In a moment of sleep-weary weakness I’ve put my hand up to help in Miss6’s classroom once a week. Because, you know, I’ve got a great track record helping with homework.
To make it worse, it’s for maths.
Tracey, of course, thinks it’s a great idea.
“You think so?” I said doubtfully. Given the difficulty I have historically helping with my kids’ homework, I have reservations.
But Tracey, as always, was very upbeat about the whole thing.
“You’re never too old to learn,” she assured me.
I arrived hoping 20 years in the banking industry would have prepared me for year one maths. I was assigned the touch screen and had to guide the kids in placing five random numbers between zero and twenty-one into ascending order.
In the end, it wasn’t the maths which was the problem. And when I say problem, I’m talking about three specific things.
Firstly, in an effort to keep the noise down from my corner of the classroom I introduced the concept of snapplause to the groups. This was, I thought, a really fun thing for a parent-teacher-helper to come up with. And, if I’m honest, it was warmly taken up by the kids.
But not as warmly as the second problem I had, which was I also had the kids high-fiving me when they got the right number order. This was, in fact, going especially well…until I flinched when one of them got a little too enthusiastic.
Seriously, it was like a school of sharks had got a whiff of blood. Suddenly we went from get-the-right-answer-and-high-five-the-dad to get-the-right-answer-so-you-got-a-shot-at-making-the-dad-cry-out-in-pain-when-you-bitch-slap-his-hand.
One kid took a run up.
But this was pleasant compared to the third problem of the day.
“Okay, who’s ne…,” I started, “…gawk…next….hkkt…”
I couldn’t take a breath. Self-preservation had subconsciously kicked in and taken control my body and had shut down my lungs.
Eyes bulging I looked down at the six kids I was teaching. Two had collapsed onto their backs, three had hands over their mouths and one was grinning up at me like he’d just passed the bar exam rather than a rather ill wind.
“Seriously, buddy, what on Earth did you have for breakfast” I asked the smiler when the air finally cleared. “Did a little leak out? Are you sure? Do you need to go to the bathroom?”
Which was when the whole thing came to an end and I was given the all clear by the teacher to wrap things up. By this stage – nearly an hour after I’d started – my snapplause had evolved into something rather marvellous. I did the big Z – snap! snap! snap! – and looked down at the sea of faces below me.
Which was when the whole snapplause thing went sour for me as well and why I’ve listed it as a problem.
“You’re not cool,” a sweet little girl told me.
Week one and they’re onto me. This is not looking well for the thirty or forty weeks still to go.
But to make matters worse there was no relief for me at home.
“You just need some practice,” Tracey grinned at me like a kid who’d just done an industrial strength fart. “You’re about to get some more practice.”
It turns out Miss8 has volunteered me for her class too.
I just hope the kids in grade four lay off the bloody fruit.
If you enjoyed this post please share, like or comment
“Raising a family on little more than laughs.”