Perhaps the Parent Imperfect’s recent silence has had something to do with the arrival of Vince’s 14th report card from the nation’s oldest public school. That’s enough to silence even the most imperfect of parents. The only good thing that can be said about the moment is that the arrival of the 14th means that there are only 16 more (assuming Vince remains at the school through an eventual graduation). The midpoint approaches.
Prepare yourselves, families new to the hallowed halls: This may not be your elementary school report card. I’m sure that there is a good reason for the Boston Latin School to have five terms per year, rather than four quarters or two semesters, but for us it means that a pall descends over our home one additional time each year. The pall eventually lifts, in preparation for mid-term “progress reports” that seem to occur within days of the arrival of grade reports, but we have no illusion that we are doing anything about the situation that creates the pall. We believe we’ve tried every possible way to address the issue without giving grades an importance that they don’t deserve, but we are more than open to your suggestions.
As the PI blustered and babbled about report card #3 or #4, Vince memorably observed:
Do you think I like this? Of course I don’t, but why are you making such a big deal out of it? When I was getting good grades at the Hernández, everything was about all the other things that are important. Now when my grades aren’t so good, suddenly they are, like, the most important thing in the world. Why?
These words, said with the emotion that has consistently been in these conversations, took the air out of the bluster at that moment, but the hot air re-enters the conversation with the arrival of each report. Grades improve, then they don’t. New schemes of child support, bribery, house arrest, private investigation, professional intervention, blackmail and extortion come and go, but the essential problem remains relatively unscathed.
Teacher quality and styles of teaching and learning at BLS certainly shape the problem, but it’s too easy to locate all of the blame “out there.” We have heard very clearly from day one that, “BLS is not for everyone,” and we continue to hear it as we pass day 500 of the 7:40AM homeroom bell. Even as the pall recurs, Vince builds flaming barricades against the idea that he would pursue any of the alternatives available to him, and we’ve never been able to come up with one that prepared us to storm the barricades. And so we near the halfway point (maybe), as in need of good ideas as ever.