Saturday, June 4, 2011

Parents having to defend their kids at school

When I was in the third or forth grade, we got the mountain of paper work at the beginning of the school year to fill out. You know fill out the form about qualifying for reduced lunch, form about emergency information, form about immunization records, etc. etc. There was a half sheet pink form that was essentially an affidavit saying that my parents lived in the school district. My parents filled out that form along with the others and I turned it into my teacher.

A little while later, my teacher gives me the pink form again saying that my parents needed to fill it out. Thinking that it must of gotten lost, which is easy enough to do with a mountain of paper work, my parents refilled it out and sent it back. But only to find another little while later, yet another pink form was given to me.

I gave it to my parents who then made sure that the teacher received the form. But a little while later the form showed up, this time with a note, which I could read. The note said that if the form wasn't returned that I would be automatically expelled. Not understanding why I would be expelled for something that I had done right, I naturally cried. And went home crying telling my mother that the school was about to expel me. Eight year olds don't quite understand the school bureaucracy.

And my mother was furious. She and dad took time off from work and went down to the principal's office, form in hand, demanding to know what the problem was. Even the teacher verified that the form was returned to her and she turned it into the office. The principal proceeded to admonish my mother. No benefit of the doubt based on evidence that the form was indeed turned in. No apology about it obviously being lost in the office. Nope she started to blame my mom. And my dad who is normally a very laid back sort of fellow got mad. He basically told the woman that she needed to stop patronizing my mother.

In the end, the principal had to take me out of class and apologize for upsetting me. My parents still had run ins with this lady since my brother is three years younger than myself.

I know that people get up in arms that administrators and teachers are not trusted. A teacher can tell a parent that their child is bullying other children, but the parents will claim their child is an angel. I've been a teacher; I know this happens. But the other side of the coin is that administrators and teachers are also bad about picking on kids.

In my education classes (so I can't remember the sources) I learned that there have been studies showing that if a teacher is told that a child is a bad student, the teacher will often give the student lower grades. And vise versa is true. Funny thing about this study is these children given the bad grades were honor roll students. The point of the discussion was not make judgment calls about kids ahead of time. There's a technical term for this, but I can't remember it at the moment.

And it seems to be happening a little to HB although thankfully his school days are over for now. I'm feeling well enough during the day that I'm bringing him home (the evenings or chores are another story. I still have issues with food smells). Mostly it has to do with some of the things they've not noticed. He got a pair of short bleached. Granted it's a small spot, but the fact that the ph level was that high, bothers me. Then there's the fact that I picked him up with red ichy eyes. Apparently something caused an allergic reaction. Why didn't they wash his hand and face and apply a wet towel over his eyes or ice for the swelling? So the next day I asked that he be left inside (even gave them a note) and they brought him outside in the afternoon. Not happy.

And that's why I don't care for daycares or schools. I think that there are benefits to both. I'm not discounting them. But I honestly hate conflicts and I hate that the people who are supposed to be carrying for my child aren't doing a decent job. I'm not interested in having to deal with nutty principals or neglectful secretaries or teachers who say I didn't turn in a project when they watched me do that (another student had stolen it and my work turned up wedged in another crate). I think we all have war stories from school. And it's a shame that teachers and administrators view their job as being us vs. them. Whatever happened to education being a team effort? Aren't parents supposed to be their child's first teacher anyway?

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