Deep breath, calm down – and vent!

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A couple of weeks ago Ms. Lezze-Faire came to Ms. Bennet while I was on my break and started questioning her as to what our curriculum was and what we did in class.  She of course had no idea.  Apparently two parents had complained that their young child couldn’t be learning anything in our class because they weren’t bringing home worksheets.  And, of course, the parents couldn’t just come directly to the teachers and ask – that would be too easy!  They just HAD to involve Ms. Lezze-Faire!

So, Ms. Bennet explained that we don’t do worksheets because we feel that they are not developmentally appropriate for young children.  She also explained to her some of our hands-on activities that we do to get the children involved in their learning.  She also mentioned that we conducted and sent home progress reports in December (and will do so again mid-March) and that the majority of the children were right on track.  She also explained that we don’t follow the schools “Letter of the Week” curriculum – we have made the choice to introduce the letters that correspond to our thematic units – and so far it has worked because 90% of my students know 3/4 or more of the alphabet (both upper and lower case).

When I got back from my break Ms. Lezze-Faire and Ms. Bennet got me up to speed on the conversation.  I asked her who the parents were that were concerned.  She wouldn’t tell us.  I don’t know why – maybe she was afraid we would actually say something to them and work the problem out!  She finally broke down and gave us a small hint – implying that this child went to a different school last year. That narrows it down to 2 friends in my class – I just wish I knew which one it was! She also said the other child has a sibling in Kindergarten right now – and I only have one child in my class who fits that description!

She went on to say that she loves how every teacher has their own teaching style.  But in that same breath she told us that we should start doing a couple worksheets a week just to “appease the parents”!  Umm – no.  I don’t think so.  If these parents have such an issue with how we teach – they need to come to us and let us know!

I told Ms. Lezze-Faire if they had bothered to come to parents night at the beginning of the year – they would have known and fully understood how we teach our class!  But God forbid a parent can sacrifice one evening for their child!  She agreed but said there was nothing we could do about that.  It still irritates me that only 3 of my parents showed up that night – and I have 20 children in my class!  But I digress…

I asked Ms. Lezze-Faire  who cares if we do worksheets as long as the children learn what they need to know?  Her answer:  Apparently the parents care!  (gasp) Wow!  This is the one time they actually seem to care!  Go figure.  Then she said she didn’t know what else to tell me;  I’d just have to work it out as best as I could.  In my head I rolled my eyes and sarcastically said, “thanks a lot!” but on the outside I smiled and thanked her for telling us.

So this last week I made a point to talk the parents of our friend who has a sibling in Kindergarten.  I told them how bright he was and how he would be ready for Kindergarten come fall.  I went on and on – I really laid it on thick because I know he will be more than ready!  (Although he does have a tendency to sometimes act like a two year old!  Boys can be so immature.)  Anyway, his mother smiled at me and said (this is a direct quote), “Oh I’ve been wondering about that!  We haven’t enrolled him in Kindergarten because we didn’t know if he’d be ready!  But now we can sign the papers!  Thank you!  He likes school so much – he even does his sisters homework!”  Yes, you read that right.  Apparently, he does his sisters homework!  His sister who is in Kindergarten!  Yet – she wasn’t sure if he was “ready” for Kindergarten!  How does this possibly make any sense!  It makes me want to scream and pull my hair out!

And in case you were wondering, I have no plans to “appease the parents”.  If they have an issue – they can come and talk to one or both of us – end of story.  I am here to do what’s best for the children.  They come first and are my priority.  And I will not compromise that for anyone.

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About deepbluetide

I am a pre-kindergarten teacher at a private christian school. I work mornings with 4 year olds (most of whom enter my class in July still being 3 - they're babies!) and then in the afternoon work "daycare" - which is basically my own class combined with 5 year old children. One things for sure - it's never dull! I had no idea growing up I would be teaching pre-k today! It took me totally off guard - but in the end I wouldn't change a thing! I have worked with children whose age range is 6 weeks through 12 years. In the end I have decided that my current age group is my favorite! And in case you were wondering - all names mentioned are changed to protect the identities of those involved. Enjoy!

5 responses »

  1. I can so relate to this post! Don’t you just love parents who think they have a right to tell teachers how to teach? My mechanic doesn’t give my doctor tips on how to practice medicine so why are parents giving teachers advice on teaching?!? I have been on the front lines of the worksheet war for over 15 years now and I’m not giving up yet! You can read all about my battle philosophy here:
    http://www.pre-kpages.com/no_more_worksheets.html
    Keep fighting the good fight 🙂

    vanessa

    BTW, love your blog

    • Hello! I LOVE your website! It has a lot of good ideas on it – some of which I already use! Thank you for your support and understanding! It’s hard to find sometimes but always greatly appreciated! And I agree – it is the good fight! We have to stick together on things like this! 🙂 And thank you for loving my blog – I try to keep it interesting and honest!

  2. Oh come on! Send something home that the parents actually have to HELP the kid do, you know, cut, paste, assemble………. Send home a reading log, you know, where the parents log how much time they spent reading TO their child……. They want paper, give them paper, just on your terms. Make everyone happy…….

  3. I know that in our area, a lot of parents seem to be overly worried about kindergarten readiness no matter what we told them about their child’s development. Last year I found out that one of the local schools (public) was having every child come in during the last weeks of August for a “visit”. During that visit, the parents had to wait in the hall while the teacher tested the child’s knowledge about letters and numbers and writing. I was so sad to hear this because it pressures parents to think their child might not succeed. How can we set up children to fail before they have even begun? Anyway, all this to say that there is a lot of pressure on parents for school success and I don’t think many parents really understand what school success looks like. I hope that your continued push back will help your school become a place for empowering children, parents, and teachers.

    • I agree – it’s not that bad here yet – but I know my parents still feel the pressure and are overly worried. I try to make it very clear at the beginning of the year at parents night and again in a letter home to all parents how I present the materials to make their children the most successful learner they can be! The majority of my parents are happy and and understand my methods – so I am not that worried. It’s times like these when I’m reminded that parent education can sometimes be just as important! 🙂

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