Today, I sat with my son’s seventh grade English teacher at Parent-Teacher Conferences while he read some of my son’s responses to questions the teacher had asked about the class. He was trying to gauge how his new students were feeling, whether they were keeping up, stressed, having fun.
How are you feeling about La/Lit?
My son wrote something along the lines of “I like class, but I hate reading and writing. It is sooooo boring.”
He had written a similar statement in a letter to his sixth grade teacher, but I made him delete it, explaining then that telling an English teacher that you don’t like to read is not only stupid, but not nice. He is the sweetest kid on the planet, so fortunately everyone gets that he is not being purposefully disrespectful.
He just doesn’t get it.
Do you feel comfortable with the teaching style used in this class?
My son wrote (and unfortunately, I think I have this one close to verbatim), “Your teaching style doesn’t really work with me, because you make everything more complicated than it has to be. Maybe you do that for the kids that struggle.”
I put my head down on the table.
And the teacher, who I respect immensely, laughed, “And that’s not why I gave him an F on his note-taking.”
You know I’m gonna be breathing down his neck at homework time…
… and we might just have to work on ditching the honesty thing. Too much of anything makes you look like a ding-dong.