Annett said she wrote this piece one morning amid repeated failed attempts to log in to the student portal. She eventually got in, but recently, she said, the password mysteriously reset and she needed the help of a patient and kind school administrator to fix it.
Annett’s work has appeared in the New York Times, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, Real Simple, the Rumpus, Good Housekeeping and many other places. She has a book forthcoming in 2021 titled, “I am ‘Why Do I Need Venmo?’ Years Old.”
This piece circulates on Facebook every semester among her friends and was published on the McSweeney’s Internet Tendency website. Annett lives in New York with her husband, son and dog. You can read more of her work at janineannett.com. She gave me permission to publish it.
By Janine Annett
Welcome to the new school year! You will need to access the student portal online to find out important information including your child’s teacher, bus information, school supply list, important forms, and more.
Here are instructions on how to log in to the student portal:
1. Go to the URL provided in the email that was sent. I could just put it here again, but that would make it too easy.
2. If you can’t find the email, check your spam folder.
3. If you still can’t find it, call the school office. Again, first you’ll have to look up the number.
4. No one will answer the phone because no one’s in the office yet.
6. Wait for someone to return the message.
7. Realize no one is returning your message.
8. Text your friend whose kid is in your kid’s class for info. Obtain website URL.
9. Log on to the website.
11. Click the link “FORGOT LOGIN.”
12. Receive message that your email is not on file.
13. Congratulate yourself on writing down your login from last year.
16. Drink two cups of coffee.
17. Try to read the instructions on the school website for how to access the portal.
18. Call the school again.
19. Speak with someone who has the same name as a famous actress from the 1970s.
20. Wonder if it is actually the actress or if it is just a coincidence.
21. Think about the other famous actress whose kids go to your kid’s school.
22. Briefly entertain fantasy about becoming best friends with her.
23. The woman from the school office says she will email you.
26. Realize she is not going to email you. She’s probably busy fielding anxious phone calls from 75 other parents.
27. Try to log on to the website again.
28. This time, you think you know your username but you forgot your password.
29. Click “FORGOT PASSWORD.”
30. Receive message that your email is not on file.
31. Bang your head against your computer.
32. Go to the Facebook group for local parents and post that you cannot access the portal.
33. Receive helpful tips from other parents.
36. Give yourself a pep talk and try again.
37. Wonder if you read the instructions on the school website too quickly.
38. Read them again, slowly.
39. Try logging in again, the same way you did last time.
40. Meet with failure again.
41. Look at the login information you wrote down from last year again. Begin to doubt its accuracy.
42. Decide you need to look elsewhere for the student ID number you need to log in. Did they change it at some point?
43. Search email for “Student ID.”
44. Find 100 emails that are not relevant.
45. Get distracted by other emails.
48. Do some online shopping after following a link in one of the emails.
50. Try searching again with “Student ID” plus the name of the school.
51. Find a copy of the last report card and open the file.
52. See the student ID at the top of the report card.
53. It has one more digit than the number you’d written down.
54. It has TWO zeros in it, and not one.
55. Log on to the website.
56. Log in using the CORRECT student ID number.
57. You will be prompted to change your password.
58. Change your password.
59. Write it down, you idiot! CORRECTLY this time!
60. Find the bus information for your kid.
61. Realize the bus information is incorrect.
62. Look around for a way to correct this information.
63. You will not find a way to correct the information on the website.
64. You will need to call the school.
65. No one will answer the phone.
Good luck and we wish you a successful start to the school year!
Sincerely, Your Local School District