Jan 272013


Ah, more to our Snape Saga

Those of you who have been reading for a while know that DD has an especially difficult teacher whom we have nick-named Snape.  He is an exceptionally prim francophone, looks a bit like the actor Damian Lewis, and clearly values his sense of OCD-fueled dignity far more than we Americans are willing to tolerate.  I am sure, like most teachers, he means well.  DD finds him fascinating and vacillates between bemused amusement and horror in their dealings.  But, in the end, his particular brand of crazy does not co-exist well with DD’s brand of crazy.  The result is occasional fireworks in the classroom and an uncomfortable situation for all concerned.  Early in the year we had a conference with him.  I can’t say it really went well.  But, after that, things went into a quiet simmer.  A ceasefire of sorts was holding, and we had begun to have hopes that the rest of the year might leak by without further parental involvement.  Alas, it was too good to last.

A couple weeks ago DD and Snape had a run in.  Apparently at the beginning of class he just went off on her.  She was boggled.  He got in her face and she giggled nervously and he shouted “Shut UP SHUT UP SHUT UP! Is that proper English! ?” at her and made a very nice, shy boy walk her to the surveillant’s office (surveillant = supervisor, think yard duty/hall monitor).  There she sat and answered questions about English for the French Speaking surveillant , who wanted to tell a boy that he had a “unique” hair cut.

On the way home that day we noticed one of DD’s friends needed a ride.  As we drove, I listened to the two of them sit and giggle and try to figure out why Snape had gotten so angry.  They formed several possible scenarios.  But, it was obvious to me that neither of them had a clue.  The incident seemed to blow over and the next class, however.  DD and Snape even had some positive interactions; he was pleasantly surprised at her ability to explain tidal movements and other scientific aspects of geography.  After asking around DD learned that some of the kids guessed Snape thought DD had been mocking him the day before.  It seems she had chuckled when he used an incorrect English phrase “Today we are going to make some History!”  (she had thought Make History is a fun, punny phrase!)  Still, she was unsure if that was what set him off, and since it had blown over she thought it bet to let it go.

So then fast forward to Thursday.  DD’s group went immediately from English to Snape’s history class.  The students were still interested in their reading (To Kill a Mockingbird) so Snape was out of sorts.  He stalked around the room ripping books from kids’ hands and railing against them for not being ready for History.  When he he got to DD, she turned to put her book away, but he didn’t like that.  He demanded to know why she wasn’t paying attention to History.  Being DD, she replied truthfully “well, it isn’t very interesting”.   DOH!  That sent him into a rage.  He took her to the assistant principal’s office and, by all accounts, threw a huge ragey hissy-fit.

I got a nastygram  from the assistant principal that mentioned both incidents, and DD gets detention.  But the odd thing is that the nastygram is almost entirely about how DD doesn’t want to learn French!  Er, What?  1) it isn’t true and 2) we have asked for extra help for her in French all year long and gotten no response!  The school habitually offers extra help to students who need to learn English, but the non-French speakers are on their own this year.  SO, I sent back a letter to that effect.  ‘Yes, no problem on the detention, she shouldn’t be rude in class, but, can we get a little help up here with the French?  Also, can you say Personaility Conflict Boyz and Girlz?’  (yeah, ok, I was a bit more professional, but that was the gist).  Sigh.  So far, no response.  But, I guess time will tell.

The third in command at the school is Mr. L (We haven’t figured out a Harry Potter nickname for him, yet).  He usually deals with the surveillants and discipline issues.  Later that day he sought DD out.  “What did you actually say to Snape, he was REALLY angry!”  DD told him.  He shrugged, sighed and said “mmmmm yeah.  Ok.”  Mr. L has a pretty good sense of perspective.  He gets that kids hitting each other and stealing is a big deal.  Kids sitting in the wrong hallway because it is cold and/or making the occasional saucy remark to a teacher, just not worth all the bother.  I don’t know what he made of this situation, but we rather like Mr. L!

Later in the day, when we went over the situation with DD I told her “DD, you *know* not to antagonize the man.  You really don’t need to be the one taking the brunt of his wrath!” She responded with “Yeah, but I can certainly take it better than some of the  other kids he picks on”.  I quizzed her a bit. Apparently, she feels that he is sometimes a terrible bully who gets in the face of some of the most vulnerable kids in class.  She figures if she can occasionally deflect his ire, she is doing a service.  I know a little about the histories of some of the kids she named.   She is right, *they* certainly don’t need this crap, either.  I am not sure whether to be proud or aghast.  So, I will settle for both.

AND as a slice of life in our household: smack in the middle of this animated conversation about all of this on the way home, Dear Son suddenly breaks into a gap in the talking with “OH!  I figured out that X-ray vision is just light refracted through panes of glass!”  Um First, DS,  NO.  Second WTF?   “Sorry,” he said sheepishly, “I meant to wait 10 seconds but it just popped out!”


Um, yeah.  Life with the American Paris Family.

  One Response to “Snape Bent Out of Shape”

  1. Perhaps DS was trying to break the tension. He was uncomfortable and just said what would he thought would change the subject.

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