Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Whose Phone Line Is It Anyway?

The mother of the student Jeffery Grant (don’t panic, not even close to his real name) returned my phone call to her yesterday. The problem was that I had no idea who Jeffery Grant was. Unfortunately, before I could suggest that she had the wrong number she tore into me.

The mother was quite upset. She demanded an explanation as to why I was contacting her about her son if he wasn’t my student. She finished her tongue lashing with, “I’m not even sure that’s legal.” Where do you even start with a statement like that, especially when she failed to comprehend that I DID NOT CALL HER!

I may blame her for being insane, but I don’t really blame her for being upset. Our phone system is such a POS that this could actually be the work of shoddy technology. A few years ago the district bought these wireless jobs, so that we can carry them around with us and be in constant contact. It’s kind of like an overbearing spouse wanting to know where you are at all times. But hey, throwing down thousands of dollars on such a device makes perfect sense seeing how I only have forty-five minutes during the instructional day when I’m not with students and can take phone calls. Wait a second….

Anyway, she was not getting it because she wanted to know if the teacher who called her was contacting her about Jeffery’s grades. The second verse was the same of the first: I didn’t have a clue. She then had a brilliant idea. She told me to get on my computer and look up Jeffery’s grades.

One: why would I have access to a student whom I’ve never heard of before on my computer? Did she mistake me for a wicked witch and my computer as a magic cauldron? Sadly, she may have. Two: how is “calling the parent of a student you don’t have” a felony in her eyes, but me divulging the grades of student I don’t have is no problema? I guess Jeffery’s grades must have been a matter of security.

Being ever the compromiser I gave her the extension of Jeffery’s counselor, so that she could go through more proper channels. Then, I took the batteries out of my phone.

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