This week’s blog post is by The Paternity Test co-host Matt Boresi, who lives in the Edgewater Glen neighborhood of Chicago with his wife (“Professor Foster”) and their 3-year-old daughter Viva, whose teachers had better get a landing pad for the family parental helicopters.
We try to look out for our kids. We try to be informed consumers. We try to help our children get ahead in the world. We have more leisure time than most previous generations. We tend to have our kids older and have a surplus of degrees. This can all add up to engaged parents looking out for their kids’ best interest and helping them navigate their education … or it can add up to paranoid, keyed-up, know-it-all parents constantly scrutinizing their kids’ instructors.
So, which one are you? The caring, modern parent or the helicopter? Or maybe the stage parent? Or maybe the parent who freaks out on the sidelines at sporting events? Perhaps even the pearl-clutching Maude Flanders-type, flipping out at school board meetings? You probably don’t know which one you really are, but it’s a safe bet your children’s teachers have an opinion about it – they’ve seen you at your most nervous, at your most concerned and probably at your most loathsome.
Here’s a quick and easy quiz, dead-tree media style, to help you figure out just what vibe you’re giving off to the people who watch your kid after you send them off with a lunch and a backpack.
Add up the number value of the answers as you go, and after the questions – boom – the truth. Remember, antagonize a waiter, they spit in your food – so do you really want to tick off your kids’ teacher?
You’ve been called into a parent-teacher conference over your child’s bad behavior, you open with:
a) Do you like coffee? I brought you a latte. (0)
b) I understand there’s been a situation. (1)
c) Surely there’s been some mistake. My little snowflake flutters so gently. (2)
d) *reaching for wallet* Perhaps you need to have a private conversation with my friend … whomever is on the five. (3)
e) *slapping the teacher with gloves* How dare you! (4)
Your child brings home some Science homework regarding evolution. You say to the teacher:
a) Please let me know if I can bring in some healthy dinosaur-shaped snacks. (0)
b) Don’t let the haters get you down. (1)
c) I appreciate you teaching the controversy. (2)
d) I’m sorry for your soul. (3)
e) Please let me know if I can bring in some healthy apostles-riding-dinosaurs-shaped snacks. (4)
Your child did not get the part they wanted in the school play. You say to the director:
a) Please let me know if you need any parents to work as stagehands. (0)
b) Break a leg! (1)
c) I’d like to go over the results of the callbacks with you. (2)
d) Clearly you have no eye for real talent! (3)
e) Have your car take me to the airport. Mr. Corleone is a man who insists on hearing bad news at once. (4)
You are in the stands at a soccer match. Your child’s coach frequently hears you shouting:
a) Who needs a break for some Snackables and Sunny D? (0)
b) As long as everyone is playing fair and having a good time, score ain’t nothin’ but a number! (1)
c) We’re all bored, but we believe in you! (2)
d) Sweep the leg, Johnny! (3)
e) This is what I get for signing my kid up for a joyless, scoreless, Euro-nonsense sport like soccer! No wonder Greece wants out of the EU – they probably want to play a real sport! (4)
It’s time to give your child’s teacher a gift. Do you give them:
a) A bottle of craft spirits – a hardworking teacher needs to kick back sometimes. (0)
b) A gift certificate to a local Starbucks – everyone deserves bitter coffee and a Diana Krall CD. (1)
c) Homemade candy apples – everyone deserves caramel from an unlicensed kitchen. (2)
d) A half-bottle of spirits, the other half of which you drank yourself. (3)
e) A copy of Scott Walker’s “Unintimidated: A Governor’s Story.” (4)
0-5: You got it bad. So bad, you’re hot for teacher – and they’re hot for your enthusiastic support!
5-10: No one is pushing you out of parent-teacher conferences for eating crackers.
11-15: There are worse parents, but there are better parents. Like your child, you should probably watch and learn.
15-20: Start preparing that spare room for homeschooling, you’re likely to be asked to leave the District soon.
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