First, I have no right to be repeating anything, except that I have opinions about them. My emotional state on these issues is rather muddled because I have so many of them.
My son attends a “high-end” public school. I’ve grown to appreciate much of the community, but recognize that my husband is a much better teacher than most teachers (including me), and also their teachers. I haven’t been crazy about his teachers AT ALL, except for this year. Keb’s teacher this year ROCKS! (I still need to write the letter to the principal about him!). But…
This isn’t about Keb or his teacher. It is, however, about a parent in the community. Somehow and sometime, a child went home and returned to school (after hours) with a knife. I can’t tell you what kind of knife or the child’s intent. I can say that this parent, NOT the kid’s parent, got her knickers all knotted up and started a campaign on our community Yahoo group. Apparently (Or allegedly? Remember, I wasn’t there.) the child was detained by the police and either suspended or expelled. This parent took it upon herself to share the story, as well as to challenge ZERO tolerance. These practices were not fair to this child, etc.
I found this all disturbing because, I felt, this was none of her business. She had no reason to spread this child’s story all over the place or to share the consequence. I was upset that she was being so rude to the principal and the school staff, who’ve been nothing but nice to her. Furthermore, I found her petition to change EdCode completely out of line. Of course she gleefully reported that, due to her diligent efforts, the child (remember him) had been able to return to school and had his record expunged of this AWFUL incident.
And you know… I would have bought it. Save for the fact that one of her children threatened my child with a knife on school grounds a few years ago.
Now, Keb still plays with them, so I’m sort of over it, but not really. I can’t help but think that she really wasn’t doing this for “THAT CHILD”, but because of HER CHILDREN. I see this more as a preemptive strike.
A very nice teacher, with whom I work, was diligently working yesterday morning. I didn’t ask on what. I could tell from watching her cut multiple strips of construction paper that she was “standardizing” at least her students’ (although perhaps the entire grade level’s students’) science fair boards. They would all have the right words, spelled correctly, and pretty much color coded.
I should have been impressed. Look how hard she’s working! Look what she’s doing for her kids! She’s making sure they’re all successful!
I didn’t feel that way though. I felt like this was another case of teachers doing for kids what kids should be doing for themselves. Had she taken them to the computer lab and had them create their own labels to use, I would have found that acceptable. However, to do all this work for the kids removes their responsibility for the project. It also sows seeds of discontentment within adults when the work is then not performed because the adult has done everything except x, y, and z for the child.
I viewed this action as overstepping one’s educational boundaries. If it’s about exploration and learning, then we need to allow that sometimes that leads to failure. Rather than working hard to keep a child from failing, why not allow it and see what comes of it.
After all, not all failures belong to teachers. Some belong to students. And still others belong to parents. After all we’re in this together.