1. Why did you enroll your child in mid-September, when you've lived just a few miles from school since July?
a) I think it's fine. Nothing important happens in the first week of school anyway.
b) I didn't know the start date.*
c) I tried homeschooling, but
2. What time does your child go to sleep at night?
a. She's usually asleep by about 9pm
b. One or two am; he can't go to sleep without his TV on and really loves those late-night shows!
c. I tell him to go to bed, but just keeps playing those video games! What am I supposed to do?!*
d. I have no idea
3. When is the first time your child smoked cigarettes?
a. I gave him his first cigarette when he was eleven.
b. Oh, he doesn't smoke; that smell is just my smokes; I can't survive without a butt or two in the car on the way to school, but I keep the window cracked.
c. Are you kidding me?
4. Please rate your child's bartending skills on a scale of 1 to 10.
a. Excellent. He's a great mixer and makes a mean bloody mary!
b. Are you kidding me? She's a pro! You should see how many cans of Bud she can carry at one time!
c. Junior is a chip off the old block; he can keep up with the best of them, serving them up and throwing them back!
d. none of the above
5. When do you plan to stop sleeping with your 6th grader?
a. I do not sleep with my child.
b. It's just me and junior at home here; we do everything together, including sleep. Besides, I'm lonely.
c.. He needs me. I just can't say no. If he didn't sleep in my bed, neither one of us would ever get any sleep.*
6. How many hours of Grand Theft Auto does your child play per day?
b. two to four
d. I have no idea; he/she pretty much never stops.
7. Which of the following describes your homework routine at home?
a. We hit the books immediately after he/she walks through the door.
b. He plays for a while, but we make sure he starts his homework after supper.
c. My child does all of her homework at school; she tells me it's done, and I trust her.*
d. If he'd bring it home, I would help him. It's not my fault he/she forgets it every day.
8. What type of consequences does your child have when he/she gets in trouble at school?
a. None. School is school. It's not really fair to hold it against him here at home.
b. If he gets in trouble at school, I take his favorite video game and only let him play the other ones.
c. I'd punish her, but she really doesn't care, no matter what I do, so I don't even bother anymore.
9. Your child has been failing four subjects for weeks....
a. You're the teacher! Isn't it your job to fix that?
b. The teachers are just out to get him. They always have been.*
c. He's failing??
10. How many hours per week do you spend together?
a. We share a lot of time together; the bar has double bubble from 3 to 7, and we are really getting great at pool!
b. As much as possible-I really want him to know that we are a tight family unit.
c. We do everything together. He'd rather hang out with me than kids his own age. We're best friends.*
11. What kind of chores does your child have at home?
a. She has to feed the dog, but that's about it.
b. She has a few chores to do each week.
c. She has chores but does a crappy job, so I just do them myself, rather than fight with her.*
d. Being a kid is hard. I don't think it's fair to make her do chores that her dad and I can do.
12. Why is your child absent so often?
b) He's so smart, he only needs to go a couple of days a week. Besides, we're busy.
c) I can't afford a babysitter for her younger siblings.
d) My child is only absent a few days per year.
*Excuses I've actually heard from parents over the years, believe it or not.
-None of these situations are issues for my current students; I'm being facetious (though each of these has come up in my many years of teaching.)
-I am not saying that every struggling student has a parent at fault; I know that there are sometimes uncontrollable medical or emotional issues behind problems at school and that perfectly wonderful parents sometimes have extremely difficult children.
-I have compassion for parents who don't have the skills for dealing with difficult children, and I respect those who ask for help and take steps to become better parents. I have little tolerance for the others.