I am so not a fan of back to school nights or school social events.
Maybe it is because I’ve been doing these for longer than most adults thanks to G.
Or maybe because there are just too many elements of junior high among the adults.
For example, these events at their school tend to be an outward demonstration of who is really, truly committed to providing a quality of education to all of these kids. They do it by volunteering while at the same time doing sort of the “look at me, I’m volunteering and you aren’t” dance.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m very thankful for the parents who can volunteer on a frequent and regular basis. But, when I do it, I don’t do it to draw attention to myself. I do it because I have identified a need, and I have filled it. I don’t do it for my own social net worth within the parental community.
And if you are volunteering alongside many of them? Especially the women?
They are gossiping about EVERYONE.
Teachers, staff, other parents, kids – you name it – they gossip about it.
And it drives me nutty.
When DJ was in first grade, her teacher’s mother was dying. She and her sister had to alternate taking care of her, so she was burning through vacation and sick days like crazy. The parents would constantly bitch about the fact she was gone. They complained that she was not engaged. They decided it was because she clearly didn’t take her job seriously. After listening for about 20 minutes of this while I was helping these women get food ready, I asked what they would do if their own mother was dying. “Oh, we’d drop everything and go spend as much time with her as possible” was their reply. “So why, when she is doing the same thing you would do, is what she doing interpreted as her being irresponsible or disengaged or not taking her job seriously?” “But we expect our kids to get the best education” was their reply. I think I launched into my teachers are people too lecture. When they realized the line they had crossed, the backpedaling began. I mean, they could not be known as uncaring of the staff’s personal issues.
I have always dared them to come after me for not volunteering as much as they do. I would love it if they did because here is the reality. While they are volunteering to pass out chicken at the annual chicken dinner, I am buying their children pencils. G’s kids seem not to have any. They can’t seem to get their parents to buy them. They can’t seem to locate their own. So, they leave it to the teachers and school to supply them. One year, I got a deal on 5000 pencils. I figured that would last him and his other teachers in his other 4/5 grade a few years. It did not last them through the year.
White board markers.
Hell, I have bought his classroom a projector when he needed it.
Besides stuff, I have picked up after their kids.
I have made sure things have gotten back to their kids – jackets, book bags, lunch boxes, etc.
His parents who loved the fact they could download their kids’ homework? Yeah, I set it up so that they could do that before the school district provided a technology solution.
For the school, I have picked up trash. I have weeded their flower beds. And I did these things without the need for a “community clean-up day” or a school event. I did it because it needed to be done.
And I have done that – at this school – BEFORE my kids attended the school.
Why have I done it? Not because I wanted my social net worth within the community to go up. It was because I saw it was needed, and I did it. I did it so that their kids could learn. So that their teacher could teach without worrying about if he had a white board marker that worked.
I guess that is why these events drive me nuts. We are doing this under the guise of “helping the school” and “helping the kids” and “helping the staff”. But, I can’t help but feel it is mainly because it is “helping the parents look good.”
And the only time I don’t mind that level of competition?
School auction. Because the competition usually results in the school getting a shit-load more money than it would have without it.
Is his school the only school that is like that? Or have other parents noticed this trend?