Wednesday, July 15, 2015

E. T. and the Teacher Phone Home

As many of my former students will fondly remember, I was always kind enough to call home if they fell behind in my history class.

(You don’t have to thank me! I did it for your own good!)

It didn’t always help. Still, it almost never hurt.

Eventually, a friend convinced me to start making positive phone calls home too. This turned out to be a pleasure, as much fun for me as it was for parents who received the calls lauding sons or daughters.

One evening, however, I placed a memorable call to A----’s parents. In this case, mom and dad had been born in India. I simply wanted to tell them their daughter was one of the best students I had ever had. I don’t remember exactly what I said, but I know I raved. I told Mrs. J. that A---- was one of the hardest workers I had ever had in my twenty years [at that time] in teaching.

“I’m sure you must be very proud,” I added.

Mom admitted she was.  

I laughed and said A---- wasn’t perfect, just your typical teen. “I had to get on her a little yesterday,” I laughed once more. “I think she likes one of the boys who sits beside her in class.”

“Wonderful girl,” I concluded, “I just want to tell you I love having your daughter in class.”

The next day, at the start of history, A---- exclaimed, “Mr. Viall, you got me grounded last night!”

“WHAT!” I said in disbelief. “I told your mom you were one of the best students I ever had!”

“I know,” she smiled resignedly. “She said it was because I was flirting with a boy.”

Coming soon, whether the world is ready or not.

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