Sunday, October 25, 2009

What the teacher says vs What the teacher really means

It's lazy Sunday. I got nothing but a few unfinished blog I thought I'd re-post an oldie but goodie....

What the teacher says vs What the teacher really means:

I went in for a parent-teacher conference a few months ago with Cole and Bella's preschool teacher and I listened to her use words like "spirited" and "natural-born leader" to describe my kids. While most parents would be beaming with pride to hear their children described by those words, I know better.

Back in the day, I used to be a preschool teacher and I also used words like "spirited" and "natural-born leader" to describe some of the kids in my class when I spoke with their parents. I liked to put a positive spin on, well, lighten the blow. No parent wants to hear a teacher come right out and say, "Johnny is bossy and talks too much. None of the kids in the class like him and, come to think of it, neither do I". I just prayed that the parents would be able to read between the lines.

To be helpful, I thought I'd compile a list: "What the teacher says" versus "What the teacher really means".

What the teacher says: Johnny is very spirited.
What the teacher really means: Your kid is stubborn, non-compliant, cries at the drop of a hat and has the temperament, a lion in captivity...and that's putting it mildly.

What the teacher says: Susie is a natural-born leader.
What the teacher really means: Your kid is bossy, pushy and overly opinionated.

What the teacher says: Johnny is very artistic.
What the teacher really means: Your kid is drawing pictures of skulls dripping with blood and it's really freaking me out.

What the teacher says: Susie likes to say what's on her mind.
What the teacher really means: Your kid is missing a sensitivity chip.

What the teacher says: Susie is a social butterfly.
What the teacher really means: Your kid never shuts her trap.

What the teacher says: Johnny enjoys his alone time.
What the teacher really means: Does the word "sociopath" mean anything to you?

What the teacher says: Susie really challenges me to be a better teacher.
What the teacher really means: Your kid makes me wanna drive off a cliff at the end of each school day.

What the teacher says: Johnny has boundless energy.
What the teacher really means: Your kid can't sit still for a minute. He kind of reminds of the Tazmanian Devil......on crack.

What the teacher says: When encouraged, Johnny seems to succeed well.
What the teacher really means: What the hell are you saying to your kid at home to make his self-esteem so low?

What the teacher says: Susie is always so organized.
What the teacher really means: Your kid is a type-A control freak.

What the teacher says: Johnny is such an easygoing child.
What the teacher really means: He's the laziest kid I've ever met. Pretty much have to light a fire under his ass to get him moving and shaking.

What the teacher says: Susie has a wonderful imagination.
What the teacher really means: Your kid lies her ass off. She could be the next James Frey.

What the teacher says: Johnny loves to share with his friends.
What the teacher really means: Thanks to your kid and his frequently snotty nose, most of the kids have been out sick this month.


Lena Blair said...

Too funny, my daughter has been called a social butterfly (by me) so i know thats the truth, but can you what her teacher means by "super bright, but lacks focus" Is that exactly what it sounds like, or is there a hidden meaning????

Betty said...

WOW That is too funny!I loved that..a control freak?. That list is totally funny.
You made my day . Thank you.
Hoping you're having a great weekend!
hugs hugs said...

Well, thanks for this! Parent teacher coming up in two weeks. I'll bring this translation with me :)

Twincerely,Olga said...

I love it!! I'll have to save this one! I think I've heard a few of those when my grown kids were little! You put a big smile on my face!Thank you!

AngieB said...

This is all so true! A copy of this should be included in the orientation packet at the beginning of each school year. I've been doing the parent-teacher conference thing long enough now that if the teacher seems to be beating around the bush I'll just chime in with one of these phrases. She'll smile, I'll smile, we both know what we're saying, and I can take my little hellion and get the frech fries I so richly deserve for showing up for this thing.

kys said...

Funny! (Because it is so true!)

I love the parents who hear these things - like natural born leader - and brag incessantly to everyone about what a genie-ass their kid is.

The Mother said...

I will add: Johnny asks lots of questions. He's really curious.

Which means:

Your kid knows more about this stuff than I do, and I go home every afternoon and look it up so I can pretend I'm as smart as he is. Can you PLEASE stop teaching him stuff at home????

(Been there, done that.)

Eva Gallant said...

That was hysterical! Loved it!!!

Mighty M said...

Haha, I better file this one away for the day I start attending these conferences!! ;)

Nobody said...

LMAO!!! hilarious, and very informative. i just happen to have a parent teacher conference this week, so it's also very timely!

The Crazy Baby Mama said...

yes, yes and YES.
i used to teach preschool, and i am nodding right along as i read this.

my favorite: "does the word 'sociopath' mean anything to you?" i literally laughed out loud.

Corrie Howe said...

Do you ever watch the TV show "House"? My husband loves Dr. House because he says everything that others want to say but don't.

I wonder what would happen if a teacher was brave enough to say these things?

blueviolet said...

Ah! Now I have to go back and look at conference notes and see what lies were told about me!

Flory said...

LOL! This post is could not have come at a better time. I'll need to pay attention and read between the lines at the parent-teacher conference coming up soon. :)

Anonymous said...

A classic!

Nezzy said...

So true. It takes me back to my days of teaching Special Ed and finding just the right adjective to describe little Johnny's latest antics. Funny post, girl.

I'm so happy you can laugh about it.

Have a great week and God bless!!!

Karen, author of "my Funny Dad, Harry" said...

This is sad that teachers have to try to put a good spin on everything and pussy foot around instead of just being frank and telling parents what they need to know about their child.

I think Angie B. above has a great idea about including this list in the parent orientation packet! That would work.

Jen said...

this is good to know, since Hayden's first conference is coming up.

Adventure Mom Janna said...

oh yes, after 6 years of parent teacher conference I can attest to this one.

It's amazing the similarity in mannerism that you see when you meet the parents too!

JosiahsMommy said...

Lol. This post is so great. Thanks for the translations. I'll keep those in mind when Josiah heads off to school.

Frugal Vicki said...

I loved reading that. I haven't been to my first one yet, but I have a feeling I am going to be the mom that needs to bite her tongue, or just have my husband keep pinching me to keep my mouth shut!
I love the new look, the header picture is fantastic!

Rook No. 17 said...

Helene, as always, your writing has me in stitches. As a teacher's assistant, I can totally relate to these euphamisms! Loved it! Thanks.

Jenn @ said...

I loved this before and thanks for the laugh again :)

DysFUNctional Mom said...

I love it! You crack me up, and you are so right on the money too....
my stepson is "spirited" and "has boundless energy" and is going to be the death of me.......

Kristen said...

haha this makes me laugh!!

Jenny said...

Too funny and so true! I know my daughter is a few of these!

Lani said...

Hilarious, as always.. I will keep this in mind when my kids get to school!

KK said...

Too funny and so true.

I figure that if the children are alive when my husband gets home at the end of the day, I've done my job.

----Roseanne Barr

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