Why I Don’t Want to Send Her (Back) To School

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** I originally removed this post after extreme backlash from the school. I am returning the post to my blog because it’s my opinion and I have the right to express it and I will not be bullied by veiled threats.

** 9/2011 update on Advocacy and Parental Involvement in Schools

I’m dreading sending my girls back to school.

In JJ’s class, the art activities are something like this: A pre-cut scarecrow with pre-cut material and googly eyes at a “center” with a teacher’s helper to tell the kids exactly where to glue the material and eyes. All the scarecrows look exactly the same.

This is only one of the daily centers where in my opinion, there is one differentiated activity which is the guided reading group that meets with the teacher. (Differentiated meaning adjusted to what the child know and needs to know.) The rest of the centers are 1) cut and paste 2) listening to a book on tape 3) “art” activity where each child is asked to follow the teacher’s directions, not think for themselves and 4) a worksheet. This happens everyday. Since the start of school.

When I volunteer during the morning centers, I love getting to know the little cuties but I’m shocked at the dullness of this reading rotation.

My daughter doesn’t like school except for recess, could she be as bored as me?  She already knows her letters, and already could cut with scissors and use glue long before kindergarten. She’s ready to learn something new. She needs a classroom that differentiates for her needs AND that doesn’t make her do their way of art. (Aren’t we beyond this kind of instruction? – I remember this as an example of what not to do in education classes.)

I’m a teacher. I get how challenging a classroom full of kids at different levels can be . . . but it is possible.

I want JJ to love learning and thinking. I want her to be challenged to imagine and use her imagination in school.

But, except for the socialization, she might as well be home with me all day.

And, frankly I’m considering my options.

Unfortunately, I do this every year and we’ve already moved neighborhoods and schools once. Do we move again in hopes of the holy grail of good education? or is it an impossible dream?

My other daughter (AJ)went from above grade level (4s) in Kindergarten with an amazing, gifted and experienced teacher only to drop below proficient by the end of first grade (2s) because she didn’t have a strong teacher. AJ is still catching up two years later.

This month, let’s talk about education. Let’s talk about educational change (perhaps you’ve read Ralph Fletcher’s Walking Trees?) and what we want for our children’s education. What makes a good teacher anyway? What about a good curriculum and standards? What makes a good learning environment for a classroom – let’s get specific!

If you think you’d like me to consider a guest post from you, email me at Melissa@imaginationsoup.net and I’ll send you my criteria for a guest post. Otherwise, please comment as much as you can to share your opinions!

My next post, we’ll look at teachers – good ones. How do you know if the teacher is good? Be ready to weigh in!

What do you think about my situation? What would you do if you were me? Has this happened to you?

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Is My Child’s Teacher a Good Teacher?

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45 Responses

  1. I am a retired special education and kindergarten teacher. I believe children should attend public school if at all possible. If it is not satisfactory, then help make it so. Yes, the classrooms are too crowded and the teachers are underpaid. Help make changes through your school, district policies, and state legislation. Volunteer whenever you can. Some things can be taken home to help a teacher, go on field trips, help in the classroom, help a child in the hall who needs special attention. My daughter was a special ed. student. She did fine in elementary school where I taught. But middle school did not work for her as much as I thought it should. So we finally homeschooled her and it was a wonderful opportunity for Sarah and her dad to bond. I made the lesson plans and he worked at home so could help her with the lessons. Do whatever is best for your child – but demand good teachers. It is very difficult for a teacher to be fired – very difficult due to union lawyers, the amount of documentation required and the many times a teacher may fail before something truly horrible happens so that she or he can be fired. I know wonderful dedicated amazing teachers who are burned out because of state standardized tests and No Child Left Behind pressures. Vote, take action and volunteer – or homeschool.

  2. Wow. My son is in a ” good” kindergarten and this describes his day perfectly… Makes me think twice!

  3. I am glad you re-posted this. You describe many of the reasons that we decided to pull our daughters out of public school and begin our homeschool journey several years ago! Best of luck as you try to sort out what the answer is to your situation.

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