Friday, October 10, 2014

If it's Tuesday, Parents Must Be Waiting to Hear from Me

In an unprecedented stroke of genius, Carmen Fariña and UFT decided that Tuesday was the optimal time to call parents. To paraphrase Wimpy, "I'll gladly call you Tuesday about an incident today."

Because the best way to encourage or reinforce something positive is to call the parent a week later. Perhaps it will have more significance as it fades from your student's memory. And if some troublesome thing occurs, it's best to let it mellow until Tuesday, since there's no chance any student would repeat troublesome behavior simply because there were no consequences.

Clearly there's no such thing as urgency in the UFT Contract. The important thing is to go down some list, call parents A, B. C and D whether or not its merited, and if calls are indeed merited, to hope for the best until call time on Tuesday. Timing's important in music, perhaps, but means nothing in human relations.

Perish forbid teachers should decide how to spend their time. Doubtless they'd choose to go drinking or making trouble, because no teacher has ever contacted a parent until Mulgrew and Fariña instructed them to. Thank goodness they finally decided that parent need to be contacted for 35 minutes every Tuesday afternoon. Otherwise some teachers would spend 34 minutes, while others spent 36. Worse, some teachers might make a several calls one week and none the next simply because they thought they knew what was best. How the hell would teachers make such decisions? What could they possibly know about classroom management?

Now that they have Mulgrew and Fariña to let them know that parents are only home and interested in hearing from them on Tuesday afternoons, teachers can set aside their silly notions that children were unpredictable, had free will, or other such nonsense. I, for one, am going to instruct my students to make trouble and progress only on Tuesdays, since it's been decided that this is the time their parents wish to hear from me. The rest of the week, I'll make it a point to avoid breakthroughs, and make sure that the teenagers I see behave predictably.

I thank goodness our leaders have such insights. It would never have occurred to me to set aside one period of time per week for parental contact. Thank goodness they didn't simply trust teachers to do what they thought was best. It's gratifying to know we have leaders who always know what we should do and when we should do it. After all, once they start treating us like adults, who knows what could happen?
blog comments powered by Disqus