Alex Baker trivia: I have taught professionally at two high schools in my life: BFHS and _____.
If you guessed Neenah High School, you are correct. After student-teaching there for the first 9 weeks of the 2003-04 school year, they asked me to serve as a long-term sub when a member of the department took maternity leave. Now, NHS is on a trimester system, and conveniently for Mrs. Roblee, my first week was the week of 2nd-term parent-teacher conferences, and my final week was the week of 3rd-term conferences. That means that she taught twice as much as me and had to deal with half of the conferences. I bet giving birth is worse, but I bet it's closer than you think.
Anyway, conferences at NHS took place in the gymnasium with members of each department lined up at one long table. I was always placed between Mr. Smith and Mr. Funk, two youngish guys who were pretty fun to work with. And because we had to sit there from 4-8 p.m. on two consecutive nights, we sometimes sought ways to cure our boredom. One of those ways involved dollar bets.
dollar bets (DAH ler BETS) n.: one-dollar wagers in which the particpants "bet" each other that they can't perform some ridiculous task during their next conference
Here are some examples of dollar bets:
1. I bet you can't say "meow" three times during your next conference.
"Hi, Mrs. Hill. How are you? Glad to hear it. Meow, Brian currently has a C- in British Lit...
2. I bet you can't pretend to be left-handed...
"As you can see, Mr. Bennett, Katelyn didn't hand in her second persuasive essay (awkwardly circles the zero on the gradesheet)..."
NOTE: Mr. Smith once lost a dollar on this one because the parent asked him to write down his email address and he thought it would undermine his credibility as an educator if it looked like his 3-year-old daughter had written it.
3. I bet you can't use the word "addle-minded"...
"So Beth is failing sophomore English right now, but it's strictly a matter of effort. I think we all know that she could pass the class if it were important to her--I mean, it's not like she's addle-minded or something..."
4. I bet you can't steal this next parent's pen from her...
"Here, let me write down my office number--do you have a pen? Thanks. So you should feel free to call any time."
"Um, I think that's my pen."
5. I bet you won't start talking about the wrong student...
"Well, Martin is just a pleasure to have in class. I wish I had 23 more just like him..."
"Oh, I'm sorry. I'm Danny's mother."
"Oops. My mistake. So Danny isn't doing so well..."
6. I bet you can't do an entire conference without using the letter "t"...
"Jamie is doing a gre...a very good job. I...believe he has a solid und...comprehension of alm...pr...more or less ever...all our ma...books."
7. I bet you can't do this next conference with a British accent...
NOTE: No one actually ever did this, but it would have been funny.
This is the kind of thing that we miss out on by conducting conferences in our classrooms here at BFHS. But maybe this is why we conduct conferences in our classrooms. Who knows?