Monday, September 8, 2014

School Projects 101

Dear My Child’s Science Teacher,

You have assigned a project. I struggle to get past these words because I feel that any fellow parent would know them to be against the Parental Code of Good Form. 

Let me start by saying I appreciate you and the instruction you provide my child. I promise to always assume you are telling the truth about my child’s behavior and the merit of her grades. When she accuses you of not alerting her to the inevitability of a test, I’ll back you up. Yours is a hard job and I do not entertain the idea that I could do your job with anything but disastrous results. 

But you’ve assigned a project, ma’am, and I cannot imagine why I should be punished thus.

An Earth model to be completed in something other than plaster, other than styrofoam, leaning steadily away from clay, and containing the various layers of Earth parts that I’m ashamed to admit I don’t remember from my own school days. I think there’s ‘Crust’ and maybe something called ‘Mantle’. From there it gets hazy and I think ‘Magma’ but that might be from the chapter on Volcanoes. 

What precious rare substance are we to use to complete this Herculean feat? I briefly entertained the idea of an Earth model made entirely of cake, but was informed that you require this project to stay at school for a number of weeks, making edible materials out of the question. (Also in question was my ability to make the required cake layers in correct shape and without scorch marks, as my daughter lovingly pointed out.) 

Projects are thinly veiled attempts to punish the parent population for inattention to their children’s homework, I’m quite sure. You can tell I didn’t review the Earth plates with my child and her test scores reflect my indifference. After all, I learned this once upon a time, long ago, and no longer need to know the way the Earth works. I have Google. 

My daughter is nearing hysteria because her friends already have completed Earth model projects, or are soon awaiting their delivery from . Meanwhile, we struggle to find the unicorn fur and leprechaun gold needed to complete this design. My anxiety won’t be alleviated when we decide upon a material, however. Be it gummy bear heads or empty lip balm tubes, I won’t be able to assist my child in this scientific endeavor. 

The delivery date grows ever closer, mum, and I have no more ideas than when you first set the  assignment. 

I was born without a Crafting instinct. My therapist says I don’t need to be ashamed, but I’d be much obliged if you’d keep this information to yourself. I don’t color inside lines, I cannot make an animal out of cotton balls, and I burn myself every time I use a hot glue gun. When My Child was assigned a Kindergarten project, I assisted her with the ‘please ask your parents for help’ portion. I superglued two fake flowers to my hands and one to my hair near the temple. I’m no longer allowed to buy glitter in the state of Tennessee, and I don’t want to talk about it. 

Sure, we know the kids are supposed to build this Earth of their own accord. *Wink* But you’ve obviously forgotten the shame you feel as a mother when your child’s project is the only one without professional paint detailing and handblown glass flowers. I’m happy to provide markers, empty milk cartons, toilet paper tubes, and whatever else can be found in my house. I’m not even adverse to visiting the Craft Store if given enough time and Xanax to procure the necessary supplies. 

The fact remains that I don’t know what to do with the assembled components. I’ve tried deep breathing, visualization, and Jackson Pollock-esque techniques to achieve the artistic vision my child has set forth. Alas, it has never, and seems unlikely to ever result in, success. My own parents sent me to a school run by hippies. We grew flowers and perhaps other vegetation not approved by the Board of Education. We sang songs in many languages about peace and acceptance. We recycled during the Reagan administration. This was not a school of projects, but of feelings and unbridled creativity. To make an Earth, I would have painted my fingers blue and green and cupped a handful of alien figurines. I would’ve recited William Blake and received top marks for my philosophical interpretation that we are no more than pawns in the hands of a giant child goddess.

It’s of little wonder that without Craft nature or nurture, I can be of no help to My Poor Daughter. Her grade and her scientific future rest in your hands, oh Science Teacher. I therefore beseech you to leave off the projects for all eternity, forever and ever, selah, unless you are prepared to employ broader minded views of What Constitutes an Earth Model. 

I’ll get the alien figurines ready. 

1 comment:

Melissa Coleman said...

Well done, you! I thoroughly enjoyed reading about your plight. I've been thinking about blogging, but I have no clue as to how it all works. Any advice on dipping my toe in? But even before that, do people follow blogs? If so, I'd like to follow yours, but I don't see how to on my phone. What to do?