We did the letter “F” this week. Personally, I do no prefer to teach using letter of the week…and for the past couple years I’ve been trying to get away with not doing it…but I was caught and told I didn’t have a choice! So, this year I’m sucking it up and doing it – but I’m doing it MY way! 🙂 The entire school does a letter a week in alphabetical order. This week we were on letter “D” – well, at least everyone else was. I have decided NOT to go in alphabetical order. If I have to teach something I don’t want to – I’m going to do it the way I want. And since I use monthly themes, I’m teaching the letters to tie in with our theme so the curriculum seems more cohesive and meaningful for the children.
So, as I was saying, this week we did letter “F”. I made a large letter F out of poster board and feathers so the children could “feel” (or trace) the letter with their fingers and see it all week (as I place it at the table or area where we are doing letter-related activities). We glued wallpaper “scales” onto fish, wrote the letter in flour, and made fans to keep us warm in the heat. I was pleasantly surprised when, after giving some children their paper to color and decorate for their fan, some wrote F’s on them as part of the decoration! This was totally the children’s idea as I gave them absolutely no direction beyond, “Decorate the front and back of your paper.” I was super excited to see this – and the children who did this were excited to show me! It’s the little moments like this that I look forward to and make me smile! 🙂
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.