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Not the Math Homework AGAIN, Rover!
“Class, take out your Math homework”. Johnnie immediately goes into the panic mode; fidgeting, he starts digging in his book bag as though he’s been assigned to dig a tunnel from NY City to Chicago. He’s pulling out Science homework, Social Studies homework, Reading homework, Language Arts homework, crumbled up assignments from yesterday, last week, last month, last school year, just on and on….a barrage of wadded, folded, crumbled, soiled never ending papers, one after the next. This continues until Johnnie finally realizes that the teacher is watching him and has been calling his name trying to get his attention for the past 3 minutes.
“Johnnie, you don’t have your homework again, do you?”
“Yes ma’am. I did it on the bus and put it in my book bag. I know I put it in here. Chester saw me when I did it; DIDN’T YOU CHESTER?”
Chester looks around dumbfounded like a deer caught in the headlights, daring not to lie to the teacher.
By this time, the rest of the class already knows what’s getting ready to happen next; and Chester didn’t need the teacher calling his mom, too. Besides, he’s trying to stay out of trouble so he can get the next PS6!
The call is made. It’s time to get little Johnnie’s mom in for a parent-teacher conference in an effort to nip this bad habit in the bud. Surely, two mature adults putting their heads together can strategize and outmaneuver the antics of a 9 year old.
The conference is scheduled to take place in 3 days (72 hours). Yeah, that’s right; within 72 hours, Johnnie’s math homework shenanigans will be brought to a screeching halt…..ended, stopped, ceased, desisted, shut down, rendered null and void. After all, the teacher has heard every excuse imaginable as to why Johnnie has not had his homework.
“My sister put it in her book bag by mistake. We were doing our homework at the same time. She has mine and I have hers.”
“My brother cut up my homework with his new scissors. My momma said to put it in the trashcan.”
“I was walking my dog and my homework fell out my pocket. My dog snatched it up and took off running down the street with it.”
“My momma was washing dishes while she was checking my homework and water splashed all over it.”
“My momma got me a new book bag last night and I forgot and left my homework in my old book bag. Can I turn it in tomorrow?”
“I did the wrong page. I thought you said to do page PW-2.”
“Oh, we had math homework last night???? I didn’t see it on the board.”
“I accidentally turned in my math homework to the Language Arts teacher. Do you want me to go and get it?”
“My dad ran over my homework in his big monster truck and his tires were sooooo muddy! I had spent a long time doing my homework last night, too.”
Teacher snaps back into reality. “Johnnie, your mother will be here for a conference in 3 days and she asked me to tell you that she is not happy about having to come to school for something like this.”
The next day, Johnnie had math homework. The day after that, he had math homework. The teacher had to literally bite her tongue to keep from announcing to the class that they would have a party on Friday because Johnnie has had his math homework for two days in a row. She had to remind herself that Johnnie is supposed to have his homework everyday; that he had not done anything extraordinary. Besides, he was only doing his homework because he knew his mother was coming in for a parent-teacher conference tomorrow.
Finally, the big day arrives! The teacher greets the mother and reminds her of the nature of the call and the purpose of the conference. Mother listens nonchalantly, but then responds rather convincingly: “I know Johnnie did his homework last night and the night before that too. You must have made a mistake. Are you sure it was my Johnnie?”(raising one brow in anticipation of the teacher acknowledging that somehow this was all one big mistake)
“Well, yes, Johnnie has had his homework every day since I requested a conference with you; but he did not have it on the day that I called you and hasn’t had it several times before. I’m glad that he has done it the past 2 days; but I want him to do his homework every night. Besides, his grades are beginning to suffer since homework accounts for 10% of his overall average and he does seem to be having trouble keeping up in class. I’m really concerned that he may not be ready for standardized testing in the Spring. It troubles me that he’s not taking advantage of the opportunities to reinforce what we are learning in the classroom by doing his homework.”
“You know, Ms. Teacher, I just thought about it. I do remember Johnnie doing his homework the night before you called me. He and his sister were sitting on the kitchen floor right next to where I was standing washing dishes. I saw him doing it because his sister was helping him. I bet it’s in his book bag and he just forgot to give it to you. I’ll tell him to give it to you tomorrow. Hmm, now this whole thing has got me wondering whether that crazy behind dog of ours, Rover, ate it???? I don’t care how much I feed him, he’s always hungry; he eats everything! I’m going to have to have a little talk with that Rover when I get home, if you know what I mean. We’re going to get to the bottom of this. I don’t want to keep coming up here to this school for nothing! Thank you Ms. Teacher. You have a good rest of the day now, okay!”