School hasn’t even begun and I’ve had my first battle with the school. Schedules were available last week, and we found that my son had been put into an on-line course for his history class. ????? He goes to public school. Why would he have an on-line class, especially for a class that every student there has to take at some point? To me, the fact that he was put into an on-line class without first contacting us was highly rude.
Before I go farther into this post: I taught in the public schools, my father taught in the public schools, so did my grandmother, many aunts, uncles, cousins, and so on down the line. It’s one of the two major professions in our family. I am not anti public school. All three of our children started with public school and this is our second child in the high school.
Why do I consider being put in an on-line class without a head’s up rude? Because we made a choice to have our son in a physical public school with physical classrooms and physical teachers. There are on-line school options out there, and we did not choose them.
My son’s counselor wasn’t present for schedule pick up and my email to him bounced a message back that he wouldn’t be consistently available until school began. A call to the counselor office told me that my son would have to wait until the first day of school to make a change. Curriculum night is tonight – this is where parents learn about their children’s specific classes. If the change wasn’t made until next week I’d have incorrect information.
I contacted the vice principal and the change was made. Another black mark is next to my name at the school now. But wait there’s more (infomercial voice), because I may need to opt my son out of a book again this year. This lit class has the potential for “The Grapes of Wrath”, which in our household is inappropriate for 15 year olds. I quoted the book to the teacher when opting my oldest out of it, and never heard another word about it.
Over the years I’ve protested my eldest making a Day of the Dead altar for fifth grade Spanish (separation of church and state, but only when we want to), pulled my middle out of the public school system in fifth grade after two teachers dragged her down a hallway (She had the audacity to cry and then be frozen and unable to do anything other than sink to the floor. She has sensory processing disorder and we were early in the treatment process), opted out of several books in the high school, fought for my eldest to have a physical teacher for Spanish when they wanted her to take it on-line, and wasn’t afraid to tell the International Baccalaureate head that our daughter was taking the program because she wanted to, not because I supported it.
I complained to the language director when German was taken out of our middle and high school track. We got French, the other school track got German, whereas both schools had offered both before. That was the only language of three that my son was interested in, and they need language to graduate. I did not take it kindly when he treated me like a five year old when I told him that all three of my children hated Spanish after being forced to take it Kindergarten through fifth grade, and the only word any of them honestly remembered was ‘hola’ after all that time. That’s frustrating when there were so many days in kindergarten the kids had no recess because there wasn’t time. There was time for a class which taught them nothing that lasted, but their young legs couldn’t get the stretch that all five year olds need.
When my son was going into fifth grade, the school was going to put him into a math class with the teacher who had dragged my daughter, and there was a meeting with the principal to prevent that. Who seriously thought we would be okay with that?
When the school systems touts the slogan “partners in education”, they assume we parents understand that we are to be silent partners. Sit down. Shut up. We know best.
I will never be silent when it comes to my kids. I know them better than any teacher ever will. The kids have had some wonderful teachers who have had such a positive influence upon them, and I will quickly and eagerly acknowledge those teachers. That said, the world of teaching also has bad and indifferent members just as every other profession has.
I have seen excellent teachers in action and seen fantastically creative projects in my kid’s classrooms. I’ve seen the other end too. Elementary school had so many food parties and movies that it drove me nuts. They were referred to as ‘breaks’ that the kids needed. They didn’t need Disney movie and chocolate party breaks! The chocolate party was the (literal) icing on the cake.
The fact that I’m going to be intensely helping my son with his writing this year doesn’t help the plus column for the school, either. I have gone to every one of this boy’s conferences, and until spring last year, I was not shown one of his papers or informed how poor his writing skills are. The middle and high school recycle everything at school that’s printed, and the rest is electronic. I dropped the ball, too, but still wonder why it took so long for a teacher to show me how bad his writing is. Not even an email.
Some days I wonder why I put myself through the hassle of public school. Oh yes, it’s because of his art teachers. The two team teachers he had in sixth grade. The fact that he got into the welding class this year, and hopes to take wood shop next year. The trap shooting club he’s thinking of joining. The core classes can be had anywhere, but it’s the extras that keep us positive.
Three more years. We can get through that, right?