Sunday, May 20, 2007

Is That Smoke I Smell?

Liar, liar, pants on fire!

Yup, that's me. I guess I lied in my last post when I said I was back from my hiatus. Life got busy again.

It's the end of the year, so I'm busy writing up Report Cards, super-cleaning the classroom,having conferences w/ parents (more on that to come). Plus I'm working a part-time job nights and weekends. And, I've been on a HUGE reading kick lately. I'm reading everything I can get my hands on.

I will try, try, try to get back into blogging. I apologize for not coming around to yall's sites. :(

Ok, may I vent briefly about school stuff?

I teach Kindergarten. The K of today is NOT the K it used to be when we were kids. When we were kids, it was playtime and learning ABC's. Not today. Thanks to "No Child Left Behind" (don't even get me started on that!) and other things, children are being pushed too much, in my opinion. The need to be reading by the end of K. Most of my kids are at that point, and it is exciting to see. I love it! But a few just aren't ready for that developmentally. They are NOT "stupid." They just aren't where these new standards are saying they should be at. So I need to retain them, and explain to parents that they can't go to 1st grade. To which parents say, "How can my kid fail Kindergarten?!" They aren't realizing the drastic change of K from then to now.

So I'm having a rough time right now.

Now, may I also say: Parents, your child's teacher is NOT out to get you, and does not have a secret vendetta against you! (Or at least... most likely doesn't!) The teacher is just giving his/her professional opinion in hopes to best enable your child to reach his/her full educational potential. I want all my kiddies to succeed in life. And if I allow Betsy Lou-Who into 1st grade when she isn't ready, she will struggle her whole entire education career. She will hate school, and likely be a drop-out. She will definitely not be going to college. I'm not saying all my kiddies need to be rich career people. I just want them to love to learn, to become life-long learners. At the end of 1st or 2nd grades, that teacher may recommend retantion. Let me tell you- it is SO MUCH better to repeat K than an older grade. Kids are not as cruel (or observant) in K.

Now, conversely, if you, parent, attack that teacher's credibility and treat her in a demeaning manner, that will only make her start to have an unfavorable view of your child. I know, it's wrong, but that's reality. I try, try, try not to let that happen to me. I'm pretty much successful w/ that.

Please don't think I'm attacking parents. I'm not. I'm sympathizing that I know K is requiring much more out of kids than maybe it ought. Not all children are ready for that. I'm not saying the child is "dumb." I just want what's best for your child, and I know that there can be a difference between the views of a parent and of a teacher. I try to see it from both sides when I make final decisions.

I, myself, was held back from K. Back then, the cut-off was 5 by January 31st (today it's 5 by Sept. 1st). I was a late October birthday. My mom chose to hold Becky and I back, and to start K when we were a bit more matured. I think it was the best thing my mom could have done. Becky and I were always towards the top of our class. We loved school, it came easier for us than for many others.

Sorry if I offended any parents out there. I'm trying to be honest, yet also describing how I understand and respect the views and opinions of the parents. I want us to work as a team.

So, I guess you're getting a glimpse of what I'm struggling w/ right now. Not fun, let me tell you!
Well, it's near 3 am, and I have to be up for church tomorrow (I'll probably sleep in. Bad me!) ... G'Night!


Crazy Working Mom said...

I say THANK YOU for the valuable insight. :)

As a mother of a 4 year old, I totally agree with you. My daughter started a preschool/daycare in August of last year and I tell you what, lots of those kids who'd been going there all of their life have been writing their name for a long time, and way more advanced in what they know than my daughter. Kids have to know now before they can get into K what we LEARNED while we were there, probably even more. Most of it we probably learned in 1st grade. K was just to get you used to going to school. I think that K has to be one of the most difficult grades to teach b/c a lot of those children have never been in any kind of structured learning and you have to not only teach them that routine but also the curriculum!

Best of luck to you! Thanks for the info. :)

By the daughter was born in November, so she'll start late. Son was born in August, so he'll start early. I wish it were the other way around. :(

Akanksha said...

hiii both of u !!

i india the education system is even more gruellin..
i hated goin to scool.. so i was pretty much home schooled till 2nd standard.. i started goin to scool frm 3rd grade.. i hav always been in the top 3 of my class.. so home scoolin gets a thumbs up frm me atleast wen the kids r really young.. but due to that i did hav some adjustment problems wid the other kids..
hell i am confused now!!

twilite said...

Hi Abby! My empathies for being a teacher today!

Yes, I wonder what's the world becoming when a kinder is expected to read and write before school begins! Children can't just enjoy play without the academic strappings.

I certainly hate this school of thought.

I know of one lad who resulting of parents' major posting decidedly drop out of kinders yet, he's excelling in his studies today...going to top schools/university.

Glad you had sensible parents who allowed you both to grow up and enjoy life.

I wish you better days ahead...perhaps you could spearhead something along these give room for growth to those who might not enjoy early schooling??? Make sense? Ignore if this sounds wierd!

'liya said...

Good to have you back!

As for the kindergarten situation, I totally agree that if you let "Betsy Lou-Who into 1st grade when she isn't ready, she will struggle her whole entire education career" - and you start seeing that when it's too late, which means in high school, when it's very very hard to turn back.

"it is SO MUCH better to repeat K than an older grade. Kids are not as cruel (or observant) in K." - for sure! And you have a big job in these descisions. There's some teachers who just want to pass students and couldn't care less if they'd struggle the next year or not and I find that very annoying. We have that problem a lot with grade 8 teachers and we wonder how some of the grade 9's made it to high school when they clearly would have benefited from another year in grade 8 - for their own good.

We have a responsibility to make these descisions and that can be very hard because you don't want to keep the kid back, but sometimes you know you have to do what feels right and ultimately, what you know will help them in the end. Good luck with all these end of the year things - I know it must be really stressful and that's too bad that some of the parents are giving you a hard time about it when they should be thinking about what's best for their kids.

Michael C said...

We just learned how hard the twins are going to be pushed in Kindergarten next year. Wow!

~*SilverNeurotic*~ said...

I was held back in 2nd grade. I had gone to a private school up until that point and I just couldn't hack public school. Even back then before the "no child left behind" it was still tough standards. The school was good about it, my teacher, my parents and the principal all had conferences about it...and even included me in the decision. Probably the best thing. i still have problems later on but I can only imagine how much harder I would have had it if I hadn't been held back.

When it came time for my siblings to start K, my parents chose to hold my brother and sister back (twins). They probably could have hacked the work...they are quite smart and my mom was already doing a lot of the stuff with them on her own...but she felt in the long run that it would be the best for everyone.

Mother of Invention said...

WE echo all of your thoughts here in Ontario...just pushing too fast and they can't handle it. We don't fail Kinder. and seldom any other grade...we just push'em on! It's nuts! They don't even have time to consolidate what you've taught and it's on to the next thing or you won't have time to "cover" it! I don't miss that part of teaching.

A.J.Reams said...

We held back our son from starting preschool. He is an early october birthday. This was the BEST decision we've ever made. I talked with the kindergarten teachers before we made that decision and she told me that the majority of kids they have to hold back are October birthday's.

He will be going into the 3rd grade next year and is a wonderful student.

I volunteer in my kids school and I'm sick to death of parents blaming the teachers for everything that is wrong with their kids. I hear stories everyday. Never in a million years would I ever want to be a teacher.

Bless you!