That Mom almost strikes again

Kiddo#2 brought home a notice stating that the Angelborough Elementary School was going to be making teacher assignments soon, and that they want to know our preferences even though they will completely ignore them.

The letter states that they want — nay, they crave — our feedback on potential classroom placement for our youngsters.  They go on to specify that we are not allowed to request a certain teacher for our child.

What do they want? They want input from the parents as to their child’s educational style and what type of classroom would best enhance their learning experience. Or some such garbage. If we think a certain teacher is a bad match, we should let them know

My first thought is: what do you mean we’re not allowed to request a certain teacher? What are they going to do? Come  to my house and spank me? What they  mean to say is that requests for specific teachers will not be honored. (And that I can agree with.)

But I’m not big on the parents being told what we are or not allowed to do with our free speech. It’s just a letter. It’s not illegal for me to send a letter requesting Mrs. Smith, just as it’s not illegal for them to then wad up my letter into a crinkly ball and lay it up into the trash can.

But all that aside, my next thought was that this was yet another chance to cement my identity as That Mom. You know, the mom whose very name makes teachers subside into a clammy sweat. The one who, when they realize I still have another child who’s going to enter the public school system, triggers three retirements and one extended leave of absence.

I said, “If we’re allowed to request our child not get a specific teacher, how is that any different from allowing us to request one? How many teachers can they possibly have per grade?”

Kiddo#2 piped up that there were four teachers per grade.

I said,”So I could request, ‘Not Mrs. A, not Mrs. B, and not Mrs. C.’ That’s not materially different from requesting Mrs.D.”

My Patient Husband said, “The trick would be to word it in such a way that you eliminate each teacher one at a time and they never realize it.”

And I burst out laughing, because he’s exactly right. Send them a detailed letter,each paragraph beginning with “Kiddo#3 would not fare well with a teacher who — ” and then ending it with “Therefore he should not be placed with a teacher that — ” and give a detail that was specific to an individual teacher.

Do that  three times, and you’ve narrowed the field of possible choices to one.

We laughed. But I’m not going to do it. My quest to become That Mom will have to wait.


  1. christopher

    I like “that mom” 🙂 LOL

    1. philangelus

      She’s been slipping her chain more and more often of late.

  2. littlehouseofpenguins

    That’s so funny. I would totally feel the same way that you do about them now “allowing” you. I like “that mom,” too.

    1. philangelus

      That Mom is a dangerous persona, though. My kids are all a bit quirky already, and it’s becoming obvious that the administration is going to get that weak smile in the future whenever they realize another one of these kids is coming through. “Oh. How….wonderful.”

  3. cricketB

    That’s the second “That Mom” story today. I mostly bit my tongue on the first one (set example of following the rules or cross at an equally safe but non-official spot).

    Looks like the Philangelus school has conflicting requirements, and have opened a can of worms. Must ask parents for their opinion. Sans letter, most parents wouldn’t bother asking. Now, many of them will ask and, through random luck, get what they asked for — which gives those who asked but didn’t get a reason to complain.

    Then we have my neighbour who most years got the teacher she requested — who also happens to be the teacher to whom they gave the most disruptive kids that year.

    As for the word “allow”? Very badly written.

    1. philangelus

      The last school, in Angeltown, had the same letter sent home about “not requesting a specific teacher” and atone point, I did state that I’d had an experience with Mrs. X and due to that, I didn’t want her within a hundred miles of Kiddo#2.

      My thought is that they feel they have to request input or they’re legally bound to in case there are serious personality conflicts between the parent and the teachers. I may send Kiddo#4 to full-day kindergarten if there’s still only one half-day kindergarten teacher, for example. But a decent teacher who knows her students will also have a sense of which other faculty members will get along with those students and their parents, and they want to be free to trust their own judgment. Which I understand: I think in most cases, the current year’s teacher IS the expert on which class my child should be in next year.

      But some teachers are just lousy teachers, and they pre-judge the kids and aren’t going to know them well enough to place them well. And in those cases, the parents need to have a say. It’s just that there’s no way to know in advance if that’s going to happen. So they have this weird hybrid system that obnoxious parents like me could try to game if they were feeling nasty.

    2. Ivy

      I checked the dictionary.

      Allow (Idiom) to make concession or provision for

      The school will not make a provision for specific teacher assignments. They’re correct in stating this.

      1. philangelus

        Depends on how it was worded. “Special requests for teachers are not allowed” would be fine according to that definition. “You are not allowed to request a specific teacher” uses the other definition.

        I can’t remember the exact wording. I wrote this post several days ago and queued it up.

  4. Kaci

    Occasionally, I almost swear you’re embellishing, these stories are so nuts. 😛