Friday, August 26, 2011
We all know that teenagers, at some point or other, are completely embarrassed by their parents but I think I just hit the top spot on the embarrassment poll. I could blame it on age, my grey cells dissipating, or my hormones taking over, but truthfully it was all me. No help at all, which makes it worse.
The place was high school orientation. The people involved were my son, his teacher, and me. The orientation was chaotic with hundreds of teenagers running around trying to find their way in a new school whilst skillfully texting each other, even though they were standing back to back. It was a parent's nightmare.
By the time we arrived at the last room on his list, I was frazzled and ready to go home. My head was spinning from the fact that he had been assigned to the wrong math class, that one of his teachers looked like a 'surfer dude' (he is very nice so I found out – naughty me!), and that not one person could tell us definitively where he was supposed to report to on day one. Yes, my mind was racing with a million questions and thoughts.
The last room was his homeroom and I was hoping to get answers to my remaining questions. As we entered, there was one other family in conversation with the teacher, so I ushered my son far enough away so as not to look as if we were trying to muscle in on the conversation. It is so annoying when someone does that right?
From our distant position, a few chairs back, I started to whisper to my son about what we needed to find out. He engaged in the conversation as quietly as I did – we were being polite, or so we thought! To our horror, the teacher didn't think so. Within a second the room went quiet, you could have heard a pin drop. I looked up from my huddled position and saw the stare. Yes, I got the "Teacher Stare". You know the one that you got in school, all those years ago, when you had done some dreadful deed. The one that told you detention was a sure thing and that your parents would certainly hear of this before the day was out. Thankfully, I didn't get many of these in my day but, unthankfully because of that, I am afraid of them.
The teacher then addressed me. He did not say many words. It was just a simple, "Did you say something?"
My son's gaze had followed mine and, as I noticed out of the corner of my eye, he had gone completely white. You see, this is the boy who would walk around the edge of the classroom so as not to be seen near the naughty chair in Kindergarten, or has ever had a reason to bring one of those 'notes' home. In fact, he never got off green in the Green, Yellow, Red (your dead) behavioral system favored by elementary schools. I knew this was disaster of mammoth proportions.
I couldn't answer the teacher; my mouth was stuck, stricken with fear. That apparently was making the situation worse. As he was not getting a satisfactory reply from me, he turned to my son.
"Do YOU have something to say?"
Well, I did not know whether to be proud of my son for answering the question or whether to ground him for the next year. Really, it was outrageous -- he blamed me! Simply he stammered that he was replying to me, his mother. I got another stare and then the final blow. The teacher turned his back on me. I was in school, in my forties, and been caught out for speaking out of turn in class. I started to giggle which was obviously catching, as the other boy who was talking with the teacher at the time followed suit.
He got the stare too.
At least my son was not the only one, I thought to myself. However, the damage was done; I had embarrassed my poor child. We did speak to the teacher after the other family had left, but I have to be honest and say that I didn't ask the questions I needed to, and the teacher thankfully didn't mention the incident just told us that we could expect a lot of paperwork.
My son never really said anything on the way home about my delinquent behavior so I decided to keep quiet – best thing to do under the circumstances, don't you think.