home for the long weekend

A is home for the long weekend. It is also his b-day weekend.

Yesterday, A's school (BTBSA) held parent-teacher conferences and I took the day off work to travel there and participate.

I also got to sit in on A's classes. I was honestly surprised with the quality of the teaching. The teachers seemed great, amazingly well qualified and engaging. After classes was an abnormally long (compared to A's normal schedule) lunch totaling two hours, then the parent-teacher conferencing.

The conferencing was done in the athletic center, conducted like a cross between a job fair and speed dating session on academic steroids. All the teachers were lined up in rows, divided and labeled with placards in the special school font, by subject, and every eight minutes, a bell would go off (that was the parents' cue to get the hell out and on to the next teacher).

Furious handshakes. Look down at the schedule for the next teacher and time. Switch.

I made it to the coffee/apple cider/cookies station several times.

I observed parents behaving badly.

One parent could not erase a frown off her face. She was Asian, impeccably dressed in Textiles and Designs You Clearly Cannot Get In The U.S. Her face was very long, and very intricately painted (red being the marquee color), so the frown effect made her look like a dragon lady who had smelled something seriously foul. She sat next to me during Chinese class. I was scared. Apparently, she did not approve of A's Mandarin teacher. Maybe the teacher was too "yo, homegirl!" too "country bumpkin" and messy-haired for this sophisticated Hong Kong mother. I don't know. I love A's Mandarin teacher. I love that as soon as she walked in to her classroom and immediately began asking her students questions in Mandarin, they answered in their new language without hesitation. She could have the Chinese equivalent of a Roadside At The Hicksville Trailer Truck Stop Cafe accent, but I love that she is energetic, and can talk to me in English and smile at the same time. Some things just don't need translation.

Another mother, a waify blond-haired thing in A Very Serious Shade of Purple, without saying anything or introducing herself to me, leaned over and looked at my name card and deliberately began flipping pages in her copy of the school facebook. She was clearly searching for a name that matched mine.

I was finally able to meet A's favorite teacher -- his "G-d" of English Literature, the Leader and Middle Ground, the "agon" in the struggle (neither "prot" nor "ant"), the self-efffacing, the mu yet the all-knowing, the O Captain My Captain who will lead the young ones to The Truth. His name is Mr. Magnificent. "Your son is veddy tall," he told me with a smile. "And I am veddy short."

I swear that was the juice of my meeting with Mr. Magnificent.

The surprise of the day was finding a homeschool student from A's homeschool group in New York, now at BTBSA. The homeschooler is named M. She is one of the anti-Darwins, but I guess A might take comfort knowing that someone, a vestigial relation from his small educational universe, evolved sufficiently to land in his new school.

I have cake to buy. Have a good weekend, everyone.


Becky said...

Happy belated birthday to A :)

la Maitresse said...

Thank you!