Saturday, October 24, 2009

It is fall, and the end of the 1st quarter of school for both my children. I go to parent teacher conferences to hear how wonderful my children are and what they can do to improve and be better students. I also go to size up the teacher. I tend to catagorize their personalities along the lines of the original American Idol judges. I don't want my children to have teachers like Simon Cowell of American Idol fame. Although I usually agree with Simon, I know my delicate mom psyche wants gentle criticism, and so do my children. I have found that the Paula Abdul teachers are too kind. They are good teachers, but they are happy with the way things are. They expect nothing more from me and will not demand that my daughters be better students or people. Give me Randy Jackson- insightful, helpful, and encouraging with a push to be better when its needed. I get 5-10 minutes with each teacher. There are lots of Randy Jacksons in the room. I am predicting that it will be a great teacher year. I wouldn't have said that when the school year started.

Our first teacher crisis came in August when N's voice teacher announced she would not be giving private lessons this year. Mrs. R is everything that a teacher should be- kind, encouraging, teaching and inspiring N to give her best- the Randy Jackson of vocal instruction. My children have been fortunate; they have had several great teachers like Mrs. R, so I know they are out there. I just need to find one. After several frantic phone calls, I found Miss J. Miss J smiles a lot, tells my daughter she is wonderful when she is wonderful, and has constructive suggestions to help her improve. Once again, we have won the teacher lottery.

Em, my youngest, also likes to sing. She auditioned and was accepted into honor choir at her middle school. This is wonderful, except that she needs to be at school 45 minutes earlier on Wednesday for practice. Unlike N, the high strung oldest daughter, Em takes a 'living la vida loca' approach to life. For some reason, neither of us remembers practice until its Wednesday morning, and she needs to be at practice in 10 minutes. Luckily, school is only a 5 minute drive away, and I look stunning when I get out of bed in the morning. So if you ever see a woman on the side of the road standing next to a blue-gray Saturn with bed-head in flannel pajamas and flip flops with a cup of coffee in her hand just keep driving. She might me a little embarrassed if she thought anyone recognized her.

So last Wednesday, we were late, 5 minutes late. The teacher has a written policy; 3 times late for practice, and you are out of honor choir. I signed the contract. Em signed the contract. There is accountability. I gave Em the obligatory 'you are almost 13 years old and need to be more responsible for yourself if you want to stay in honor choir' lecture, then kicked her out of the car to meet her fate. I sounded like a mommy version of Simon Cowell.

Later that evening, I asked Em if she had apologized to the teacher, and she said yes. I asked what the teacher said. The response surprised me. The teacher said, "It's okay. It is a gray, rainy, be 5 minutes late kind of day."

"She likes you, doesn't she?" I said to Em.

"Yes, she does," Em responded.

I gave Em a hug. "I like you, too." Sometimes, it's nice to get a little Paula Abdul.






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