Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Vexed Again.

I've been out of the teaching biz for about a year now. In that year, I think I've managed to forget a lot. The children's ungrateful natures have faded in my memory to innocent, playful ignorance. The fussy parents with their demanding excuses for their enabled children are just a quiet chitter chatter of requests in my mind....even humorous, they are. The constant backstabbing and nitpicking of working with 98% women is just laughable silliness in my mind's eye. The evil, crazy principal is merely - okay, I haven't lost my mind. She's still insane devil spawn. But the rest of it has diminished greatly. Until today.

Today when I decided to hesitantly dip my big toe back into the waters of teaching, something bit me. I swear, you can't just enjoy teaching a teeny-weeny bit and not have somebody step on you with the "oh, you're just a teacher" mentality. I digress. This summer I decided to take on a few students to tutor. Just enough for me to enjoy a little bit of teaching, but not enough to feel like a job. This afternoon was to be my first hour of teaching since February. Notice the phrase "was to be."

I kind of knew before it happened. Just from talking to the mom on the phone and meeting her once in person, I knew I had something of a flake on my hands. But there are worse things than flakiness in the world. Sometimes it's even endearing. She was very excited about my tutoring services and called me more than a month ago to set things up. She brought me work samples, test scores, the whole nine. After going through his work, I spent a little while setting up a lesson plan for him and was ready to go. Today. Four o'clock.

I drove Piglet to his babysitter's house and arrived back home at 3:50, lest my young prodigy arrive early. I cleaned the kitchen table and set up his lessons. I lectured Gus about company manners. 4:00 came. I cleaned the counters. 4:05. I called my friend/babysitter to consult. She said to give it until 4:15. I checked my email and consulted with Eddie. She was even pushing for a twenty minute delay. I was getting edgy. Pacing the house, looking out the windows. Nothing. 4:15, I picked up the phone and dialed. A child answered.

Me: Hi, may I speak to Wanda?

Kid: She's unavailable right now, may I take a message?

Me: Is this Billy?

Kid: Yes, ma'am.

Me: Hi, Billy. I'm Mrs. Pigs, I'm supposed to tutor you today at 4? I was wondering if you were coming.

Kid: Oh.....really? I'm sorry, my mom didn't tell me....she's asleep.

Me: Um...okay. Can you check with her and find out if you'll be coming today? My little boy is at the babysitter and I need to know whether or not to go get him.

Kid: I'm sorry, I don't think we're going to be able to make it today.

Me: Well, okay then. Can you have your mom call me when she, um, wakes up?

Kid: Yes, ma'am.

So. You tell me what's up here. I've got theories out the ying yang. Well, I have three theories. One, she's a drunk and she passed out and he's used to covering for her. Two, she had a medical situation, like a migraine, and took medicine and fell asleep, forgetting about me. Three, she's just a rude flake. It's almost 9:00pm and she still hasn't called me back. I'm going to call her tomorrow morning if I haven't heard from her.

What are your theories? What would you ask of her? I'm paying my friend to babysit Piglet, so I feel that she should at least pay me half of my fee to cover that. I didn't state a policy on that beforehand, because my fading school memory forgot that many people don't value teachers as actual professionals and have no problems skipping meetings, tutoring, following through on promises, etc. What exactly should I say to her?

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