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Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Talented Charmers

Talented Charmers

Last night was Report Card Night. We had already pretty much braced ourselves. Instead of expecting the best but preparing for the worst, we just cut to the chase. Let me just say that I have to agree with my offspring; Math is Evil. The four of us; me and the kids, believe that Math and anything to do with Math is the spawn of Satan. It's an evil trick, perpetrated by the minions of Hell to keep musical theater students from achieving their 4.0 GPA. Of course, my Design Engineer husband thinks that we all need to stop whining. But he can't sing, so he doesn't count.

Charlie and I go to the high school, stand in line to collect Caris and The Grommet's report cards, and then, like contestants of "The Amazing Race", stand off to the side and rip the envelopes open. Just as expected, whatever subject is their passion is the grade that keeps their heads above a C average. For Caris; an A in Drama, an A in Choral Music, and a B in French. In Geometry and AP History; well, let's just say it ain't good. For Bryson; an A in Waterpolo, a B+ in AVID, and lo and behold, a B in French, but oops!, what's that ugliness in Algebra?

Now, on Report Card Night, you go and get the report cards in the cafeteria, and then you go into the big gym and there are "teacher stations" set up where you can have a VERY brief chat with your kids teachers about their grades. Though this is NOT intended to be a parent-teacher conference forum, many parents use it as such, and literally CAMP OUT and talk the teacher's ears off instead of get a quick synopsis of their child's academic performance. My LEAST favorite parents are the ones that have the "golden child" and take up all of the teacher's time with how fabulous their kids are and how they don't even have to TRY to get straight A's. Yeah, yeah, yeah, so your kid's poop doesn't stink. Good for you. Now please step aside so I can find out where I can get a Math tutor for my Algebra and Geometry challenged children.

Finally, we get up to the Geometry teacher, introduce ourselves, and a knowing look crosses the teacher's face. He says; "Ah yes, Caris. Beautiful girl. Sweet student. She's given up. I don't bother her anymore. We've just gotten to the point where she just won't even try. But I understand. It's just not worth beating her up about it." This is not news to us. We know. The question is, what do we do about it? He makes a suggestion that we drop her to basic Geometry at the semester instead of putting her through torture. She'll still get her requirements done by graduation time, but why force her when it's quite obvious that she's fighting it. He continues; "Until her attitude about it changes, which I don't think it will quite honestly because after all, math isn't necessary to make it to Broadway is it?, then neither will her grade." He tells us not to worry too much about it. She'll be fine. Um. Ok. We walk away a little speechless.

Next, AP History. My philosophy on Advanced Placement courses has always been that I'd MUCH rather my child take the regular course and get good grades, then have them take AP courses and get low grades. I guess I've been thinking wrong. We go up to the teacher who absolutely GLOWS with smiles as we sit down. "CARIS! Oh my gosh. What a stunning girl. I am SO proud of her. Not to mention she's talented, and GORGEOUS! Isn't she gorgeous?" Well, yeah, we think so, but we're supposed to think so. Her teacher continues: "Please, please, please, don't be alarmed by that grade. She is SO smart, SO intelligent, and she's just hung in there so well. I mean, I told her during the play that she really had to keep up on her work in History. I even threatened her that when the next auditions came up that she should skip it and not do the next play, but that's just silly isn't it? She loves it so much after all. I see her making it one day. And the way I figure it, if their school experience isn't full of their loves and passions as well as the balance of academics, then what good is school? Besides, Caris is so sweet, and so kind. I just love her. She's going to be fine." Good Lord. I think I've given birth to a saint. Hmmm. I see a pattern.

The same thing at Bryson's Algebra teacher, his AVID teacher, his science teacher; "Yeah, the grades are not great. But don't be alarmed. He's such a great kid and he's working hard. His only problem is he's quite a charmer with the ladies. Other than that, I think he's gonna be ok." Uh huh. Well I think we can see what's happening here. My kids have charmed the heck out of their teachers. Nope, they haven't charmed great grades out of them. They've just charmed them; period. It's amazing to me that in the "citizenship" portion of the report cards, right next to the offensive grades, are the comments like: "A Pleasure to have in class," and "Conscientious Student." So they get mediocre to low grades, but their teachers like them. How does THAT happen?

Charlie and I walk out to the car silently. Once we get in the car, he breaks the silence:

He: So, are we supposed to punish them or not?

Me: (smiling) I think if we do, their teachers will be mad at us.

He: (laughing) No kidding. They might report us. Ok, so do we say anything to them when we get home?

Me: Good job?

He: Good job on what?

Me: Being Artful Dodgers.

He: Well, their teachers are right about one thing; they do get an A in Charm. They get that from me.

Me: (eyes rolling) You wish.


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