Maldito Stereotypes

One of things that causes me anxiety, as an educator, is when I get a note from the assistant principal requesting that I call a parent. It’s a roll of the dice as to if I’m going to be accused of not doing enough, or recruited to do more. I fear the overly protective parent as much as I do an absentee one.

I have this student, who has already checked out and couldn’t give a shit about school let alone the 5 Pillars of Islam. She is quiet and calculated in what she says, if she chooses to say it, and randomly participates based on whether I circulate around the room or make my presence known through piercing eye contact. Additionally, she has an extremely absurd addiction to her cell phone like most her peers, and uses it in class as she sees fit – because you know there’s nothing more important than saying that you are bored in class and that school sucks.  For some reason, that is worth conveying only with a higher dose of profanity and more misspellings. She’s failing my class and I write her up frequently; I don’t even tell her anymore.

Hence the call…

Again, I work with a population that is split between Native Americans and Hispanics. I work hard to dispel myths and stereotypes across the board, across cultures. But, yesterday it happened where it was served up without subtlety. I gave myself an internal pep talk and dialed the number, secretly hoping it would be disconnected and I could avoid the neurosis from the other end. Alas, someone answered, but it was not a voice at first it was the discordant blare of disillusionment, arcade sound effects, bells, and the droop of failure.  I had already said hello twice and was waiting, impatiently to start the conversation. She finally responded, her voice came through, but was trailed by the murmur of indistinguishable conversation and white noise. She seemed distracted by what I can assume was the lure of a big pay off, exaggerated animations, and flashing lights drawing her in with their hypnotic, pulsating power . It was evident she was at the casino, not 4 miles away. I asked her if it was a bad time to talk to her about her daughter to which she replied “yes.”  She asked me if could call back in an hour, I said “no, I’ll be out of the classroom.” I called her back today, and she was drunk, not even 12 pm.

Yep, stereotype confirmed.

She then asked me how to be a parent…


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