I don’t know if it’s the unseasonably warm weather or what, but we have had a proliferation of mosquitos.
In order to not get eaten alive, we like to play a little game of squash before going to bed and sometimes (often) when we hit the target, we don’t always remove the carcass. (Lazy, and perhaps disgusting. I know).
Unless of course there is a smear of blood accompanying the body, in which case I’m usually compelled to get a sponge. Our white walls are dotted with little squished bugs and my husband joked that we could drink a fluorescent liquid so that when we smacked the little guys we could position their bodies and make a glow-in-the-dark constellation for when we turn out the lights (which seems like an awful lot of work to me, but then his humor often is).
(Just kidding honey).
Anyway, I’ve mentioned that where we live is a little like the French version of Desperate Housewives.
Anyway, as desperate as the housewives are, there are bound to be some problems and one of them is the director of the elementary school, who also happens to be Petit Prince’s teacher.
I was blissfully unaware when he started school that no one liked her (and that a quiet revolution was in the works). I thought she was just fine, albeit un peu frosty for someone who teaches 2-3 year olds. The main thing was that she was cool with the fact that Petit Prince often still had accidents in his pants (the chunky kind – sorry).
(In fact, one of Young Knight’s friends has a little brother in Petit Prince’s class and when we invited them both over to play, the kid said, “oh him. He does caca in his pants.”)
(So I have one of those kids).
But yesterday when I picked him up, her attitude had changed. She said that my kid had a huge problem, that he had done caca in his pants and didn’t tell anyone, that he was in his own little world and didn’t listen, that when she called the kids in from recess, he just stayed in the sand pit and she had to go get him.
I timidly ventured to question whether she might think it was perhaps due to his age, you know, being two and all? Or did she think it was a character issue? She admitted that it might be due to his ag,e and then we were cut off by another mother.
So I walked away feeling kind of blue about my baby who still poops in his pants and has trouble paying attention and is disliked by teacher and kids alike. Or at least that what it felt like. I was feeling blue, that is, until I ran into another mom and then the stories about his teacher started pouring in.
“It’s not you! No one likes her. You should have been there for the school meeting.”
“Why, did you hear about it from Ethan’s mom? (who is in my son’s class)”
“No, no I was there. For the first hour she had an all-school meeting and then the second hour was divided into class meetings.”
“Oh I wasn’t there – my husband was working late. But I remember what you said about how Ethan’s mom was asked to bring her son home when she came to drop him off after lunch because there weren’t enough beds for the nap and she was a stay at home mom anyway so she had nothing better to do.”
(Note – there are always enough beds, and mothers to three kids have all the same rights to cantine and after school care that working moms have. Plus, school ends at 4:30 so she was bringing him back for the afternoon class, not some after school program!)
Another neighbor of ours walks up and joins the conversation. “Yeah and when I told her that someone hit my son, she said it was his fault and that he was asking for it. But he’s not even in her class so how does she know? What kind of a response is that?”
“Yes, and then another mom overheard her putting a kid in time out just for asking too many questions. She’s clearly not meant to be a teacher. Or a director!”
“So what happened at the meeting then?”
“People publicly berated her. She started out by saying to please gather around closer because she had no voice what with the start of school and all, and someone immediately piped up that if she didn’t like her job she just had to find another one.
She let that slide and went on to say that there would be a zero tolerance for lateness and after the second time a kid was late, she would report it to the town hall. So one of the father’s stood up and asked,
‘Does that rule apply to the teachers as well? My son is in your class and you’ve already been late four times since the beginning of the year.’
‘Ah yes, well nothing can prevent me from being stuck behind a garbage truck on my way to school.’
‘Right. And nothing can prevent parents from being stuck behind a truck on the way to school either.’ “
“So she requested to change the subject and someone asked her for what reasons she and the rest of the teachers were striking on Tuesday (so that there was no school that day. Two weeks into the school year. Already on strike), and she said that she had the right to not state her reasons for the strike so she was reserving that right.”
“Then someone asked if it would be possible to have an actual person answer the phone when they called instead of landing on an answering machine. She responded that no, her job here was both teacher and director and she was only director on Friday afternoons. The rest of the time she had a classroom. Someone asked if she couldn’t carry a cell phone for those emergency calls, and she said that no – how could she teach a class if she was answering the phone all day; plus it wouldn’t be very effective trying to carry on a conversation over 30 noisy Petite Section children (I have to say I agree with her on this one),
and someone responded, “well hey – if you don’t know how to handle your class you shouldn’t be teaching.”
“She went on to say, well that’s just the way it is. I was hired to be both director and teacher – I didn’t choose it.”
“And someone retorted, ‘yeah we didn’t choose you either.’ ”
By this time she was full of nervous tics. She was trembling and unable to look anywhere except the floor or ceiling.
As much as I think she has a LOT to work on and I’m not happy with the fact that she’s teaching my son (or teaching young kids at all for that matter), I have compassion on her. I don’t think she deserved to be publicly lynched, especially when people started attacking not just her work, but her person.
The parents in my sweet little suburb were out for blood, and it’s not the first time. I’ve seen the same thing happen over at the conservatory where my children take music and dance; a director was deposed so a secretary could take over by public petition from the parents, only for her to be put back in her place by the town hall so someone actually qualified for the job could be brought in.
It looks like we’re not the only family leaving corpses in our wake.