Saturday, June 7, 2014

Oh, the drama

As many of you know, I'm the National Honor Society Adviser for my school.  Up until this week, I loved the position.  The requirements of the club are that students maintain a 3.5 GPA and do 8 hours of community service each semester.  Back in December, we had kids 'forget' to turn their hours sheets in on time.  We extended the deadline and I had kids bringing their sheets to my house over the break.  I had kids who didn't even start their hours until the week before break and then getting mad at me because I couldn't schedule events to meet their schedule.  We had well over 500 hours of service opportunities for them during the first semester.  So, we let the kids turn in their hours sheets with a written note explaining why they were turning them in late.  We were going to have them come and explain to us at a meeting what happened, but they all said they were too busy to show up, so we excused them from that and 'forgave' their mistake.

The NHS bylaws says they must follow the rules of each group and can be dismissed for not meeting the requirements.  We were being nice and gave them a second chance.  But, we started out our meetings in January with a stern warning that it wasn't going to happen again.  There was a lot of stress on the executive board and on me and since it was an Honor Society which was supposed to be the top students at school we felt we should hold them to a higher standard.

We wrote the due date of the hours sheet on the top of the new sheet and made sure at every meeting to announce that no late sheets would be accepted.  No exceptions!  Well, June 5 comes around and of course, kids are kids and about a dozen don't turn their sheets in.  June 6 and they show up wanting to turn sheets in to me.  I told them to look on the sheet and tell me what the date says.  They ask me what they are supposed to do with the hours sheet and I tell them to be sure to write down on their college resume all of the community service they have completed because after all, that's the whole purpose of doing all of this, isn't it?  Writing NHS on their sheets, is nice, but getting out and helping other people and gaining experience and giving back to the community is important.  Plus, it shows colleges and scholarships that you care about more than just yourself.

Of course, they are upset.  I would be too if I missed a deadline.  Most went away and found the president of the organization and asked her if they could give her their sheet.  She told them to ask me and they said I had told them no.  She said that whatever I said was the answer.

So, yesterday in my classroom, I got ambushed by a parent who demanded I take her daughter's hours sheet.  I took it and then threw it in the trash.  :)  Then, last night got and email and again today got another email asking how their child was supposed to know about the deadline for the requirement?  I asked them to look on the sheet.  There should be no questions about the requirement when the information is there for parents to see as well as students.  We have been very open about the communication.  Parents feel their child has wasted his/her time doing community service if they missed the deadline for turning things in.  They feel like they should have endless opportunities to submit forms, have unlimited opportunities to get hours and that I should be doing all of the work.

I'm thinking I will not be the adviser next year.  I'm also thinking that the school will not be able to find another adviser after the experience I've had. I haven't exactly been quiet about the issues I've had and no other teacher seems interested in dealing with parents who would rather give their child the easy way rather than teaching them responsibility.

I totally get it.  I don't want my child to be in pain and to hurt.  I've been that parent who wants to run down to the school and yell at the teacher, but then found out it was my child's fault.

But, it's not fun being attacked by parents for a mistake a child has made.  Parents, let your child suffer a consequence.  I promise this will not keep your child from his/her favorite college.  They can still do community service.  They can still get good grades and have fun and participate in other clubs on campus.  They can still hang out with the cool kids.  I'm not doing anything to be mean to anyone.  We set a deadline and your child missed it.  Your child knew what the consequence for missing the deadline was and still chose to miss the deadline.

Give them a second chance?  They've had a second chance already?  Give them a third chance?  Would that be enough?  Would you be happy with 12 chances?  Is this what we get when we hand every child a trophy for signing up for the soccer team?  The child who never comes to practice but gets a guaranteed 30 minutes of play time because mom will sue if he/she doesn't?  What happened to earning your spot on the team?

I just had to get that out of my head.  One parent threatened he's coming to school Monday to look for me.  They know we have a teacher work day. What is this world coming to?

Dad, you were right, I should have become a Veterinarian.


jirons42 said...

My brother is a retired teacher and always said that the students weren't the problem, it was the parents.

KaHolly said...

I'm a retired teacher and I concur! Parents are raising their children to feel 'entitled' more and more as time marches on. I probably wouldn't have even given them the second chance. But then, admin most likely would have stepped know the rest of the story!

Beth Brown said...

I'm a college adviser and I agree too! Thank you for a real world lesson in responsibility you are giving those kids. As a parent, I appreciate it because it reenforced what I've been teaching them for years.

Farm Quilter said...

*sigh* as a retired teacher of students with disabilities, I always said my students biggest disability was their parents 99% of the time! Just wait until these precious little coddled babies forget to turn in a make-or-break assignment in college or at work...mommy and daddy going to take the professor or employer to task for failing/firing their baby? Makes me awfully glad I am retired...and scared because they may be in charge of this country if I live long enough!!! A few more days and then it's SUMMER!!!