Saturday, January 31, 2009

School Rants

We're going to dinner at Girl Crush's house tonight. You haven't heard that name in forever, huh?

She pretty much became BFF with the third friend, and once I got my job I just couldn't keep up with being friends. I get easily overwhelmed and am a pretty sucky friend in general. But we ran into each other and she asked us to dinner, and even though I'm really not in the mood to go just because I'm feeling pretty anti-social, I know I'll have fun once I get there and I really do want friends. So we're going.

In other news, I noticed bruises on Big Kid's neck and he says that Hudson grabbed him around the neck and squeezed because Hudson says Santa isn't real and Big Kid says he's wrong. BRUISES ON HIS NECK. Supposedly Hudson got time out and on warning watch, but guess who is getting a stern talking-to from Library Mom on Monday? He's lucky I don't grab him around his little punk neck. No wonder Santa doesn't go to Hudson's house.

Speaking of school, something happened a couple of weeks ago that is still irking me. I went to pick Big Kid up and another student's mom approached me.

"I just thought you should know that I came to the school to have lunch with J today. We took Big Kid with us out onto the patio to eat, and when he opened his lunch box, there was only 2 pretzel sticks in a bag and a melted chocolate coin," she said.

"What??," I asked, "He was supposed to buy his lunch today! He always buys lunch on Friday. He didn't have homework last night and we must have forgotten to take his lunch box out of his bag! So what did he do?"

"He just kept saying 'I can't believe dey forgot to pack my lunch" and "I can't even eat my chocolate because it is melted!" You know how Big Kid is, very serious and dramatic about it! Poor kid!"

"So he didn't eat lunch?"

"No! He didn't have any!"

Um...why the fuck didn't you approach an adult with some common sense and let them know that there was a problem? I mean, if it was me, I would immediately take your child and buy him a lunch. If I had no money, I'd check his lunch account for money. If it had no money, I'd tell a cafeteria worker that this kindergarten student had no lunch. If they wouldn't help, I'd be splitting our lunch with him.

I wouldn't just sit there letting him go on and on about how all he had was a melted chocolate. :-(

I wouldn't assume that you had packed two pretzel sticks and a melted chocolate.

I'm a little pissed about it. Big Kid's teacher approached mid-conversation and was upset that he had no lunch and said she wished he had told her (or maybe the adult with him could have told her??) I don't know what this lady was thinking. Not the end of the world, but a WTF moment that has stuck with me.

I'm not that thrilled with school in general these days. We got a notice home the other day that informed us that our district wasn't meeting the standards set forth in the No Child Left Behind Act, and hadn't been in years. Well...why not? What's the problem here? Where is the proposed solution?

Thanks for the notice that you're totally sucking ass when it comes to educating my child, but now what?

Big Kid's teacher is great and he seems to be learning a lot, but it is only Kindergarten. Our problems are just beginning. No way I can afford private school. No way can I home school now that I'm working. No way can I move to a different state.

Also, remember how before he got into school I agonized about "institutionalizing" him? Oh, have I ever.

The other day we stayed after school to do some extra-curricular fund raising thing in the cafeteria. The afterschool program was in there too. So the cafeteria was completely full, with the front half being in this program and the back of the room doing a really fun fundraiser. There was some noise, naturally. Not yelling, not shrieking, just hundreds of people in a room talking.

The lady in the afterschool program's last nerve had left the building hours ago. She was on this bullhorn yelling this little saying they have, over and over because she could not maintain complete quiet.

They have this mantra they say. The adult yells something similar to, "Perfection is..." then claps twice and everyone yells "EXPECTED" back. Okay, whatever, a good focusing tool or behavioral reminder.

But with this being screamed over a bullhorn every three minutes by someone who is ready to lose her mind, and all of these little kids (including the ones in the fundraiser, who didn't have to listen to this lady at all but are just trained to respond to this call) chanting back over and over was like some bizarre Nazi bootcamp. It was very stressful and irritating.

I felt bad for the kids in the afterschool program. They had no activity they were supposed to be doing, they appeared to be waiting for something. They had just finished a long day at school and were sitting at tables talking. Nothing out of hand was going on. They were just at the mercy of a stressed out adult at the end of her day.

I'm not really cool with someone screaming at my kid for no good reason because they've had a bad day though. I'm the only one allowed to do that.

The Librarian also gets on their case all of the time for not whispering. No speaking voices allowed, only whispers. Kindergartners just can't whisper. I take four kids at a time and if they are speaking in low, conversational tones, not all at once, while sitting at a table, we're doing pretty freaking amazing. Her coming over to bark at them every few minutes, every time two children accidentally speak at once, doesn't lend itself to a quiet, peaceful atmosphere anymore than their talking does.

I get that everyone that works at a school has to control the chaos before it reaches that level, but the thought of my kid being barked at all day by stressed out adults really annoys me. Also, I think reasonable expectations need to be set. We are training them for the real world. In the real world, even the meanest Librarian will let you speak in a quiet speaking voice. Even the strictest boss will allow you to make conversation with your co-workers during down time.

Alrighty, this has turned into an epic rant. LOL. I could have folded the entire laundry couch in the time that it took to type this. It's time to go get ready for dinner at Girl Crush's. Just know that I'm frustrated with school, especially now that they apparently aren't even accomplishing their mission as an institution.


PaperCourt said...

You're getting me super psyched for kindergarten next year!

Misty said...

I SOOOO would have bought him a lunch. What was she thinking??? Then, to sit there and eat while he didnt??

Anonymous said...

Ugh! I can't believe that mom didn't help your son. I also can't believe she approached you about it. What nerve! I'm really sorry that happened.

During lunch at my daughter's school, when they want silence they blow a whistle. The noise stops immediately. It bothers me.

The after school program sounds miserable. I just really feel for you right now. I hope things will work out for the best.

Have fun tonight!

Unknown said...

Oh man. I'm terrified of sending my boys to school for all those reasons you just typed and more. Our solution will be a charter school (we hope) but you have to be careful with the one you choose too. We're applying for international charters and I really hope they get in because I can't afford private school either. Seriously scary. Maybe I can just homeschool them?

Unknown said...

As a kindergarten teacher at a school who has been failing NCLB since its inception, I just wanted to give you a little reassurance! NCLB is absolutely absurd and it is quite easy for schools to fail, especially since the standard is raised every year.

In 2014 it expects all kids 20 be performing at 100%, even those with disabilities or who are learning English. When students are tested, they are catagorized into subgroups based on race, income status, and whether or not they are on an IEP or Free Lunch Program. If even one subgroup fails, the entire school fails. Our most challenging students most often count in more than one subgroup, making it even more difficult for a school to pass.

I can tell you for sure that the teachers in these failing schools are working their asses off to both provide a quality education for the students AND jump through the hoops required by NCLB! The extra amount of work that the teachers in these schools have to do is crazy and I've seen that the teachers that weren't cut out for teaching in the first place don't stick around.

Sorry to get on my soapbox, it's been a touchy subject for me lately. If you have any questions about it, feel free to email me, the link is on my blog!

Anonymous said...

Well, I won't try to outdo your War and Peace novella on "why I hate public school", but I am RIGHT THERE WITH YOU. I wish I could tell you it's different in another state (but I live in one and it's not) or that it gets better (but I have a 4th grader and its not). I feel very trapped because I also cannot afford private and work full time. Perhaps we should consider bringing a third, wage-earning adult into our marriage to help out?

Susan in Texas

kristin said...

Ashley, I just can't get over that they would use "Perfection is..." for anything with children. Really? They want perfection? It sounds like they aren't used to working with children. I suggest you open your biggest can of whoopass on them!

Foster Mom to Many said...

Ummmmm, you're a better woman than me. I'd have punched the bitch in the face for letting my kid go hungry all day and not saying anything to the teacher. What a moron!

Anonymous said...

OMG! I so relate to this post!! It drove me absolutely frickin nuts to go to my kids school at lunch...its GD lunch! let them fucking talk, and i mean talk, they are not screaming or being crazy, they just want to talk, all of them...

It pissed me off to the point when I felt like approaching the B and giving her a real piece.

or just start like fucking talking as loud as i can, because they cant tell me what to do!

i felt like some kind of hell-bent, rule-breaker teenager, and i have not felt like that in years.

i couldnt handle it really, and thankfully my kid is too old now & it is "not cool" for me to hang out and eat shitty school lunch there.

Anonymous said...

Ashley, sorry you're dealing with the all the witches teaching your child. They are probably burned out on their job and shouldn't even be teaching anymore - Retire, Hags! Anyway, keep your eyes and ears peeled....ask around about other parochial or Catholic or Christian schools...they might be a better alternative. I know you would have to think about loans and all that jazz, but when it comes to a good education sometimes public is not the way to go.

Good luck and have a great evening.

Unknown said...

It isn't "Perfection is..." I just didn't want to use the exact phrase so freaks can't track down Big Kid's school. It's along the same vein though.

Michelle, Amen on school lunch. Geez Louise, what is that stuff? It is even worse than I remember.

Jennifer said...

I would have totally lost it on that idiot. After I told her Friday was school lunch day I would have looked her right in the eye and asked her why she didn't buy him lunch, "just fyi, I would be happy to pay you back if anything like that ever happened again (you stupid bitch)," or something along those lines.

Baby Girl HAS (wants and it is easier than fighting her) to take lunch for her BFF every single freaking day. So I let her. It isn't that hard to buy an extra donut or pack an extra pop tart. I would have totally bought Big Kids lunch and you would have never even known there was a problem... unless he spilled the beans.

jennyandcompany said...

girl, i'm going to say it again - MONTESSORI! He would do so amazingly. We can't afford it, but would rather give up cable tv, vacations, and any other non-essential to make it happen b/c I will not have my children treated like that and at the mercy of the government and their ridiculous ideas on how to teach kids.

Teachers - I totally respect and admire most of you. You go into this profession hoping to make a difference, and you are also at the mercy of the government and their stupid ideas. God bless you for your efforts.

Julie H said...

The whole "no child left behind" is a joke from what I've heard from several teachers. If you live in an area with non english speakers it's pretty much a given that the school is going to fail.

I don't know if private school would be any better? You are paying for it but I doubt the teachers are any happier.

Jacquie said...

She should have bought him lunch!
And I know exactly what you mean at Jujube's elementary school they also have a chant like that only at least Big Kids has words hers is repetition of the words Hey Ho! in different pitches and loudness.

jennyandcompany said...

btw, my above comment was supposed to say "amazingly well there". I got ahead of myself and now it's going to seriously bug me forever.

Anonymous said...

Wow, first time reader and I am amazed. I'm in Michigan and yet we have the same teachers here. Our school lunchroom has a stop light. The kids can barely murmer before it gets to red and then they must be absolutely quiet. If they are caught speaking they will have to stay after and clean the lunch room. WTF?
I'm a librarian btw, hopefully I am an exception to the rule, I love kids and encourage them to have a good time. Libraries in the 21st century are differenty than they used to be, or should be.
I want to sock it to that mom who let your child be hungry. Who could be that way? I mean I thought common sense would be more common...kwim?

Former Fat Chick said...

That WOMAN is a MORON!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Jill Ann said...

I have never commented but love your blog.In Ohio, the no child left behind rating gives you the right to seek a better school. I have taken advantage of this act and got my kids into a wonderful school. The paper work is a pain but so worth it! Sorry about the crappy text. I am on a blackberry.

~Gretchen~ said...

i am convinced that all after-school programs are that way and feel great sympathy for any child in one. They would be better off as latchkey kids or being fondled by teenage babysitters than yelled at by those bullhorn-wielding bitches.

My girls both start Kindergarten next year. It's a good thing I have Dixie to be Melody's own personal pitt bull.

Joy said...

WTH was she thinking?

I had a bit of a pissed off at the cafeteria the other day. See my kid only buys every so often maybe 1-2x's a week-he is very picky. So they were to have taco salad(taco meat and small bag of chips) well he gets there and there is no meat WTF how do they run out of meat when he is in 1st grade and no telling how many kids are still to eat!! so she hands him the chips, he get his milk and I think some thing else maybe-so your telling me this grown woman thought it was appropriet for him to eat chips and milk? oh and it cost me $2

Sassy Cass said...

Lawsie bee- I so would have lost it. Can't believe that mom didn't make sure BK had sumpin to eat. That is nuts...

I can remember as kid knowing which teachers liked their job and which ones were just there for the paycheck and benefits. Some people aren't cut out to be teachers or librarians for that matter. The principal and I would be having a little pow-wow.

Anonymous said...

That really sucks about that other mom. In my area so many moms try to out-do each other, you know, aka Supermoms. It pisses me off.. Your poor kiddo. Sorry this happened.

Katie Ryan said...

The mom that let your kid eat two pretzels for lunch is an idiot! I can't imagine behaving that way with another child. I agree with you, I would have got the kid a lunch!


Perfection is unattainable and to expect kids to reach it is to expect failure. I'd look into vouchers or a GT program and get BK the eff outta there.

Anonymous said...

Perfection is expected? Um. That is bizarre.

Anonymous said...

You will either have to pay for private school or suffer.

Sorry :-(

That is just the way it is. I highly recommend private school. It is worth every single penny. Buy a smaller house. Go on a cheaper vacation. Slash your clothing budget.....whatever you have to do and invest that money in your children's education.

It sucks, I know. It is what being a parent is all about though. Sacrifice so that your kids get what is really important.

Private school is so much better for your kids....