This is a rant. I just want to be upfront about that.
My son came home yesterday with a list of supplies ‘needed’ for his school year. Why this couldn’t have been available last week when class lists were posted, I have no idea, but our elementary school almost always waits until the first day to let you know what they want. On the list is a 1 1/2 inch binder, four two pocket folders (one each: red, blue, green, yellow) plus one two pocket folder of your choice, and a couple of other things which we’d already sent in (gym shoes, art shirt, consistent from year to year).
Around here, 1 inch binders can be found for 92 cents at WalMart. 1 1/2 inch binder are at least $4, and all that’s left as of this morning – remember it’s only the second day of school – are girly colors. I couldn’t find one single two pocket yellow folder. I have the other colors from a previous stash, but there weren’t many folders available in other solid colors, either. My son has one from last year that’s not too beat up, and it’s going to be good enough. The 1 inch binder will be good enough as well. I’m not spending $4 or more on a binder. It’s also supposed to be in by Friday. I went to WalMart and Meijer this morning and came up empty. I’m sure not going to an office supply store, where they’ll charge an arm and a leg for this stuff. I shouldn’t have to run all over town anyway. I bought school supplies when they were on sale and available.
I’m getting pretty tired of the lists from the junior high as well. I recall that we chose what we used for school, and it was usually folders and paper. Nearly every class requires a binder. I got through junior high, high school, and college without one single binder. How did I manage? (As sarcastically said as you can imagine!) At least one class each year requires binder checks as well. In these, the binders are first checked by a fellow student to make sure all of the work is there, then a parent has to check it and sign it. Whatever happened to personal responsibility? When will the school stop holding their hands?
In our school district, planners are issued to every child 3rd through 12th grade, and we parents have to sign them every night third through fifth grade. I can see starting the planners in the second half of fifth grade, in preparation for middle school, then carrying them through middle school to establish an organizational habit. Stop in ninth! All of the tax dollars being thrown away on these could provide those stupid 1 1/2 inch binder wanted by fourth grade teachers!
I also have issues with the on-line grades. We’re expected to check them frequently, and have our kids on a special academic site nightly where teachers post extra games and things. Aren’t we supposed to be limiting screen time? I check the grades when I have to. Period. My daughter does her homework right next to the kitchen (so I see her while I’m taking care of dinner and dishes) and she’s diligent. One teacher this year gave her a questionnaire which included the question, “What are the consequences of low grades in your home?” I was inwardly screaming “None of your business!”, but I restrained myself and simply wrote that we’ve never had to deal with that issue.
When did school become such mirco managers? When did they start dictating every last scrap of paper which a student would carry to school? What business is it of theirs how we choose to parent our children? If I trust my child because I see them working hard every night, why should the teacher care if I only check the grades when report cards come out? Even if my child doesn’t work hard, it’s still my choice as to how often I check on them! If there was truly a problem, shouldn’t the teacher send me an e-mail? Oh, I forgot. The best method of communicating problems is to write it on returned homework. My son’s third grade teacher did that last year, then was surprised that I hadn’t gotten the message. How long have you been working with kids?
Oh – I almost forgot this beauty! My son still had his gym shoes and art shirt in his backpack, so I asked why they weren’t in their cubbies at school. The teacher hadn’t assigned the kids their numbers yet. Excuse me? Those are always in alphabetical order! How hard is it to look in the grade book and see, 1. Anderson, 2. Baker, etc.? Yes, the teachers were kicked out of their rooms this summer for electrical work, but they had last week, and some of this could have been ready to go even before that. You can reply that they deserve their vacation. Sorry. That doesn’t fly with me. I’m from a family of teachers, on every side and branch of the family. It’s your job to be prepared. You are the example for your students, and a living example of organization goes a lot further than being forced to write in a planner.
Alright, I’m done. I’m impressed that you read the whole thing.