Sometimes I wonder whether the teachers talk about the parents amongst themselves. I would probably be known as “Trouble Maker”. My favorite moment was when I confronted approached the principal at the Thanksgiving Feast:
“Could I safely assume that the headpieces the children are wearing are ‘turkeys’ and not ‘head dresses’?” I used the quotation marks and I gave him an “I am just kidding, but only half” look.
“Huh? Ohh. I am sure they are turkeys…” Well, he did not sound so sure. He sounded surprised. I was surprised that HE was surprised. You mean, nobody else but me wondered about THAT? Anyway, he’s been put on notice and he seems scared to see me ever since. I can hear him inside his head, “Oh. For crying out loud. What now?!” Fortunately for all of us, I work full-time and I hardly ever go to school.
Today I wrote an email* to my 6-grade-son’s teacher:
Dear Mrs. G,
D told me yesterday about Heather’s big birthday party bash. She has apparently invited the whole class to her house from 2 to 8 pm. It sounds like it is going to be an awesome party. The IT party of their childhood before they go off onto Middle School.
Being a pain in everybody else’s neck, I asked D whether all seven girls in the class actually do hang out with each other.
“Does anybody get left out? You know, it’s going to hurt a lot if one of them gets left out seeing how few girls you have in your class.”
I don’t know why. Nobody gave me the job of being purveyor of social justice. Like I said, I am just a pain. Probably born that way. I am sorry… Really. I am. Because I make troubles whenever I send you an email.
At my question, D paused and said, “Well, she sort of invited the whole class. Except one.”
“What? Who?” But I already knew the answer, based on things D has told me in the past.
“Charles Wu was not invited.”
“And she gave out the invitations to everybody else in class? Does Charles know about this?”
D’s eyes turned red. “Yeah. I think he knows.”
“We play with Charles during recess and we are nice to him.” He continued, his eyes getting redder. “I guess all that is just skin deep…”
I am not writing to ask you to talk to Heather about any of this. On the contrary. It will probably worsen Charles’ status on the food chain. Besides, if she is indeed forced to include Charles, I shudder at the thought of what’s going to happen to him at the party. Probably nothing. Exactly nothing. Nobody would talk to him or play with him. Indifference is the most hurtful thing one human being can do to the other.
I am writing, in addition to me being a pain, to let you know the situation in case Charles seems down lately. I am sure you have seen THIS many many times in your years of teaching. So please tell me I am making too big a deal out of this. (Yeah, I know. I wish I did not read Lord of the Flies either…) Please tell me that they all survive, that they all walk out of this unscathed. But I know, I never forget what happened to me in elementary school. And it still hurts because nobody talked to me about it when it was happening.
* Names have been changed to protect the innocent. Just in case.