User’s manual for my progeny

So the teacher assignments are finally here and my children can stop pacing like caged tigers – I have figured out who drew the short straws at school! Mr M and Mrs M (not related to one another), you have my sympathies and apologies in advance. You are undertaking a Herculean challenge and I do not envy you!

To begin, here is the Rhodes family disclaimer – we have let standards slide a little – ok, a lot – during the summer. My kids may display some, or all, of the following – an annoying tendency to whine and demand snacks at 11am, a constant twitching in their Wii/iPod gaming fingers, an inability to concentrate on anything for longer than 5 minutes, curious gaps in their knowledge like long division and telling time, and a Tourette’s reflex causing them to sporadically yell out “I’m bored”!

But forewarned is forearmed so here is some information you may find useful when dealing with my kids. A Lexical User Interface for my children if you like. An operator’s manual describing their quirks and strengths, and troubleshooting tips!

First, the 2003 model. A finely tuned machine with tremendous power and speed. She is more likely to choose to kick a soccer ball around than read a book. She loves people – not a misanthropic bone in her body – but she can be painfully shy at times – so she’s a lot like me! Loves numbers and science and art – not so sure yet about reading and social science. Will respond well to humor and patience and candy. Does not respond as well to ultimatums or raised voices. Loves to dance and sing and talk to her friends. Loves horses, cats, and Adele. Tends to get frustrated and weepy if she’s hungry.

Now, the newer 2006 model. A real head-scratcher this one – he can be temperamental – like a bipolar, menopausal, poodle with an identity crisis! Very quick, ready wit, and razor sharp intelligence – but ridiculously lazy. You may want to tear your hair out as he stubbornly refuses to attempt something that you know he is totally capable of finishing in a few seconds – mulish to a fault! Responds well to humor and challenge and variety. Does not like being talked down to. Will ask incessant questions and want to know the why, how, what, and who of everything. Can remember details about stories and incidents and situations in excruciating minutiae. Loves Harry Potter, Wii, Scooby-Doo, and the Beatles.

As their parent, you can expect from me interest not intrusion, commitment not criticism, and healthy parent-teacher boundaries! I pledge to ensure that they do their work on time, eat a healthy breakfast before school, make good choices, and treat their friends, teacher, and school staff with respect, kindness, and courtesy. As their teacher I expect you to treat them with kindness and respect too. As humans, you and I may both fall short of our intended goals, but we will both try and do better each day.

Hopefully this information will help you have a wonderful year with my kids. They are much nicer people than me!



  1. Great! I would love it if all my students came with one of these! Tomorrow, I have a post coming up from the other side – what teachers wish parents knew when starting the school year! 🙂

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