I very, very rarely gripe about teachers. For the most part, I think they're saints. Many of them are underpaid, underfunded, and overworked. They are asked to do more with less but still improve test scores on an annual basis. They're asked to keep track of half a dozen IEPs, evaluate students individually but teach an entire class at a time, communicate with parents who may or may not care (or even speak English as their primary language), make lesson plans months before they've even met the students, attend mandatory training classes that sometimes take place on weekends, volunteer for extra activities such as supervising concession stand sales at basketball games or other after-school events... the list could go on and on. And that's not even factoring in the fact that many are parents themselves.
For the most part, I admire teachers. They've got guts.
However. I received an e-mail today from M2's reading teacher. M2 is bright. M2 is determined. M2 was moved up to second-grade reading and spelling early in the school year, along with another first-grade girl, and she has kept up with them beautifully.
At the beginning of the year, this teacher sent home a folder filled with some 'book report' pages and asked that the kids read each evening and keep a log of some of the books that they read in this folder. I checked it, and there were about 25 pages in it. Cool beans. The teacher encouraged the kids to read each night but specifically said that they didn't have to write down every book they read... which was a good thing, because this wasn't a simple book list. Each page has space for the title, the author, a line about the child's favorite part of the book, a box to draw a corresponding picture, and smiley faces that can be colored in to rate how much the child liked the book. It's a 20-30 minute process for M2 to do one of these pages, and I'll be honest... we slacked off. M2 does most of her reading after I tuck her in at night, and I'm not about to encourage her to get up and do the book reports at 8:30 p.m. because she would use that as an excuse to get up every night. So as of today, she'd done about 15 pages. I thought we were doing okay, because I hadn't heard otherwise from the teacher and I just assumed that the goal was to finish the pages in the folder by the end of the school year.
Apparently, I was wrong. VERY wrong.
I received an e-mail today from the teacher indicating that many of the kids hadn't been doing as much as they were supposed to be doing, and please remember that all children who read ONE HUNDRED TWENTY-FIVE BOOKS (that's 1-2-5) by the end of March or early April got to go on a special field trip.
That would have been nice to know in, say, August. Apparently the teacher reminded the class about it today. The second graders had known about this for a while, but this was the first time either M2 or I have heard anything about this field trip/reward trip, and M2 was frantic to do 110 book reports between now and the end of March. Her anxiety was going through the roof, so I told her that we would not be doing that much, and that on the day of the field trip, I'd take her out for ice cream for doing her best since we hadn't been given the appropriate information to begin with. She's still a little panicky, but her anxiety level isn't quite as bad as it had been.
I like to think I am a conscientious, involved parent. When the teacher e-mails about homework, we do it. It is turned in on time, and if M2 forgets it (as she did on Tuesday), we go in and tell the teacher what happened rather than assuming that it's all gonna be okay. I am up at the school nearly every day, and I try to talk to the teachers on a fairly regular basis to make sure all is well. The fact that it is January 6 and I'm just hearing about this irritates the crap out of me. I understand that this teacher is a busy lady and a mom of two, but c'mon... five months of nothing? I could go talk to her and have a good rant, but I won't. I don't feel like it would accomplish much, and besides, M2 will still have her first-grade classmates to hang with that day, so she won't feel quite as left out as she would if she was a full-time second-grader.
Still... Mama Bear has her claws out today. Let's see if anyone else wants to poke me.