Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Full Moon + Weather Changes = Attitudes!

This morning, while on morning duty, one of the 5th grade girls stomped up to me to announce she needed to talk. She was in such a huff and her parents always angrily blame the school when their daughter is upset (and she is upset often) and seemed to truly need to talk NOW that I stepped aside to talk with her.

Besides, the last time I ignored that the earth revolves around her "made" her wait, she bitch-slapped another student. And her parents went all the way to the Assistant Superintendent to complain about how I ignored their child in her time of need.

These parents find their argumentative girl charming. I wish I could tell these same parents how charming their baby sounds when she makes pronouncements declaring hate for her parents. The same parents who make fools of themselves defending her honor.

I; however, generally stick to the rule "My problem through 5th grade. Their problem FOREVER." At some point, she'll make the same hateful statements directly to her parents so why be the bearer of bad news. And besides, it'll be more meaningful coming straight from the source, eh?

Argumentative 5th Grade Girl (arms crossed and already almost out of breath with rage): "We have a problem!"

Me (smiling as I am still slightly amused... and clueless): "What problem would that be?"

Argumentative 5th Grade Girl: "Is it true that Twilight has been banned at school?"

Me (still smiling but not knowing anything about any book being banned at my school as I generally am not a book banner - nor am I a book burner while we are on the subject): "Why do you ask?"

Argumentative 5th Grade Girl: "Well, Mrs. Mean 5th Grade Teacher said that Twilight could not come back to school any more and I have a problem with this!"

Me (a lot less amused and suddenly remembering Mrs. Mean 5th Grade Teacher telling me last week about the kids fascination with all the implied sex scenes in the book thereby causing a group of 5th grade girls to hide out in the bathroom with said book): "Do you think it is a good decision to question Mrs. Mean 5th Grade Teacher's authority?"

Argumentative 5th Grade Girl (speaking with her hands in an attempt to emphasize her point): "Yes!"

Me (now, not happy at all): "I am going to walk away and pretend this conversation did not happen because a teacher has the authority to run her classroom as if it were her own and not yours. This conversation is over."

Argumentative 5th Grade Girl (clearly upset that her powers over her parents don't work so well on other adults): "But she has no right..."

Me (turning to walk away): "The conversation better be over because if you continue it, you won't like how it ends."

Argumentative 5th Grade Girl (crossing her arms and stamping her feet as she spins her body to storm away): "I can't wait to tell my parents about this."

So, how many hours do you think will pass before the Superintendent calls me?

UPDATE (3/12/09): The mother called to tell me that Argumentative 5th Grade Girl was in trouble at home. The daughter went home to tell about the book incident and it turns out her parents had told her she could not read Twilight until she turned 12. They were upset with her trying to get others to bring it to school. Whew! You never know what is going to happen!


Michel said...

I gotta tell ya, Twilight's a good book. hahaha!

Sounds like she needs a time out. You are clearly a much better person than me! I would have told her that Edward would never like her because she's a snot-nosed brat.

Its best I don't have kids.

Smart Mouth Broad said...

Good grief! I would say I can't believe a child would talk like that but sadly I know it's more common than I like to believe. You can hear it everywhere. Good for you for not caving. I can't wait to hear what the parents have to say. They should get detention.

Kristina P. said...

Excellent. Banning Twilight. I don't think I'm super opposed to that. :)

Jane Devin said...

Okay, I already can't stand the girl or her parents, but I have to say I emphatically side with her on this. I read Pygmallion in the Classroom, Atlas Shrugged, and all the Harrold Robbins novels by the time I was in 4th grade. Reading what is interesting to you individually begets more reading, and short of porn I think teachers who censor or ban materials are short-sighted. So the girls gathered in the bathroom to discuss? So what? Why not have a class discussion about the issues in the book?

That's what I would have said. :-)

Anonymous said...

Oh, I wish I could know this kids parents when she's about 14. (It is my firm opinion that there is NOTHING on the planet that makes you want to drink yourself senseless like a 14-year-old girl).

And although I read all four of the Twilight books and not only believe they are complete dreck (I've read fan fiction that is more well written than those books) and that they give the WRONG message to young girls, I think your 5th grade teacher is going to be sorry she banned the book in her classroom. If word of this censorship gets out to any of the parents, not just Argumentative 5th Grade Girl's, she is going to be eaten alive.

However, that being said, I think YOU handled the kid perfectly.

Beth said...

Michel - :) Some of these kids make me most thankful for my own.

Smart Mouth Broad - I can't wait to hear from the parents, too! And I know I will.

Kristina - Actually, I haven't read Twilight yet. I have no idea what suggestive scenes are included.

Jane - I read a lot of things waaaay before my friends could or would. The problem is all the talk about the sexual inuendos. And remember we live in the Bible belt. There are many parents who prefer to shelter their children for longer than others. I don't think it is the school's place to make those decisions for children. The book is touted as a young ADULT book. Parents should just let their kids read those books at home. Then they can have the discussions that follow. The girls were hiding out during the bathroom during instructional time. We have a HUGE test coming up after Spring Break to determine whether or not our school makes the grade. For some reason, we don't think the Twilight books will be a part of the test. It is just too much of a distraction during this stressful, stressful getting ready for THE test time. That is life under No Child Left Behind. Love it or hate it, it is what it is.

Jan - Actually, I think most of the parents won't oppose the book not being at school for a variety of reasons (listed a few lines above). I have parents who flipped out because a teacher showed the movie Ratatouille. Apparently the cook was never married to the mother who gave birth to his son.... See what I mean?

only a movie said...

I can't stand when kids non-compliant behavior is empowered by entitled parents. Trigger for me.

And thank you for backing up the teacher. I like when that happens.

I can see why the teacher said no to the books, especially during test time. I read them all and enjoyed them, and let my kid read them all last summer. However, I think that they send a horrible message about the nature of teen relationships.

But the other side of that is that I'm not in favor of banning books in general. I read tons of racy books as a kid - on my own time. You are walking a tight rope with this one, but I can tell you're doing it with style!

Unknown said...

Having been raised in the Bible Belt, I know where you're coming from and totally agree with how you handled the spoiled Argumentative 5th Grade Girl by "having your teacher's back."

While not in favor of banning books in general, common sense must prevail. Haven't read the Twilight series, not interested in reading the Twilight series, but think when you talk to the parents... who have probably already called you by now... you should definitely suggest that the child read the book at home and not on school instruction time.

Crazy Charm said...

I agree with the teacher's decision and yours. She's not necessarily banning a book, she's banning something that has become a problem in HER classroom.

Also, in my own very humble opinion, I'm not sure I would want my fifth grader reading the third or fourth books. They got kinda steamy! HA

Beth said...

Gaston Studios - I was ready to tell the parents to have her read the book on her own time and not at school since it had become a disruption. Turns out that she isn't allowed to read it yet. When she told, she got herself in trouble. :)

Crazy Charm - You have it right on the mark. The teacher was not banning a book but merely trying to maintain order in her classroom. Sometimes the littlest things can be such issues!

Unknown said...

HA! Maybe her parents aren't so bad after all!

amy said...

Finally! I can comment. It must be my home laptop. Or my home internet browser. Or maybe just my home. Also, this computer's letter A key keeps sticking, so I hope you don't mind reading words tht may be lacking the letter A.

1) I loved TWILIGHT. The whole series. It ws a mgical escape for me while nursing a newborn. I would stay up until 2 AM reading these books. I don't know what it was about those teen vampires that flirted with sex and sexul situations but stopped just short of taking the plunge (so to speak). They just rocked my world.

But a 10 year old 5th grade girl? Who hates her parents? I recommend Lemmony Snicket for tht.

The other day, while on car rider duty, I had to stop a mother from letting her child--all by herself--cross a lane full of cars/traffic. This mother was far too important to wait in line like the rest of the car riders. She was late! For work! (She screamed and screamed.) Didn't we understnd!

She thought we were just standing around outside to make her later for work and ruin her WHOLE day, and couldn't grasp the concept of traffic safety, no matter what we said. So we just let her rant. And oh, she ranted: she let us know all about it, while walking her child in front of big, dangerous cars like any responsible parent would normally do. When not late for work. Or being very, very important and entitled.

This mom's little 1st grade girl looked stunned and confused. Most likely because she's talked to like that at home. It's all part of the training.

I think parents like Attitude 5th Grade girl and Overly Important Car Rider mom are soooo going to get it in a few years. And if every teacher/administrator/counselor/random stranger could be flies on the wall when it goes down, that would be AWESOME.

Pseudo said...

Awesome job backing up the teacher. And I like a happy ending.

Got something for you over at my place...

Sarah's Blogtastic Adventures said...

I am going to repeat myself again. I dont know how you do it!!

And good for the girls parents for sticking to their rule!!

Jane Devin said...

I feel like a huge hypocrite because there's no way, no how I could ever be a teacher. The good ones, who actually enjoy teaching, have my total, absolute respect.

Still, I read articles like this - - and I find myself emphatically agreeing that intellect is being rewired by the internet. So when I see kids getting interested in books, whether they are Harry Potter or Twilight, I am thrilled.

We read so many "racy" books in the late 60's, early 70's. James & the Giant Peach used the word damn. In a children's book! Anyone remember "Michael & Lisa"? We read didactic tales of teen pregnancy, drug use, child abuse. We laughed at Holden Caufield mistaking an elbow for a boob in a dark movie theater, and we did it in school.

So while I *personally* feel the teacher is kind of short-sighted, I hear ya on the NCLB, the Bible-belt parents, and all the bureaucratic nightmares of the new age school system. I just think it's really a shame.

Beth said...

Gaston Studios - It has been one of the few times the parents have backed the schools. I'm still speechless. Well, not really.

Amy - Glad to hear from you and sorry about your comment issues. My computer can be fussy at times, too. And there are many, many times I want to be a fly on the wall. Well, you know, just able to hear.

Psuedo - I always try to back my teachers. Thanks for noticing.

Sarah - Actually, I was rather proud of the parents. I think they were out of their comfort zone by standing up to their daughter.

Jane - I totally understand where you are coming from in regards to kids and reading. And actually, I don't think this was so much about this girl reading or not reading as it was about her just being difficult. She seems to live to be argumentative. And she can't stand to hear the word "No." Maybe her parents are beginning to realize this.

Sunny said...

What a lovely story! And you are so good at dealing with Ms Argumentative.