Will parents sign anything without reading it first?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Shanoo, Oct 2, 2010.

  1. Shanoo

    Shanoo Habitué

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    This year, I made a classroom website where I write what we did that day in class, upload any worksheets or information sheets I handed out and post the homework assignment. I sent home a note explaining the website and asked that the bottom portion be signed and returned. So far, it seems to be working well.

    One of my students has been missing a lot of time lately due to medical appointments. She is very behind in my class and our first test is Monday. I told the student on Thursday that I would be available to help her at lunch on Thursday and Friday to help her get caught up. Thursday she chose not to stay at lunch and ended up getting in a scuffle with another student. Her mom let her stay home on Friday because of this (therefore missing the extra help on Friday as well).

    Well, Friday afternoon, this student and her mom show up at my classroom door so that Mom could explain why she was missing so much school, etc. Mom also said that she would be missing some more time in the near future for another medical procedure and asked if I could get some material ready for her before she left. I told the mom that I would try, but if I didn't, everything would be on the website.

    Mom said "Oh, I didn't realize you had a website."

    Her daughter looked at her like she was crazy and said "Mom, you signed the sheet!"

    Mom argued with the kid that she had not seen any sheet and that the kid must not have given it to her, and asked me to check and see if I had received it so that she could prove her daughter wrong.

    Off I went to my filing cabinet and returned with the sheet signed by mom.

    I'm not a parent, so I don't know, but do parents not READ what they are being asked to sign?
     
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  3. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    I think the parents of early elementary students read the forms more often. However, by the later years, parents have seen all the forms and just sign and return.
    I have many spanish only speaking parents who sign and return english forms instead of the spanish versions...
     
  4. Joyful!

    Joyful! Habitué

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    Yes. They will. They do.

    Unfortunately, people are busy, getting the form on the way to school and work, signing it in the car to avoid the child making a scene at drop off. Also, they may want to keep the child from not having everything they are supposed to have and sign it in a hurry.

    Signing a form only means you have a copy of a form in some cases.
     
  5. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Maven

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    I've had parents say they never got the form (in the mail) so I have to send them another one. Then, 2 months later the original form comes back. That means they DID find the original form AND signed it twice. Didn't they know they signed the same thing twice? I don't buy the whole "busy" thing. Teachers are busy too but they are expected to do everything they can for the students. It's your kid. Be responsible.
     
  6. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    Yes, some parents don't read the papers they sign. By middle school or high school they have a ton of forms to sign all due the next day. Many times the forms all say similar things and on top of that, the form must be turned in so all of this important information is now stored in the teacher's filing cabinet. I'm not surprised some parents don't read them before signing. I can honestly say I can not tell you now what the 8 different forms I signed the first night of school said and which teacher has which rule, etc. I know I signed every sheet I received and did read them; but give me a quiz - big fat F.
     
  7. TeacherApr

    TeacherApr Groupie

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    I think that happens a lot. Just recently, I realized one of my students was riding his bike to school. According to our school policies you must be in 3rd grade to ride your bike. He told his mom and mom sent me a note questioning this. Ummm, you AND your son signed the acknowledgement form about our school rules and policies. I think that sometimes parents feel the information doesn't apply to them. This is why I emphasize how reading is SO important because you need to know what you are signing! I joke with them how they could be signing a paper that says "I agree to give all of my money to Ms. ______(my name)" The kids laugh but they get the point.

    As a parent myself, and even when I wasn't, I ALWAYS read what I sign. I TAKE THE TIME to read it. People are very foolish to just be signing and not reading.
     
  8. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    That mom has a sick child; there's a LOT going on in her life right now. She's worried to death about what might or might not be wrong with her child, and that child is her entire life. (Unless, of course the child has siblings. In that case, she's not only worried to death about her sick child,but trying to pretend that evreything is normal for the siblings.) And she's trying to get dinner on the table every night and make sure there are clean clothes for everyone in the household. As she's doing those chores, she's wondering how on earth she'll manage to take yet another day off, in order to get her daughter to her next medical procedure, and who will watch the younger kids if the procedure goes beyond 3 pm.

    And I'm not sure how medical bills are handled in Canada, but in the US, she would be terrrified that one or two of the doctors might be out of network, or that the deductible would be more than they could handle financially.

    She's way beyond auto pilot. She's functioning on sheer will power, hoping beyond hope that she's keeping all the important balls in the air, and that when she inevitably drops one it won't be something too important.

    I'm sure she glanced at the paper as she was making dinner and helping a sibling with spelling words and signing it. And she forgot all about it 20 seconds later.
     
  9. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    My parents never read anything they signed. Seriously. Never. I knew it was crazy even as a child! I'm not a mom, but I'm pretty certain that if I were, I'd read everything I'd sign and make a copy of it at home. But I'm a little obsessive like that. :)
     
  10. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    Glad that you mentioned this. Oddly enough, I just signed a bunch of stuff this week for my oldest child. I have absolutely no clue what I signed. I very well could have signed over my next year's salary. I have no clue. Why do I have no clue? Well, I signed them as I was getting my youngest ready to go to the ER. That trip to the ER ended in emergency surgery and a near 72 hour "day" for me. I signed the forms so my oldest child wouldn't be in trouble at school the next that. At that moment, that's really as far as I could think.

    I guess, according to some people, I'm a bad parent. I know differently, so I generally let things like this roll off my back, but not every parent is that confident.
     
  11. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Oh, mm, if you're a bad parent, then I'm beyond awful.

    Two years ago, pretty much the months from September to May were a blur-- that's one entire school year. The 4 surgeries that school year, Pete's dad's death, the death of my niece's 2 year old daughter, the death of our dog, the head lice and all the other crises that hit that year... the list goes on and on. I can't begin to tell you all the forms that didn't get sent in,the homework that didn't get signed, the projects that got slapped together. And I was the one sick; I can't begin to imagine how bad it would have been had it been one of my kids.

    Sometimes being a good parent isn't about remembering what you signed in a moment of crisis, but rather about dealing wtih the crisis.

    The bad parent in the OP was trying to get her sick child caught up on schoolwork. She even signed the paper and got it in; she just didn't remember signing it. In my book she's agreat parent.
     
  12. Shanoo

    Shanoo Habitué

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    The surgery is an orthodontic surgery. The child isn't sick, although I do understand that all surgery can be worrysome.

    Our health care is free. There are no bills coming in from her doctor.

    Listen, I get that everyone's life is busy and that the lives of parents are so much moreso than that. But, if I'm SIGNING my name to something, anything, I'm making sure that I know what is written on that paper.
     
  13. TeacherGroupie

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    Oct 3, 2010

    One surmises that the family in the original post practices more than a little oneupsmanship.

    As to the surgery, "minor" is kind of relative. My ex-husband was an MD in a residency program at the time he had to have his wisdom teeth out. He'd never had any kind of surgical procedure before; he was staggered not only by the post-op pain but also by how darned long it took his brain to recover fully from the anesthesia.
     
  14. TeacherApr

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    But here's something that everyone should follow....don't sign anything until you have the TIME to read it. Being busy isn't an excuse. Put it to the side and focus on what is most important. Then get to your paperwork. OR if the paperwork is the top priority, focus for just a few minutes, read and sign then refocus on whatever other issue is occurring. It's all about priorities.
     
  15. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    Same here. I have 3 boys; 2 in middle school and 1 in primary school. Very often, I'm asked to "sign this paper" in the evening when it is time for bed or in the morning when we are getting ready. I always ask "What is this for?" and I do take time to read the paper before signing it, but if you ask me that afternoon what I signed that morning, there is a good chance I won't remember because it wasn't a high priority - like a teacher sending home a letter saying "I have a website." I would probably think "OK, I'll check that out later when I have the time to look at it" and in many cases, that might be as far as I get with it.

    Unless it is a field trip or something else along that line, I'm probably not going to remember what it was because it isn't urgent. As for school rules and policies, if the rules are more than 1 page long, I seriously doubt any parent reads them all before signing because I'm sure they feel they know the basic rules.
     
  16. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    I've had several "minor" surgeries.

    Funny, they always ask whether I have a health care proxy, just in case.

    And I'm lucky; I react well to anesthesia. My next door neighbor, who shares a medical history very similar to my own, gets viiolently ill each and every time. So each and every time she went in for a minor surgery, she knew how rough it would be.

    We lost a student 5 years ago. John went in for minor surgery-- plastic surgery to remove a birth mark on his face-- and died in the OR.

    "Minor" is in the eye of the beholder.

    Again, she signed the paper. She got it in on time. She simply forgot.

    Even without the stress of a child with medical issues, we get a staggering number of papers from school at the start of every school year. Multiply that by several children, and it's incredibly easy to forget what you've signed, even if you do read each and every line of each and every paper. It's entirely possible that she read the line about the website, thought "how nice" and then it went right out of her head as she read the papers from the other 6 teachers, the notes about the penny auction, the requests for emergency info updates, the flyers from Girl Scouts and soccer and PBA, the note from the class mom asking for $15,the memo about Meet the Teacher night, the request to sign up for a parent conference in November, the calendar that held all the days she would have to arrange child care because her kids were off and she wasn't, the reminder about the weekly folders, the supply list,the lunch calendar, the list of which special was on what day (so she'll know which days require sneakers and gym clothes) and all the rest, then repeated the process with each of her other children.
     
  17. Lynnnn725

    Lynnnn725 Connoisseur

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    You can make excuses all you want for not knowing what forms you signed, but once you sign it, you should be held accountable. It's part of being responsible.

    Am I saying you are a bad parent? NO!
     
  18. Shanoo

    Shanoo Habitué

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    I never said the surgery was not worrisome. I've had surgery. I know that there are risks. I get that. I know that it can be scary to have a loved one under anesthesia. Not once did I say the mother shouldn't be feeling any stress or worry from this procedure. I'm actually a little insulted that you think that I would. What I was responding to was your comment that the student was sick and that the mother was under a whole lot of stress due to her daughter's illness. My reply was to give a clearer picture of the situation. She is not sick.

    Based on what I know about our school district I would be surprised if this student and her siblings, if she has any, would have gone home with more than a few sheets of paper that first week. Over the course of 1 month, I only sent home 3 papers to be signed, all of which had a "due date" of at least a week later, including the paper about the website. One would assume that during the course of 1 week, a person would have 5 minutes to read something before they sign it.

    Not once did I say this woman was a bad parent. Never. Why someone would jump to that conclusion is beyond me. It is possible to disagree with someone and still believe that they are competent at what they do. We're disagreeing right now. Do I automatically believe that you're a bad person? Or a bad teacher? Absolutely not. However, I'm beginning to think that you don't feel the same....
     
  19. Rebel1

    Rebel1 Connoisseur

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    Yep! IF a teacher had a note for me to sign, I would ask them what it was about. They were GREAT teachers, who made time for the parents SO I trusted them for the 4-1-1! I knew they wouldn't screw my parenting over, with a note that I didn't have time to read.:D NOW! I didn't do that all the time. I read the MORE IMPORTANT ONES, of course.:)
    Some of us are just too BUSY!
    Rebel1
     
  20. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    You got one thing right. It's all about priorities. School forms simply aren't important when you're rushing off to the ER. Here's the order....get the kid to the ER, keep the other kid from getting in trouble. Actually reading the form? Nope, just not important. If you want busy parents to actually read stuff, send less home. You've already admitted you're not a parent, so you simply cannot understand. We're not talking about legal documents, loan papers, or other stuff that IS important. Schools send so much junk home, that by the time you're on kid number three, and in middle school, that reading that junk comes somewhere after taking the cat to the vet but before a pedicure (and the last time I had a pedicure was about 5 years ago).
     
  21. Shanoo

    Shanoo Habitué

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    Actually, TeacherApr, the poster who talked about priorities stated on another post in this thread that they ARE a parent. I, the original poster, am not. I, however, said nothing about priorities.

    I'm walking away from this thread now. I'm tired of people putting words in my mouth and making assumptions about who I am and what I believe and think. Never once did I call ANYONE a bad parent. Never once did I say that ANYONE should sign a form before caring for the health of their child. It was a simple observation about how people (in this case, a parent) will sign anything without truely reading what they are signing. I take my name and my signature seriously and will not put my name to something I don't understand nor agree with. That's my opinion. Clearly it is not held by the majority of posters on this site.
     
  22. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    "Held accountable"???? By whom??? For remembering that one of your kids, the one missing a lot of school and falling behind because of an upcoming "minor surgery" (sorry, I still think that's an oxymoron) has a teacher who has a website??

    We're not talking about signing your tax return. It's not a custody agreement. It's not the list of allergies that will send your child to the hospital. It's not a legal document, signed in front of 2 witnesses and notarized. We're talking about one of the many, many, many pieces of paper that form a deluge each fall as school starts.

    She read the paper. She signed the paper, as per the teacher's instructions. The paper was returned, as per the teacher's instructions. She forgot all about it. It's been a month since school started. Do teachers really think that the parents read, and study, and internalize each and every detail that goes home?? That we plan to be "held accountable" for each piece of paper that comes home??

    What if, in the craziness that IS the start of school in every household I know, the mom had chosen NOT to sign the paper until she had the time to be "held accountable" for it??? Would that have met with an "OK, that's what I wanted. Take your time. Wait until things calm down at home."?????

    Or would the child have gotten grief for not returning the signed paper?
     
  23. msmullenjr

    msmullenjr Devotee

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    Wow, I am walking in on this thread a little late but I would like to add a few things...

    1. yes parents will sign things without reading and/or remembering. The parent might have benefited, in this situation, from not being so stubborn about the fact that she DIDN"T sign it. If I didn't remember it, I probably wouldn't have insisted my child was wrong until I knew for sure.

    I had a rude father last year that came to parent conferences as I was walking out to my car for my lunch break. The office called me back to my room and there he was irritated that he had to wait 10 minutes for me at the door. I explained that he had a 2:20 meeting scheduled and he made me prove it! I showed him two different signed forms before we could even begin the conference. I could not believe his attitude.

    2. I completely understand priorities, and I think that on a busy day (surgeries or not) school paperwork that is not about grades, behavior, or money can fly in one ear and out the other.

    personally I always discuss with my kids what I am signing as I am signing it. I have always been fortunate in my life not to have any huge problems that would have distracted me from these, somewhat unimportant, papers. Is it over kill? Maybe but I do it because I am more likely to remember it if I read and discussed it. Do I always remember? Nope. My son asked me if I had gone to the bank to get him cash for his field trip the next day, and I didn't remember at that moment he even had one. I had to ask where he was going. When he said UCLA, I remembered the conversation and signing the permission slip.

    3. When there was paperwork I really wanted back right away, I have been known to offer a homework pass. This probably causes my students to rush their parents to sign it that day. Should the parents read it, yes of course. Could a parent sign it without reading, yes.


    I don't think anyone is a bad parents for letting things slip, and I don't think we should make each other feel that way, especially when we know what some of us have gone through.
     
  24. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    For some reason, this thread was on my mind when I got up this morning.

    And I think I may have a solution to the problem.

    As I see it, the information went home, the sheet came back signed, and mom has no recollection of the information regarding the website. And kids are expected and encouraged to refer to that website when they're out sick.

    But once the sheet goes back signed, they don't have the actual website, unless they've thought to copy it down and put it somewhere accessible, since the sheet goes back.

    How about hitting Vistaprint, and making up a bunch of fridge magnets that contain the website? It would be a great visual reminder, and the whole "did mom read it?" thing would be moot, at least as far as this particular issue goes. Once on the fridge, it would be in their face, but kind of inobtrusively, for the whole year.

    My son's Kindergarten teacher made up fridge magnets with the contact info for the office and the nurse's office. Eight years later, it's still on the fridge for me to use with his younger sisters. In fact, I kind of wish his 6th grade teacher had done the same thing with the middle school info :)
     
  25. TeacherApr

    TeacherApr Groupie

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    Here's the thing though. If a parent signs something and they don't know what it was about, they shouldn't start arguing with the teacher about how they "didn't know". That is what would drive me nuts, to say it in a polite way!
     
  26. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Seems to me that the argument in question really wasn't between the parent and the teacher but rather between the parent and the student.
     
  27. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    And I know as a parent, I would have probably been embarrassed if I'm standing there in front of my kid's teacher, and having to admit that I either forgot something or didn't know it to begin with.

    I'll say this much...when I first started teaching, I really thought that everything I sent home took first priority...I can get kinda wordy, so everything was really long too...then I became a parent of a school-aged kid, and realized that between dinner, and HW, and bath, and bedtime struggles, and rushing to get breakfast and bags packed and to school on time, that notes probably don't get read like they should.

    I don't send home those notes anymore. Anything I send is either on bright orange, only including the most important info, or a postcard, or an email.

    I'm sorry, OP, but I have to say, a notice that you have a website just wouldn't take high priority in my memory. A grading policy, or a field trip, or if my child was acting up in class--yes. A website, sorry...IOMO...
     
  28. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Obviously the key word here is priority...so I understand completely that you don't mean you flat-out don't care about the website...but this is very discouraging to teachers who are trying to do it all: be an effective teacher in the classsroom, extend our services to the home through websites and who knows what else, build relationships, and so forth. Too often all these things we pour so much heart and effort in are at the very, very bottom of the parents' lists of priorities...if that. And that's just the way it is in today's society...too much to do, too many responsibilities, too little time. Too few June Cleavers. :) We are expected as teachers to do this and that and get verification that parents received information for this and that, and we accept the signed forms knowing good and well they likely were unread by over half of the parents and only received a cursory glance by the others...but yet our behinds are covered, so that's good enough for us as teachers. It's just...like I said, not a slam against parents at all so please don't interpret it that way...just discouraging.

    RANT: I handle a grade-level newsletter each week. At the beginning of the year a note went home asking parents to indicate whether they wanted to receive this newsletter or did not want to receive the newsletter, or if they needed it printed. I asked that every paper be returned whether they were interested or not just so I would know parents were at least informed about the newsletter. Honestly, though, I expected everyone to check they wanted this newsletter. I was absolutely shocked at the number of parents who indicated they did not want this information. What the heck? Why the heck not? It's not just a fluffly little publication with hearts and butterflies...it's letting families know about upcoming tests, feild trips...things that would seem important to me as a parent. I sooo get that at times tests and fields trips are at the bottom of the list of priorities, but I feel those circumstances are the exceptions for most families. We hear all year, each year, from parents about how much different middle school is from elementary, how it's been so hard for the child and family to handle the transition, and so on and so on...and yet when I extend a helping hand I'm left hanging. Rant over.
     
  29. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    Oh, no, I personally wouldn't take it as a slam. Perhaps I need to be slammed, because I guess I am one of the parents in question...I'm definitely not a June Cleaver! I wish I was, I wish my daughter didn't have to sit after school with me until I was finished with all my work, I wish I had time to make homemade goodies for preschool (as I put on another thread, I got dd2's snack for today at the gas station at 11:00 last night...:eek:), I wish I the time AND the energy to browse teachers' websites at night. OK, so that may be a stretch, because I usually find time to be here, but with a lot of school stuff, I just want to turn off my mind. I even have a hard time encouraging my daughter to use the math practice site my school subscribes to...even though I hound my own students to do so...

    And with my teacher hat on, trust me, I HATE it when parents play dumb. I spent HOURS on my 7th/8th grade syllabi this summer, putting my heart and soul into each, making sure I covered my behind about everything I could think of. I had a parent signature sheet on it too--then about 2 weeks into school I got an email from a parent (WHO IS ALSO A TEACHER HERE!!!) about why I graded the way I do. I was almost embarrassed to remind her about the syllabus SHE SIGNED. But it happens.

    The same situation occurs every year during the season I coach-we make a HUGE handbook covering every scenario we have experienced, yet parents still try to tell us how it needs to be.

    I guess it's just a hazard of the job. I think a lot of posters here took issue with the implication (even if it wasn't intentional) by several other posters that not remembering a signed paper spoke to one's parenting skills. You know, the ol' mama bear reaction...

    Now, what can we do to help the OP out here? Would it be possible to ask parents to post to the website as acknowledgment of the notice? Actually doing something might stick more than just signing a paper...notice I said might...nothing is going to be 100%...

    (As an aside, this is EXACTLY the reason I have drug my feet about creating my own website. I am very tech-forward, but I do not as of now have a site I use regularly. Why bother if people don't care, right? :|)
     
  30. WaProvider

    WaProvider Fanatic

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    I agree...with mulitple children come multiple forms. On top of that I am the director of my own early childhood program...more forms. I do read each form, however, the retention I have for a piece of paper I will hold and read for 30 sec and then send back to some file folder somewhere is TINY! I love the forms that have a part for me to post and a part to return. If you want me know what you said, and you want me to be able to recall it later......then give me the from.

    I do move things to a family calendar later, but the moment I see the from I may not be able to deal with it....immediately. Or in the case of the origional poster, perhaps I can't log on at that exact time to set up the account.

    Does that mean I am a bad parent? No, it means I don't have a photographic memory. Not may people do.

    I don't send out froms to my parents' without a copy for them to keep or a cut and return line.
     
  31. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Cut and return...that's what I do. I make it clear the top is "for their records" and use a dashed line with a scissors icon and everything, but most return the whole sheet. Kind of defeats the point, but I tried! :p
     
  32. Icare

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    Oct 4, 2010

    Okay, I have to confess, I received several syllabuses from my son's teachers at the beginning of this year. I read and signed them all. Now do I remember what they said .... whistling....shuffling feet..... a very tiny no.
     
  33. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    Oct 4, 2010

    I do the cut and return too, sometimes. Just last week, for our field trip, I attached an itinerary with a detailed description of where we would be at every moment, along with both adult chaperones' (a parent and mine) cell phone numbers, a number for the museum, and questions to chat with their student before and after...all attached to the permission slip...and both of which were returned to me, 5 out of 8 students...

    But whatever! These parents don't need it obviously. I just have to understand that my note was one of a slew of papers and notices these parents had dealt with that day. No problems!
     
  34. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    Oct 4, 2010

    Exactly. I do have a photographic memory (at least partially), but unless I take the time to focus on the paper and commit it to my memory, it doesn't always stick.

    My oldest had a permission slip yesterday to watch "The Outsiders" in class. They have been reading and discussing the book in LA class and the teacher wants to show the movie as an extension of the lesson, but needs permission from parents due to the movie's rating.

    I remember those details, but not when the movie is actually going to be shown. I'm not sure if that was even listed, but if it was, I skimmed right over it.
     

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