so far - and applaud the nice phrasing and request we review everything together. As a former 6th grade teacher, nothing irritated me more than parents trying to enable their children by not letting them "grow up" and face head-on the choices they made. Giving everyone clear parameters, and making sure both parents and students understand them is certainly a very good prevention of this.......
HOWEVER, it was the "reverse" part of this page that I found......well, that's where the phrase, SERIOUSLY?????!!!!! comes in!
On the reverse side, here's what we found:
"Please ask a parent or guardian to answer the following questions - with your help, of course [reference to student]
1. Write down the four things every assignment should have to receive credit.
2. What happens if your friend copies one or two answers on a small, pointless assignment, because she spent the entire night baking cookies for sick children?
3. If you have a 75% average, and you do like a million extra credit things, what could your grade go up to?
4. Can you have healthy snacks- well, pretty healthy snacks, anyway - in class if you don't make a mess?
5. Could being shy negatively affect your grade? How?
6. According to they syllabus, do you need to bring your textbook to every class?
7. When shouldn't you ask Mr. "X" a grade question?
8. If you are absent, who could you talk to before Mr. "X"?
9. Is it possible to be marked tardy even if you're in the classroom?
10. How long is a late assignment still worth something?
11. List up to three facts about an ancient civilization that you already know?"
CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT? These were questions that the parent/guardian was expected to answer? What business does this teacher have in knowing what I already know about ancient civilizations? And to top that off - many of these questions were "trick questions" - (i.e. there's no reference to a textbook in the syllabus, but all necessary materials are supposed to be brought to class).
If the directions at the top had been worded even slightly different - such as: "Students, please answer the following questions - I encourage you to ask your parents for help as needed....." But, no, that's not how it was phrased. I couldn't believe the audacity - and for the record, it took me about 20 minutes to fill it all out (though I have to blame part of that time lapse for just being plain ol' mad) ....And let me tell you, it took every bit of self control in me to not give some very colorful answers in response - however, I'm not quite ready to sabotage my son's start to middle school). I did answer the last question a little pointedly in reference to our basis of ancient civilization education coming from the Bible....but besides that, I think I nailed his answers.
I hope I did anyway. Because, I'll tell you what, if we get that assignment back with anything less than a 100%....well, it's not gonna be pretty.