Wednesday, February 27

1989 CDP Evaluation.

I found this First Grade teacher evaluation amongst a pile of papers my mother sent me late last year. You're going to want to click on the images to make them larger. It's worth it.

1989 Evaluation.

The handwriting on the bottom reads: "The boys think he's really smart, but they're getting tired of his cockiness." She also takes the time to underline 'impulsive' and mention that I have an authority problem, along with the X's painting a picture of me that's nothing short of unstoppable evil.

There's so much more. Keep reading.

1989 Evaluation.

Again, she takes the time to mention that I'm 'passively' uncooperative, and circles some of the most life-scarring and potentially damaging adjectives a person can say about a child. 'Tics?' 'Bizarre?' Goddamn. I'm quite certain that they no longer use this evaluation form at Winneconne Elementary School.

Notice that she never had anything bad to say about my academic achievements. This was all due in part to my being extremely bored with the coursework presented. She didn't stimulate me whatsoever, and I had nothing better to do than to entertain myself.

The grand finale is the final comment, which reads: "Ryan is way above First Grade level work. I must always keep him busy, because if I don't, he's distracting others. He has no sympathy for anyone and laughs at other children's mistakes. He also makes up stories and lies."

The 'has no sympathy for anyone and laughs at other children's mistakes' line is, without question, one of the funniest things anyone has ever written about me. I laugh my ass off every time I read it.

Almost 20 years later, and I haven't changed a bit, and that's a damn shame. After all, who would want to be a overachieving, defiant, anti-authority storyteller with no time or tolerance for stupidity? What a terrible fate that would have been.

Sound off in the comments section and enjoy your day.

I changed my last name from Olson to Zeinert in 2004, in case you were wondering.
Wow. You are a horrible person. Now we have proof!

And I bet schools would get sued if they sent home an evaluation like this nowadays.
Although your first grade self could totally kick my first grade self's ass, I got "suspicious", "constantly nervous", and "consistently uncooperative" all the time.
Catholic school sure did beat it out of me quickly (which caused me to develop horrible anxiety to this day).

Oh, to be young again!
Simply awesome. I was a quiet, well-behaved child. Wonder what happened...
Dude, you're chaotic evil. [Or your first grade self was... it's still there, lurking.] You're the very definition of it. Go out there and burn some villages.

I was consistently over grade level too, and I had trouble getting good conduct marks. Eventually, I was under-stimulated for so long that I stopped even trying. I could have been, like, an astronaut or something if school had actually tried to work with me. Oh well. I get off work at 4 and never work weekends so FTW.

BTW I changed my name a lot growing up. Hammerbeck to Wilson and back to Hammerbeck. Jordy to George to Ed. When I meet somebody in my past it's always fun to figure out who they knew me as.
You forgot to mention that this excuse for a teacher was intimidated by you because you were clearly smarter than she was capable of teaching.

Also, she had the nerve to tell me that my 6 year old son was going to end up in prison if he didn't change his ways.

How is it possible that everytime this woman is brought up, my blood pressure goes up? All these years later and I still could wring her neck!
DOMSAR - Indeed I am. After all the things I've done to better myself over the years, some core values stay the same. Just last week, I got into a huge argument with the Missus about how I have no patience for those who can't have an intelligent conversation with me.

She was like, 'you need to understand that some people just don't get things,' and I was like, 'no, I don't think I'm going to do that.'

She makes it sound like it's a bad thing! You can't baby the stupid! They need to be told! By me!

I do appreciate that I went to school at a time where it was okay to insult children. Nowadays, kids never get to hear that their losers, which greatly damages them for the future. Pampered children with no grasp of reality are tomorrow's assholes, drug addicts and strippers (or Oscar-winning screenwriters, as it were).

CAVEMAN - Catholic schooling and church will put a feeling of shame and guilt inside of you that you'll be trying to shake off for decades. I was in the Catholic church for 14 years, and I'm still trying to make myself understand that not everything I do will make me go to Hell.

JT - Thanks. Got your package in the mail yesterday, and it's all simply beautiful. Tried an Atomic Cherry and couldn't breathe for a bit. It's now custom for anyone leaving my house to eat an Atomic Cherry on their way out. Thanks again!

ED - Yeah, the way she writes it up, I should have been pumped full of medication and sent to a padded room. What I really needed was to skip the First Grade. It is mostly true, though, although it was due to her being a burned out and dead-to-the-world educator, even back in '89. She still teaches First Grade today, believe it or not. Maybe I should send her a book.

TAMAZAZZ - Yup, what teacher tells the mother of a 6-year-old that he's going to end up in jail? That's far more harsh than even this evaluation, crazy as it seems. It's hilarious, now, but it really wasn't back then.

Screw that woman. I make more money than her now.
Two new posts in one day? RADICAL!!!
It's funny the differences between the way boys and girls are treated in school. I believe that Ryan and I behaved very similarly, except I was viewed as "gifted" and put into special programs to further my gift (my gift of being an outspoken jerk.) Ryan, being a boy, was just thrown into detention for it. Me=never detention. Ryan=in detention on his last day of high school.
They threw me into multiple 'gifted' programs and stuff, but none of it interested me much. I was offered to skip the Second Grade, but I was certain that would have led to some serious problems with my peers. I didn't need that whatsoever.

True. I served a detention on the day of my graduation. I had my cap and gown on and everything.
You deserved that detention though.
Wow, this is pretty extreme. I don't think that the way this sort of thing is worded and structured would fly nowadays...

I don't know if my elementary school teachers offered psychological evaluations to my parents, but I did get an N (needs improvement, aka: completely inept) in cutting. I still can't cut paper in a straight line. *sigh*
If it had been you causing the trouble with me, you would have found it hilarious. I deserved nothing; it was just a last-second chance for a teacher to burn me before graduation.

I say Bravo to her; it was a slick and petty move.
You had a Cutting class? Wow.

The 'N' is worse than the 'F,' in my opinion. It still makes me ill to think about it.
I can't wait until I get home so I can actually see the evaluation. It sounds like your First Grade teacher had it in for ya -- never a good start for an academic career.

I remember first grade, but not much. I'm sure my parents still have my report cards. I was pretty well-behaved in school, and did well academically. I was in the gifted program for a while in junior high. If I look back on the eight of us that where there, only five of us actually went to college. Two of the three that didn't are still drunkards to this day. The other was pregnant not long after graduation.

I didn't have any funny comments from teachers, but my oldest brother did. His 10th grade biology teacher told my parents he "participates too much in class" -- i.e he needed to keep his mouth shut.
My son has some of those same problems in Kindergarten (although his teacher presents the challenges to us a little more...diplomaticly), and he's reading on a 2nd grade level right now. Sometimes, being exceptionally bright leads to boredom which leads to "acting out" as they used to say. I never had these discipline problems because, as Hathery pointed out, girls are often treated differently, and I was an abnormally (almost paralyzingly) shy child who did everything I could not to be noticed by anyone ever.

And as a funny aside, since we're talking about name changes - my last nem has changed three times in my life and my initials have remained the same.
Good! Glad everything got there in one piece.
HOSS - It's worth a read. If anything, it shows how much things have changed in 20 years. She was one line away from just getting it over with already and calling me a smug prick.

MAUS - Indeed. Annoying girls still have a certain amount of charm. Annoying boys are never met with any sort of patience by teachers when they act out, regardless of how annoying they really are. For my money, it's the teacher's fault for not finding something else for him to do.

JT - Sure did. I'm not sure if I'll be in one piece this weekend, however. I have Poison Control on speed dial.
If it had been you causing the trouble with me, you would have found it hilarious. I deserved nothing; it was just a last-second chance for a teacher to burn me before graduation.

You don't give another girl a ride on your back when you have a girlfriend. That's just not acceptable behavior. You=deserved detention. Mrs. Brantmeier=awesome.
Mrs. Brantmeier was awesome. It was Mrs. Melso that gave me the detention.

It goes back to when I exclaimed 'Jesus Christ!' outside of her room during a conversation, and she came out to tell me that I had offended her. I told her that I was sorry she was offended, but she pressed the issue to the point where I had to tell her to stop preaching to me in a public school.

She knew I was right, so she nailed me with this detention later as a final dagger. It's okay, though.
What? Mrs. Melso wasn't even a teacher when you were a senior! Mrs. Brantmeier gave you the detention!!
CDP - Actually, I'm pretty sure the underlined "passively" in "Passively Uncooperative" followed by an X in the "Not At All" column indicates that you weren't passively were outwardly uncooperative, which is way cooler.

I, too, was a bit of a pain in grade school. There was the issue of being bored and understimulated, but I was also just a ham. And I got into a lot of fights. Who has two thumbs and is/was a huge tomboy? It's me!

I was given a number of detentions for my various escapades (included one out of school suspension, but that was for writing an underground newspaper in middle school and involves a much more drawn out story), but there were certainly things I got out of trouble for because 1) I was a girl and 2) I could be charming as hell. No lie.

My story, though, happened in first grade. I was a bit of a talker, so my teacher devised this rather ingenious way to get me to shut up. At the beginning of every day, she'd give me a big construction paper star with a smiley face drawn on it. Any time I was reprimanded during the day for talking out of turn, she'd cut one of the star's points off. I then had to take the results home to show my parents. Some days I'd have a full star, and other days, just a circle. Those were bad days.
EMILY - Yeah, that's what I meant to say about the 'passively uncooperative' thing. I made a point to not follow orders, instead of merely not following directions because I was an idiot. The main goal of the evaluation was to show that I was making a point to demonstrate my unwillingness to play along and be spoon-fed. In 1989, this was a huge insult; in 2008, it's one of the nicer things anyone has said about me. I'm pretty proud of all of this stuff.

That 'star' thing was a great idea. When the parents get involved, you surely don't want to disappoint them. Also, you got at least 4 chances to talk out of turn before the star turned into a circle! That's better than the Three Strikes program!
HATHERY - I don't think we're remembering the same instance. You may be right, but I may also be right.
That's so sad!!! I can just imagine the look on her face as she held the star up and cut the point off for all to see...and poor little Emily bringing home a nubby star.
I'm remembering the time that Mrs. Brantmeier gave you a detention you had to sit on your last day of HS because you let Sara S. ride on your back in the lunch room.

You took me to meet your mom at the post office for the first time the day you got that detention, and she yelled at you, and I yelled at you. We were both very upset with you doing such a stupid thing.

See, I remember these things.
JT - Sure did. I'm not sure if I'll be in one piece this weekend, however. I have Poison Control on speed dial.

Like I said, I fully expect a drunken call.
CDP - Hathery is pretty much the all-seeing eye. I wouldn't doubt her, man.

HATHERY - Yeah, I felt pretty pathetic when I came home with a nubby star.

I just remembered something else along the lines of ridiculous things teachers sometimes did. My sister's kindergarten teacher called our parents in one day with a "very serious problem" that needed to be discussed. She proceeded to tell them that she suspected my sister might be a lesbian because she liked to play with the boys toys.

Happily, my parents just about took this woman's head off for being so stupid. Regardless of the fact that my sister did, in fact, turn out to be a big ol' lesbian, 1) kids don't think about shit like that at that age and 2) what the hell did it matter anyway?
HATHERY - Fair enough. Joke's on you, though; I didn't even graduate!

JT - Or a call from the Missus asking what the best way is to pump moonshine out of someone's stomach.

EMILY - See, that's the type of stuff that normally passed for acceptable talk from a teacher. A Kindergarten teacher, at that. Perhaps some things have changed for the better, however, stupidity knows no date and time.

When I was a kid, I practiced my radio voice, wrote parody songs and played on the swings. I've never owned an action figure in my entire life, and guess what? Meant nothing! I'm hopelessly straight, love my wife and have no time or tolerance for stray penises getting in the way.

The main point is that sometimes teachers think they can meddle into affairs and assume things that are way out of their acceptable window of commentary. This was one of those times. It's usually an old woman who is so out of touch with reality that she doesn't think twice that it might be a potentially damaging and idiotic thing to say.
My first grade teacher once announced to the class that many of us smelled, and needed to take showers, WITH SOAP. She wasn't being friendly about it...she was truly angry.
Hathery smells! Hathery smells!
I refuse to believe that I was one of the stink-o children. We live in a rural farm community, so I imagine many of the kids probably did stink pretty bad. Not to mention the stench of snow boots and snowpants wafting in from the hallway...*shudder*
I started off great in elementry school and things just slid down from there. All middle school I was in SpEd class instead of foreign language. It didn't pay attention in class and my poor study skills led to a battle of wills that had me spending weeks at a time in a small cubicle until I did my homework. It was bad. School was horrible for me and I couldn't understand why it was so easy for everyone else. I wasn't an idiot, I understood everything. I was branded intelligent, but not living up to potential. A low achiever. This dogged me until my freshman year in High School.

I will never forget that day for as long as I live. Sitting in the back of class with a friend of mine watching him copy notes from the blackboard. "what are you doing?" I asked him. "Copying the notes from the board" he replied. I looked at the board again. No notes visible. He looked at me like I was crazy. I got up and walked toward the front of the room.

Everything in my life changed at that moment. All the crap I'd put up with in school. All the classes I struggled with. The times I dragged myself through them bored to tears. Everything crystalized in that moment.


High school was a lot different after that.
The smell of an Elementary School in the Winter still gives me nightmares. Gah.

That was hilarious and sad, Blu. One of my uncles put up with the same thing. Nobody understood why he kept falling asleep in class; it turned out he was straining his eyes so much he could no longer keep them open.
I had the same problem with reading in first grade. I was failing my reading primers because they had this huge chart (looked like a massive notebook) in the front of the room that the kids would read from, and the teacher would point to with a big stick. I could never see the dumb thing, so I'd just make stuff up. Eventually, in my infinite childhood wisdom, I stopped lying and admitted that I couldn't read the chart or anything on the blackboard. Reading much improved at that point.
True story. You cannot imagine my frustration at that realization. All I kept thinking about was Little League. You know how many grounders I took on the chin? I would ask to be the catcher because I could wear a mask. I stopped playing because of that and I loved baseball.
BLU - Damn. Did you just think that everyone saw the same way that you did?

At 26, my vision is finally starting to be slightly less than perfect, and it's incredibly frustrating to watch your sight start to dwindle.
He just thought he sucked at life, safe as I did. Until the day comes when you finally ask the person next to you what it is that THEY can see and you can't. Then you realize you're just blind.
BLU - Damn. Did you just think that everyone saw the same way that you did?

Yes, yes I did. My vision wasn't that poor, just poor enough to blur the lines. It is of course blatently obvious now, but to someone that never knew different at the time...

HATHERY - Imagine that scene 8 years later. I just fell through the cracks, no one ever questioned me closely enough for me to think it was something so simple.
The turn around from being a D student to a B student was so rapid I actually won an award for improvement. The best was that none of it was the school system's or SpEd classes doing. That's why it was such a life changing moment. It was my first experience with taking my future in my own hands. I made it happen.
A moment of silence and reflection...for glasses.

Thank you.
Wait, why did you change your name?

I learned early on that basically teachers just didn't want their class disrupted, so if you kept quiet you could do whatever the hell you wanted. Provided it wasn't disparaging the "fucking lefty scissors" (kindergarten) or reading "Helter Skelter" when the other kids were reading Judy Blume (sixth grade.)
Wait, why did you change your name?

I learned early on that basically teachers just didn't want their class disrupted, so if you kept quiet you could do whatever the hell you wanted. Provided it wasn't disparaging the "fucking lefty scissors" (kindergarten) or reading "Helter Skelter" when the other kids were reading Judy Blume (sixth grade.)
I took my mom's maiden name before I got married to the Missus. I'm not purposely trying to keep the whole thing a secret; it's just not a very entertaining story. A lot of paperwork, actually.

Those lefty scissors were absolutely terrible. And I'm a lefty!
He's actually on the run from the law. And now you all know it. Who will be the first to claim the reward money???

Becoming a published author was a poor way to hide your identity, Ryan. Poor indeed.
This is pretty much the awesomest thing I have seen all day. I can't believe that lady is still teaching. I can't believe she told your mom you would end up in jail. That's just the icing on the cake right there.
Thanks, Julia. I'm glad that my mom hung onto something that she wanted to burn so badly. That teacher just didn't understand what I was bringin'.

He has no sympathy for anyone and laughs at other children's mistakes.

Jesus, that's funny.
Oh, I should also mention that me and the Missus talked it over, and we've agreed that Blustacon's story about school was pretty much the saddest thing we've ever heard.
Trust me, it was a great character building experience. Led me to one of the maxixm I live by on a daily basis.

Question Authority - They are not always right.
That's what I was trying to do in the First Grade (quite successfully, I might add), and look where it got me!

I didn't need glasses though, I needed a kick in the ass, a microphone and a stage.
To be clear, I was making fun of myself in that last comment. I didn't want anyone to think I was proud of my achievements, because that would potentially ruin my image.
This is why the CDP and I are afraid of having kids...what sort of horrible, outspoken, misbehaving, attention-seeking ghouls could we possibly produce? We'd probably end up with a baby Dane Cook or something.
Dane Cook with worse teeth.
Yeah, really worse teeth. Or maybe no teeth at all.
Our child will be beautiful from birth to 18 months, then terrifyingly ugly until they turn 17, tapering into something more acceptable by human standards.

My genes are strong; I can't help it.
...tapering into something more acceptable ...

well done sir, well done. You've come up with a phrase that leaves limitless possibilities to the imagination. There isn't a poet alive that wouldn't stew over these five words for a couple of weeks of quiet introspection.
Thank you. It's up to the reader to determine exactly what that means, because Lord knows there are people out there that think I'm less than acceptable, and maybe a handful that do not.
Wowz. Sirrussly.

To think I met you just after that, in 2nd grade.
You set me straight.
Influences others to misbehave.

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