“Stand up Bernadette!” My bottom lip immediately started to tremble. Although to be fair, I was 5, crying wasn’t really a stretch for me.
See, all I had done, technically, was move. But because we had just been warned that “the next person to make a noise will be going to see the Principal” and my movement had rattled my tidybox and in turn, made the next noise, I was in DEEP SHIT. I’m pretty sure it’s a miracle that I didn’t simultaneously lose my lunch and release my bowels at that point because you see, I was not that kid. The naughty kid – I wasn’t her. In fact, I was the kid that was desperate to be the teacher’s pet. I was the kid that volunteered to take up the tuckshop order each day, would pack away the paints without being asked, creepily brush the teacher’s hair, that kind of thing. In short, I was a total suck.
Back in the day though, if you were naughty in class, it would be a long time or a pretty decent incident before your parents heard anything about it. Take Lindsay for instance. Lindsay was our class clown. He was the only kid that wore his Smurf shirt every single day, had both a mullet and a bowl cut and at aged 8, had a voice that sounded like he had smoked a packet of cigarettes, daily. And he was constantly in trouble. Constantly. Yet, you can bet, the only time his parents heard about his antics was at the end of the school year when his report card came home with a shitty result and a line that read “If Lindsay put half as much effort into his schoolwork as he did his clowning around in class, he’d be an A student”. Ironically, Lindsay is now a professional clown*
Now though, things are very different. Now we, the parents, get emails direct from the teacher, with instant feedback, almost daily. These kids can’t pick their nose without a 100 word email outlining the consistency. The subject line that strikes fear into me most though only contains one word. And that word is - JACK.
Every time one of these emails lobs into my inbox, my gut immediately drops –what now? Because as I’ve explained HERE, Jack is not so much the class clown, as the class deviant. He’s been known to trade kisses for ice blocks, reveal his bits to his classmates during art class and to trick others into trading their one gold coin for one of his silver ones. And I have received an email advising me of the situation each and every time this has happened. So when I recently received the email from his teacher with the subject line JACK – Altercation, I panicked. Jesus, what has he done NOW? I need not have worried because this time, he was the victim and in some kind of weird way, this made me feel better. The altercation wasn’t Jack’s fault. In fact, he’d copped a matchbox car to the face after things went sour in ‘home corner’.
It’s not only the primary school teachers that are big on the electronic mail however. A large quantity of my email correspondence is from the very young, but very dedicated Maths teacher my 12 year old appears to have. Pretty much every second day I’ll receive a group email outlining the failings of her year 7 class. Her determination to have these kids hand in homework and/or have them detained, is to be admired. The fact that the threats of detention and extra homework don’t appear to be working does not deter her. Which is great in a way. I mean, my Mum didn’t even know if I had attended school, let alone if I’d failed to hand in my maths quiz.
But sometimes I wonder if this is a lot of information overload. Do I *really* need to know exactly what went down that day in History? Whether Kumbaya on the Piano was a class favourite? A big part of me guesses it does. The exhausted part of me really doesn’t. At times I wonder if our parents had it a bit better. When they simply thought, after questioning us, that our day consisted of "not much".
*I don’t really know what Lindsay went on to do in life. I’ll be disappointed if he didn’t become some kind of ironic hair model though.