Sunday, September 4, 2016

When I try REALLY hard to be a parent who supports teachers but.....

I really strive to be the parent who supports her children's teachers because 1. I recognize that teaching is a hard effing job and 2. I know my children can be completely ridiculous so I don't pretend that they are just so spectacular as to warrant special treatment from anyone.

I mean, they are good kids, but they aren't perfect.  N is a superb time-waster/procrastinator, and G is a know-it-all.  M is currently getting "off-the-chart" marks in first grade, but he is only just beginning his schooling journey, so he has plenty of time to show his true colors.  

However, I am already struggling a bit with some of the teachery things I'm having to participate in because I'm the parent.

The first is the insane amount of Social Studies homework for N, most of which I consider busy work.  It is basically questions that require her to look in the book and find the answer, and there is A LOT of it.  I'm not opposed to comprehension questions at all, but I don't know if every single question has to be answered in the back section of every chapter to ensure that a student has learned something.  Is 7th grade a social studies testing year?  If it is, that would explain it.  Not excuse it, in my opinion, but explain it.

Plus, N had virtually no homework in 6th grade and is getting slammed this year.  So maybe the problem isn't 7th grade but the fact that the workload wasn't gradually ramped up in 6th to prepare her for 7th.

The second part of the Social Studies work is that it ran over into the holiday weekend.  It should have been due on Friday so that it wouldn't interfere with a kid just being a kid on a long weekend.  Let my daughter become a mom before she realizes that her days of having a day off are COMPLETELY OVER.

Bear in mind, I'm not taking N out of the responsibility loop on this.  She is now at the lake with her cousin WITH HER SOCIAL STUDIES homework.  She worked on it Thursday from the time she got home until bed and Friday from the time she got home until bed and yesterday morning until we left for the lake.  And she is under instructions to work on it at the lake.  And if she doesn't get it done, there will be hell to pay when she gets home.  I took her iPod away the other day to ensure she knows I am serious, and I am making her do her homework in the kitchen so I can watch her.  I know she is a time-waster, and I want her to feel pain because this homework is making me feel pain.

(I recognize that I sometimes give my middle- and high school students work over our long break from Nov-Jan, but that work can be done in one week's time, not something they have to work on their entire.break.  They can wait until the week before our classes resume to do it so that we have something to discuss on our first day back).

The third complaint is the fact that N had a math test/quiz without having gotten back any of her math homework, so she couldn't study from it nor have any idea where she was screwing up so that D and I could work with her at home.  I just this second checked the online grading system and there is nothing for math.  No grades.  I don't check the portal often, but when my kid is having a crying fit over a math quiz, I can attribute it to the fact that she is in 7th grade and therefore, temporarily insane, but also that she hasn't gotten back any work to let her know whether she is screwed or not by this pending quiz/test.

The final complaint is Class Dojo, an app that allows me a "window" into G's day at school, which parents have been encouraged to get.  I think I hate it.  I don't really want to know when G is goofing off in the halls or every other stupid little thing he does.   I asked G if he knew about the app and what his number was, and he didn't have a clue. So I showed him, and the next day he got a 100.  Which makes me wonder if he is really clueless or if there is any discussion with the students of their Dojo points?  G is a rule-follower and wants to do well, so if he knows he will get points deducted for stuff, he will behave even better.  But if he isn't told he lost points, then what is the point of the points?

Of course, I have never been the type of teacher who was any good at disciplining in this manner.  It has always felt very random to me and, honestly, like more work than I could effectively keep up with.  I wouldn't be able to remember who had clipped down and for what, and who had clipped up and why and be able to report it with any accuracy to the parent.  Sometimes I think back to when I had my public school class, which I think was pretty productive, but I rarely gave detentions or wrote referrals.  I think I was pretty good at encouraging kids to do their work, and if they did that, I let a lot of other stuff go. 

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