Sunday, August 26, 2007

Goodbye, Mr. Grissom

From the desk of Mrs. Margeret Bering, Principal

June 10, 2008

Dear Parents of Pretty Valley Grade School,

As the close of another school year approaches, we find ourselves looking back at the high and low points of this past term...and looking ahead to future semesters marked by sustained academic excellence.

And, since rumors abound, I would like to take this opportunity to explain why Mr. Clayton Grissom has not had his contract renewed for next year.

How well I remember his delightful first interview for the position. He “jokingly” told me that he hoped to have my job as principal in five years. Little did I know that he was not joking. Imagine my shock when he began giving his class assignments to write essays on “Why Mr. Grissom would make a better principal than Mrs. Bering” and have them send petitions to the school board asking me to step down! I hope I never learn which student cut the brake lines on my car.

However, please know that my decision not to renew Mr. Grissom's contract is not personal. In truth, we found Mr. Grissom to be a substandard teacher. Let me provide a few examples of his problematic teaching methods:

1) It was brought to my attention that Mr. Aiken’s did a poor job marking spelling tests. For example, on a recent spelling test, several of his students mispelled the word “hot” as “hawt” and Mr. Grissom marked this as correct!

2) At the beginning of the semester, Mr. Grissom assigned an art project in which students should use their imagination by placing their teacher in odd situations, such as dancing with three-legged gorilla or being abducted by turnips. This assignment was NEVER given a due date. It has now been over ten months and when students ask when they should turn this assignment in, Mr. Grissom ignores them!

3) Mr. Grissom frequently overslept, showing up for class an hour late, unwashed, unshaven, and wearing the same sweater and cargo shorts he’d worn the previous day.

4) Though we appreciated the fact that Mr. Grissom wrote this year’s Christmas pageant, we were disappointed that he gave himself the lead role and charged his costume, an expensive white suit, to the school’s petty cash fund. He also violated an important safety rule the evening he wore a sweatshirt under the suit, hurried through the pageant, and then rushed out of the school for a late night “appointment,” leaving several third graders to clean the auditorium with no adult supervision until well after midnight in the middle of a blizzard. Further, many parents, teachers, and even myself, found the inclusion of the “Sleigh Ride” number in this Christmas program to be the most disturbing thing we’d ever seen. It’s been six months since the pageant and some parents report that their children are still having nightmares about watching that musical number.

5) Mr. Grissom did not seem to relate well to his students, with classsroom discussions usually limited to conversations such as “Do you kids think I look fat in this?” or “Did anyone watch Jericho last night?” Unfortunately, Mr. Grissom seemed to relate much, much better to the mothers of his students, many of whom seemed smitten with the third grade teacher, calling themselves, variously, “The Teacher’s Pets,” “Grissom’s Girls” or “Supersexystudlymanlyteacher’s Bad Widdle Students.” This behavior culminated with one of our PTA mothers, who was in her early forties, five-foot-seven, and 265 pounds, blacking out her two front teeth, placing her hair in pigtails, and coming to school in a pair of Oshkosh ‘Bygosh overalls, claiming to be a new third grade transfer student.

6) These women also spammed the school's “Favorite Teacher Contest,” which Mr. Grissom won by receiving 189,431 votes as opposed to the second place finisher, Ms. Rumball, who received 19 votes.

7) Finally, at the beginning of the semester, Mr. Grissom told me that he knew many celebrities and even received a phone call each year on his birthday from former president Jimmy Carter. At that time, he promised to have Cher visit his classroom. Little did I know that Mr. Grissom himself was going to show up dressed as Cher, complete with boots, fish-net stockings, and a micro-mini skirt.

These are just a few of the reasons Mr. Grissom is not being asked to return to Pretty Valley Grade School next year. We wish him much success in whatever career he pursues. We’d also like him to know that we appreciate many of the ideas that he brought to our school, including adding a Hot Pocket and Krispy Kreme station in the cafeteria and introducing the “Stop Talking! Focus! Understand?” hand signal to the classrooms of Pretty Valley Grade School. In fact, we plan to engrave this saying over the front door, so when students return next fall they will see it every day as they approach the building: