Friday, August 27, 2010

A friendly reminder

It has not been a great week. Okay, well, most of the week has been just fine. The past two days though, have been pretty ugly. I was sobbing and lamenting to my husband via email last night that I can't even remember why I bother with doing things the way we do, from gardening to preserving to homeschooling.

Tonight I took Cora out to McDonald's for what has become our weekly Friday night ritual. We had the pleasure (ha ha) of sitting behind four middle-aged elementary school teachers who were apparently out for their end-of-the-first-week bitch fest.

It was irritating, to be certain, but it was a blessing. I clearly remember now why I homeschool. One talked about how she found a little boy and a little girl locked in a bathroom stall together with their pants down - at SEVEN years old! Another laughed about how she'd found her own seven year old son kissing a little girl. Oh my good gracious.
Another was lamenting to the others about how hard it is to keep fifty kids under control when there are only two teachers in the room. Now, I don't doubt it's a heckuva job to teach that many kids at once, but for heaven's sake, why on earth do they have to? If only there were more teachers.... or more homeschoolers.
I listened to them gripe about everything from poorly disciplined children who make it hard for the other kids to learn, to how to decide how much to dumb things down for one particular kid, trading "time out" techniques and how best to avoid having to do hands-on projects because they are too much of a hassle.

Thanks, ladies. If had forgotten why on earth I keep my children at home with me all day, every day, without a break.... well, now I remember.

Disclaimer: I in no way mean to insult these women. I don't doubt for one second how hard their job is, between unruly kids, learning difficulties, monstrous class sizes, uninvolved parents and limited funding and materials. I think the whole learning/schooling system is messed up, but I do commend public school teachers for their efforts to make the most of what they're given.


Wendy said...

yikes. Sounds like a reaffirming eavesdropping session!

In my experience, there are always a solid group of amazing, dedicated teachers who literally change lives, but then far more who are mediocre or below. I'm sure there are bad attitudes in all workforces, but yeah, it's particularly sad when it's coming from people who are supposed to be changing the lives of kids.

I taught 8th grade English for 4 years and you know what? I was a motherfreaking good teacher. I changes lives. But it's also part of my philosophy to not be in a situation that I'm not happy with. I'm a counselor now simply b/c I love it. With the sick and really incredibly sad and rough situations my students have been in that I've been privy to, I'm sure there will be a point when I'll burn out, and when I do, I'm outta there. I'd rather be jobless than sit in a McDonald's on a Friday night and loudly complain about kids.

I'm in a good county and am paid well (I have 2 Master's degrees so that helps), but truth be told, no one is in education for the money. I don't see why people would stay in a job they hate, with kids they hate, for no pay. It actually really pisses me off too. There are a handful of teachers who kids fear and complain about every single semester. It's like why are they still there if they hate kids so much?!

Here's another random thing about the school system that you don't have to worry about. In this budget crisis, the population is growing, but we're actually letting teachers go. Today I was literally adding a 37th kid to an Algebra class (with one teacher)! Our French 1 class has 42 kids. As of today there are 48 kids in PE. If I were still a teacher and found this on my first day back in September - that would be a dealbreaker. Our union found that 1/3 of all new teachers quit within the first 5 years - leaving the die hard dedicated and the crappy bad-attitude teachers who bitch at McDonald's.

Julie said...

Wendy, thanks for your thoughts! You were one of the ones I was a little worried about offending. Glad to know you understand where I'm coming from!
I agree with you - if you aren't doing something you love, don't do it. Especially if it involves the care of children, who are so easily affected by our attitudes and actions.
There are some REALLY GREAT teachers out there (I was blessed with several of them growing up) and I respect the work they do very much.
It just frustrates me that so many kids get lost in such a huge school system, and so many teachers are only doing it because they feel like they're stuck there. Ach, yeah, it's a mess. 'Nuff ranting from me. Thanks again for posting your thoughts!

Just Me said...

While homeschooling won't work for me, this is an excellent reminder of some of the reasons I send my kids to a charter school. They have much smaller class sizes, more individual attention, and an all around better education than they would in regular public school. Sebastian, while technically a 6th grader, is doing 7th and 8th grade work in most classes. And 9th grade math. But the other kids in his class are his own age.

That would never happen in a regular public school. He would be forced to stay behind with the rest of the class on work, or to be skipped ahead grades and try to work side by side with kids older than him.

And with this school, he doesn't seem to get the smart-kid treatment". You know... when there is a kid that is pretty far ahead of the other kids, who gets straight A's without trying, who kills the curve (if the teachers grade on one) and that kids get endless ridicule and torment from the other kids.

Enough of the other kids are working ahead (though none as far) that they think nothing of it. And the kids who need a little extra help in certain subjects, they get the help they need too.

I am so not a fan of traditional public schools anymore. It isn't the teachers' faults (usually). They really ARE underpaid, overworked, and thrown in a room with way more kids than they should be. But I would never send my kids back to regular schools again.

Wendy said...

oh, and speaking of "getting lost" in a huge school system, guess who "got lost" and missed the bus home on her first day of Kindergarten last week?! I try to be understanding but I went off on that teacher.

Crazy Homeschool Mama said...

good thing homeschooling is legal if Obama decided to amke it illegal and we all had to put our kids in school then what

Just Me said...

The only thing President Obama has said in regards to homeschooling is that if a family decides to homeschool, that decision should be honored.

Does that REALLY sound like he wants to make it illegal?

The only claims I have seen that President Obama is against homeschooling are made in OPINION blogs by people who have no facts to back up their claims.