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Emily Grossman

February 3, 2005 at 4:31 AM

(Disclaimer: my sincere apologies to the people whose children were truly and unfortunately sick this week. You know who you are. This story is not directed at you.)

Somehow, I get the distinct feeling that, rather than me being the teacher, I am actually the student, and it is the parents who are teaching me. They think I don't know, but I'm onto their conspiracy. My next objective will be to find the ringleader and take him down. Here's the theory.

My parents have organized weekly meetings to plan out their next lesson for the teacher. Two weeks ago, it was cancellation policy. Last week, they teamed up to see how good my babysitting skills were. I spent about an hour and a half unpaid time watching kids who were both dropped off early and picked up late. What am I going to do, pick them up by their scruffs and toss them into a sub-zero snow bank and let the wolves chew on their purple toes?

This week, they decided to place more emphasis on the sick student policy. They discussed effective loophole strategies, perfected the timing of their calls to coincide with other scheduled lesson times in order to leave a message on the machine (vs. speaking to me personally), and then polished up their best stories, sealed with waterproof smiles. One at a time, they cast their lines to see if the fish would bite. And what was I armed with? Nothing. Sick absences form a gaping hole in my existing policy. Combine that with the coincidental fact that this is the first week of the month and checks are due, and I have little chance at gleaning any pay this week.

During my second-to-last lesson today, I heard the answering machine: "This is [enter fibbing name here], and my daughter is sick, so we won't be making the lesson this week." Her lesson is fifteen minutes from now. Wow, they had so much consideration to call me in advance. I know, she must have come down with a sudden bout of food poisoning and was perfectly healthy up until now. I should give them the benefit of the doubt, shouldn't I?

Heck no. I finished the lesson and beelined it to the phone.

"[voice of sibling]Hello?"
"Hi, this is Emily Grossman."
"Oh, you want to speak to [Food-Poison Annie]?"
"Oh, and how is she?"
"Fine, here she is..."
"Hi, is your mother there?"
"Oh, no."
"I just wanted to let her know that the lesson will not be refunded, and wanted to offer a reschedule."
"We'll just come next week."

It was obvious that the girl didn't even know her role in the plot, she forgot to even sniffle or cough. I should focus her next week's lesson on how to make a more convincing story.

Who wants to guess what the objective of my own lesson will be next week? Injuries and spiritual healing? (Oh, wait, already done that.) Mass migration? UFO abductions?

From june rhee
Posted on February 3, 2005 at 7:35 PM
geez emily, life just hasn't been good to you lately, has it? you know, for what it's worth, the policy i decided to adopt for illnesses is - first illness with less than 24 hours notice gets waived. after the first, i ask them to reschedule. i've never had a problem after that. they either give me plenty of notice or just reschedule.
as for the kids you had to babysit, it sounds like the parents have no idea that you have a life outside of your job, and that your studio is also your personal space.
well, sorry to hear of your all your dilemnas, and i hope you get more considerate and professional parents/students soon.
From Sue Donim
Posted on February 4, 2005 at 2:42 AM
Hey Emily,

I suspect the conspiracy is global, since I too have had a Babysitting Week: 15 mins and 20 mins on consecutive days. My next proposed step will be to issue a written warning explaining that, since I cannot responsibly leave a child unattended on my doorstep, I will charge childcare fee at the same hourly rate as the lesson.

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