Tuesday, October 10, 2006

slacka mom

(title in honor of my r-droppin' new england background)

so there's a group of the kindergarten moms who tend to hang out after drop-off in the mornings, go to the playground with the kiddies after school, and get coffee once a week. i'm happy to be in that group, as i know few people around here. but prospect of this morning's coffee meet was filling me with dread.


one of the moms has made it her mission to express deep dissastifaction with how things are going at the school. and saying that you're actually okay with things, as i am, warrants you a "but i'm an educator and you're not so of course you have no idea." quite literally.

well, i have been paying close attention to what my kid asks about after school and on the weekends, and his inquiries are becoming more sophisticated. he's writing more words independently, whereas before he was confident in writing his name on his own but wanted our guidance on all other words. he's bringing home worksheets that show good processing of some basic math and literacy concepts, and he's repeating rhythm structures and written notes (something that i never did in public school music classes OR in 8 years in a well-regarded chorus) from music class. and this is after one month in a school with a new K-6 population, a new magent curriculum, and 27 K students of abilties ranging from can't-write-a-letter to egads-my-handwriting-doesn't-look-like-a-grownup's. i think things are going well.

dissastisfied mom (DM) thinks that the kids are not getting enough hands-on science. the point of the program at this point, however, is more literacy-based, and the science will be coming in future months. DM asks why they can't do 'simple' things like bring in a pumpkin and ask the kids to guess how much it weighs. oh yeah? ever ask a little kid how old they think you are? or how tall or heavy someone is? this is not a concept that kids at that age have any grasp on, and bringing in something like this without a contextual unit on weights and measurements just makes it a very random guessing game. my feeling is that the kids need to learn to process things like, say, how to read and write numbers before measurements mean much to them.

DM is also unhappy with how the teacher (and the principal) deals with the small group of kids with repeated behavior issues. basically, they are given a warning, then they are removed from the group until they calm down, and if that doesn't work they are sent to the 1-2 grade class next door (the first and second graders share a class because there are so few of them). any work they miss due to misbehavior is done while the rest of the class has 'choosing' - a free period to work on puzzles, building, arts or other activities. DM and another of the moms think that these kids need more warmth and attention. problem was, when DM and other moms stayed in the classroom, the behavior issues got worse because these kids essentially got rewarded for being disruptive. i know that the intentions are good - the behavior issues are going hand-in-hand with socioeconomic and non-involved parent stereotypes and so it's hard not to feel for the lack of warmth these kids are getting on the homefront - but i agree with the teacher that it does these kids no favor to have an inconsistent message about classroom expectations. "but she could use more of a carrot with them," DM argues. having choosing time restored is a carrot. and what about the kids who are not having problems? should they essentially be punished because they're getting only standard treatment for appropriate behavior instead of extra pats on the head for meeting basic expectations? doesn't this teach this handful of kids that just doing what everyone is supposed to do is spectacular for them, and nothing else is really expected of them?

but, you know, my master's is in library science, so i have no fuckin' clue what i'm talking about. right.

1 comment:

Tony said...

DM sounds like a P in the A. Go on the offensive. Tell her science is for wussies, and you think they should spend more time on literacy. Then if she disagrees, remind her that you have a master's degree in Science.