Saturday, October 02, 2010

Parent Meeting

Eleanor's kindergarten had a parents' meeting. We went, of course and sat with the other parents on the little kindergarten chairs, but we, unlike them, didn't really have a clue what was being said. Here are the minutes as I would have taken them:

Teacher reads for a l-o-o-o-ong time from a paper. It must be legal or bureaucratic because the words sound really long. Oh, wait, there's the word "foreigner"; what's that all about?

Writing in kindergarten. Don't know what they said about it, but I did recognize "writing" and "kindergarten."

People from random spots in the audience stand up and speak. Introducing themselves? Do we have to? David whispers to me that maybe they're campaign speeches. Sure enough, a minute later a vote is called. The lady in front of us wins.

Everyone gets up. Well, almost everyone. Is the meeting over? We go and ask the teacher who speaks English. No, we're supposed to stay for a meeting with just our class (I hadn't realized this wasn't just our class, actually).

A burly man in a track suit and a tiny woman in a black business suit (seams up the back of her black stockings) sit up front. An odd couple. I wonder who their child is. Then the teacher motions to them and they start giving a presentation. I guess they're not parents. About some football (i.e. soccer) program. For five year olds it is about building character (I actually understood that!). They have an absolute policy of non-discrimination against girls playing football (but given the reaction of the parents around me I'm guessing it's the rare girl who plays football here). Then they get up and leave.

The teacher talks again. Wait! Are they talking about us? We smile in a friendly, attentive way to show that we are conscientious, engaged parents. A look would that work even if they're talking about something else. A moment's silence. Then another parent says in English, "She wants you to introduce yourselves." Fail. We should have been able to figure that one out. I think I am three shades of red and my sputtered-out answer sounds like a two year old talking. David at least makes them laugh with a joke about how little we understand.

A kind mother sitting just behind us offers, with a gorgeous British accent, to translate for us.

I spend the evening alternating between feelings of humiliation at understanding nothing and feelings of triumph at understanding the odd word or phrase (probably a lot the way Eleanor feels every day!).

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