Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Parents are not the enemy!

I am on both sides of the education triangle. Jamie is in first grade and Mike is a tenth grade World History  teacher.

For some reason there has been a rallying cry against teacher for the past several years. It's as if much of society sees teachers as lazy souless drones just going in and getting a paycheck for standing or sitting in a room with their students and not teaching them properly.  I know all too well how hard teachers work. I get it, I really do, I am married to one after all. He works from 6:30 am until at least 4 pm every day and then spends most nights working for several more hours. He sometime spends all night grading papers, writing lesson plans and preparing for the myriad of demands put on him not only by his own administration, but by the county, the state and national standards and personnel; and of course the demands of his own high standards of not taking shortcuts. Ex all of his homework assignments require lots of knowledge even to grade the work. I have rarely been able to even help grade papers because of this. He doesn't have multiple choice or fill in the blank work.

Anyway, now that I have a first grader I find myself confronted by the personnel in the small elementary school where Jamie attends. I feel like they brace themselves against me and other parents. That we are the 'thorn in their paw'...that their jobs would be SO MUCH EASIER if we didn't come in to the office or make calls into the office.

WTH!?? This is so much a part of our world today. Nobody wants to deal with anyone else's crap.  There is no customer service anymore with phone trees, long lines for everything we buy and no individualized attention from anything from getting a mortgage approved to trying to locate something in the store at Walmart.

We are all islands swirling around each other trying to find our way...

OK I went WAYYYY off on a tangent here. Here is what happened last week at Jamie's school:

I volunteer in Jamie's classroom every Monday morning for a couple of hours. I help with lesson preparation by cutting and stapling, I sharpen pencils, and fix the teachers bulletin board, I even move around the classroom helping kids and redirecting them to do their work each week.

So the office personnel know me well. Well last week was Jamie's Daddy Daughter dance. And I forgot to bring in the money by the deadline which was last Monday. So I asked if I could possibly bring it in the next day as they don't take a check or credit card, it has to be cash or a money order. The lady told me they needed a count, and I assured her I would bring it in that next day so she said it would be ok.

Then they wouldn't accept it. The principal had laid down the law and wouldn't allow any late payments.

Ok I get it. They have rules. And rules shouldn't be broken apparently in any case. I stood there pleading my case to not only the two office ladies but the principal but they wouldn't budge. ("What is it a sit down dinner? Why can't you take late payments, it's a fund raiser...Etc etc"

I left feeling like they had won and I had lost.

I just think there is another way to treat parents. Would it really be a big deal to take late payments? Perhaps with some sort of penalty. Such as $5 more per ticket or you need to bring your own snacks and drinks. I am not saying I should get special treatment...I am saying all parents should be accommodated if it's possible. Come on who's it going to hurt...and you know it just may help a kid and isn't that what it should be all about?

So Jamie missed her Daddy Daughter Dance.

Ok that is my rant for today.