Good News and Bad News

by Joanne Miller


Mother goes to speak with her sonís teacher at the teacherís request.  Teacher thinks child is ďout to get himĒ when, in reality, the child loves the teacher.


Mr. OíShaughnessy Ė 4th grade teacher
Mrs. Wahl Ė mother


Mr. O: Hello, Mrs. Wahl.  Thank you for coming in.  Wonít you please sit down?

Mrs. Stanton: Thank you, Mr. OíShaughnessy.

Mr. O: Please, call me Mr. O.  All the kids call me that.

Mrs. Wahl: Yes, I know.

Mr. O: Well, letís get started.  I asked you to come in so we could talk about Jeremyís progress.

Mrs. Wahl: Yes.

Mr. O: I have some good news and some bad news.

Mrs. Wahl: Oh?

Mr. O: First for the good news.  Jeremy has come a long way since he first came to fourth grade.

Mrs. Wahl: Thatís good to hear.

Mr. O: He has a great imagination.  Take a look at this composition he wrote.  Itís about a truck made out of Jell-O that runs on spaghetti for fuel.  The driver has to stop at diners along the road instead of gas stations.  The waitresses are always amazed at how much food one man orders.  Here, he drew a picture of the driver carrying a pile of take-out boxes, which reaches to the ceiling of the diner.

Mrs. Wahl: Wow!  Thatís quite a story.

Mr. O: Yes, it is.  I just told the class to let their imaginations run wild and thatís what Jeremy came up with.

Mrs. Wahl: Thatís very creative, isnít it?

Mr. O: Oh, Jeremy seems to have no trouble with creativity.  Hereís another composition he wrote.  This one is about a group of Native American Indians.  The setting is in the time of the pilgrims.  The Indians had an eagle, which was as big as a 747.  The eagle would fly them to the moon where they would pick up a new supply of war paint.  Each of the craters on the moon had a different color of war paint in it.

Mrs. Wahl: Oh my goodness!  I didnít know Jeremy had such a vivid imagination.

Mr. O: He really does, and Iíve been trying to encourage him in his writing.

Mrs. Wahl: Thank you.

Mr. O: Now as for his math, Iím sure youíre well aware that he has a great aptitude for math.

Mrs. Wahl: Yes, he loves math.

Mr. O: He was the only one in the class to get 100% on the last test I gave.

Mrs. Wahl: Thatís great!

Mr. O: The one subject he seems to be a bit weak in is history, but right now he even has a B in that.

Mrs. Wahl: Wonderful!

Mr. O: So, all in all, Jeremyís schoolwork is not a problem.

Mrs. Wahl: Well, I think Iíll be going now. (She pretends she is leaving.)

Mr. O: Donít you want to hear the bad news?

Mrs. Wahl: Mr. O, the good news has been so glowing, so wonderful that the bad news must be very bad indeed.  Iím not sure I want to stick around for it.  But I suspect thatís really why you wanted to see me.

Mr. O: I must confess the bad news is why youíre here.

Mrs. Wahl: All right, go ahead.

Mr. O: (Removes glasses, puts hands over face and pulls hands down face in desperation.)  Mrs. Wahl, heís driving me crazy!!!

Mrs. Wahl: (Laughs nervously) What do you mean?

Mr. O: I mean, I think heís out to get me, send me over the edge!  Let me give you an example.  Yesterday the vice-principal wanted to talk to me in the hall.  I gave the kids an assignment to do and went out to see him.  Everyone else started working.  Jeremy followed me right out, even though the vice-principal was there!  Sometimes I feel like heís my shadow.  He doesnít let up for one minute.

Mrs. Wahl: I know what you mean.  It seems like unrelenting pressure.

Mr. O: Exactly.

Mrs. Wahl: And you think itís because he doesnít like you so heís trying to get under your skin.

Mr. O: Thatís just what Iíve been thinking.

Mrs. Wahl: Well, Mr. O, you are the first male teacher Jeremy has ever had.  He not only likes you; he seems to worship the ground you walk on.

Mr. O: Youíre kidding.

Mrs. Wahl: Iím serious.   Everyday when he comes home from school he talks to me about Mr. O.  He never mentions the other kids anymore, itís just Mr. O did this and Mr. O did that.

Mr. O: Really?

Mrs. Wahl: Really, and I know all about the ďswirliesĒ.

Mr. O: You do?  (Embarrassed)

Mrs. Wahl: Yes.  He told me how you take him into the restroom thatís right off your classroom, wet his hair from the faucet, flush the toilet and tell the other kids you gave him a swirlie in the toilet for acting up in class.

Mr. O: Yes wellÖ

Mrs. Wahl: He thinks itís great, and so do I!

Mr. O: You do?

Mrs. Wahl: I certainly do.  You are a very good influence on him and Iím grateful.  Jeremy is not an easy child to raise.  I feel that I have to constantly keep my guard up with him so he doesnít gain an upper hand on me.

Mr. O: I know what you mean.

Mrs. Wahl: Heís the type of child who needs firm control and constant direction.  He can use his great imagination for finding ways around whatever you tell him.

Mr. O: Donít I know it!

Mrs. Wahl: Itís not easy.

Mr. O: No, itís not.

Mrs. Wahl: But Iíll make a deal with you.

Mr. O: Whatís that?

Mrs. Wahl: Iíll stay on him at home if youíll stay on him at school.  Deal? (Offers to shake hands)

Mr. O: Deal. (They shake hands)

Mrs. Wahl: And just remember you only have him for one year, I have him until heís all grown up.


Copyright John & Joanne Miller, all rights reserved.
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