PATRICK WAS NOTICEABLY distraught when he got into the car after school today. When Kerri asked what was wrong he informed her that he had received a punishment from his teacher that afternoon. He had gotten in trouble! That comes two days after Julia got into the car in tears because her teacher had kind of 'yelled' at her. Without going all My-Kids-Are-So-Perfect on you, I should say that Patrick and Julia almost never get into trouble at school. In fact, by all accounts the teachers seem to think they are polite, respectful, hardworking students (don't worry, they are big disappointments to us in other areas).
Patrick had a note written in his carnet (kind of a big deal in France) because the teacher felt he was 'playing around' a bit too much in the minutes before class ended this afternoon. Something about pretending his ruler was a gun and getting into a faux shootout with some friends. Patrick was quite distraught because he felt he was unfairly targeted and it was, in fact, other kids who were horsing around much more than he. His punishment was to write 'I will not play around in class' 50 times on a sheet of paper (yes, it's still kind of like the 1950s around here). Later this evening when he told me about his situation I simply gave him some good fatherly advice: "try not to do it again...unless you got some good laughs out of it from your friends -- in which case it was totally worth it. Hi-five!"
Julia's situation revolved around homework. Actually, to be more specific, it revolved around Julia not doing a piece of homework. The teacher asked to see some work and Julia was confused because she didn't know it was supposed to be done at home. She told the teacher she thought they were going to do it in class and the teacher looked at her and said, "Well, you thought wrong." This, of course, was devastating to Julia who explained to us that she nearly started to cry right there in the room. Later that evening, when talking with her about the incident I once again decided a little fatherly advice was appropriate. "Julia," I said. "The next time your teacher tells you that 'you thought wrong' try to have a snappy comeback ready -- something like, 'Oh, you mean like how you thought wrong this morning when you thought your shirt matched your pants!'"
Zing!! Oh, Snap!!
That's what I'm hear for, folks. Good, solid, advice for the kiddos.