Your child has a summer assignment? Cry me fucking a river…

I can hear the faint, falsetto of Timberlake now, as I begin to type this post.

I just finished reading two posts on summer assignments from school. The first post, I could feel my blood boiling as  this mother rambled on about how her daughter in grade school had a math book to complete for a grade at the start of the new school year. Her solution to the situation was to let her daughter not do the work, thought about doing it herself, but instead opted for a more honest approach of emailing the teacher about the situation and accepting the consequences. Now props for the honesty and reaching out to communicate with the teacher. The daughter ended up earning a C for the first grading period as penalization for the incomplete assignment, but would have had an A if  all work had been completed.  As a teacher and a mother, I just wanted to scream. All the responses were positive about this mother standing her ground, and not one word was said about what is left unspoken time and time again.

As a teacher, I am constantly expected to make up for the lack of parenting that often occurs in many homes today, but when the education system asks the parents to continue on with the job of teaching one’s children and valuing education, it’s ok to just not do it? You’ve got to be fucking kidding me.

We all do realize that summer vacation was created many moons ago so that children could help their families with the planting and harvesting of crops, right? How many of these kids nowadays are a tilling the soil, planting the seed, and reaping what they sow? Summer vacation, while I love it dearly in many ways, is a pain in the ass as an educator for the simple fact that there is such a loss of retention on the student’s part; it is not even funny. Year after year, it’s the same story.

“I never learned that.”

“Really Bobbi-Sue? Because I have the lesson plans on the teacher database from your 8th grade teacher’s second semester, and I can clearly see that parts of speech was covered for almost an entire grading period. And now, you want me to believe that you have never heard of a fucking noun?” Sorry, teachers don’t swear. That’s poor form.

You mean to tell me, that assigning work over the summer is not ensuring that your child is a fan of school? That you might have to do some work and figure out how to make it meaningful and fun? Relevant? Why don’t you step into my shoes for two seconds, and try, just try, to figure out how to do that.

Oh, you didn’t go to school to be a teacher? Well, I didn’t go to school to be a parent to the 120 students I see on a daily basis either. I didn’t go to school to have my evaluation affected because my students test poorly, despite all my efforts and progress in class, because their parents let them stay up til the wee hours of the night texting, snapchatting, or playing video games and fell asleep in the middle of the damn test.

You don’t want your kid to have to do math homework over summer break?  Take a little gander at this video from PBS and reacquaint yourself with the fact that America is greatly falling behind other countries. In Math we’re not even in the top five or close to it. We’re smack dab in the middle of the pack.  We teachers don’t have enough time in the school year to do it all, and the large summer vacation with nothing educational being done, or skills being reinforced, is not helping.

I fully understand a parent’s frustration and annoyance at such a task. I applaud this mom’s voicing of her opinion, standing up for what she believes in, teaching her daughter what she feels is a valuable lesson, but damnit, I have to do the same for mine. My kids will do their assignments. I will work with them, and do my best to make the situation relevant, meaningful, and important. They might hate it anyway. They might hate me anyway, but that’s my job. I’m not just a teacher, I’m a mom.


About the author: Patricia Wood – An educator since 2004, I now find myself as a stay at home mom of my two toddler daughters. Happily married, I spend my time chasing my girls and recently my dreams of becoming a writer all while trying to be a stellar wife and “fly” mom. There are successes and failures, and a lot of 90. If you like what you read you can also check out my blog at

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