You all have been sending me the best advice and support since I wrote about the trouble we are having with Little G's school. Nothing has improved since that last post, in fact I spent nearly two hours in the classroom last week and things were even worse than I imagined.
The teacher is a nice person and I don't want to demonize her but, as my sister-in-law pointed out, there is a difference between liking your teacher and getting a good education.
What I observed when I volunteered made me think that beyond not learning anything (which I had sort of resigned myself to), just spending time in the classroom might be detrimental to Little G's development. Without getting into details (I have become exhausted by the details) I will say that there is no structure and there are no expectations or consequences. It is a waiting room for twenty-eight five and six year olds. At one point I went to complete a project in the copy room and I just wanted to stay in there and rock back and forth in the fetal position. No wonder my artistic, detail-oriented daughter is coming home from school with pages of scribbles.
Mr. G emailed the principal again after my experience on Thursday and he still has not gotten back to us. I'm not quite sure what to do.
However, I have been working through this very helpful checklist of questions sent to me by a trusted parent friend:
- Do you have other public or charter schools that you can transfer to now? No, the transfer deadline was September 30, so we are stuck . . . barring an epic tantrum and charging through lots of red tape (something that we are of course very capable of doing).
- Do you want to (or can you) consider private school options? Not in our current financial situation, though we could investigate tuition and scholarships.
- How do you feel about the other teachers at the school? Meaning, can you get through this year, albeit miserably, and find better teachers in following years? I don’t know. I need to observe some other classes, especially first grade. (ACTION ITEM!) I'm also starting to think keeping her in the class might cause her harm in the long run.
- Do you feel good about the principal and the school administration and do you feel like they'll help you achieve your goals? Right now, I don’t. They are not responsive to our calls or emails.
- How do you feel about the community? I love that she is in our neighborhood and has a group of friends who live nearby. The kids in the upper classes seem like reasonable people and good role models. I like that the other families are diverse in many ways (the school draws from all over the city) but that they all chose this school for its commitment to social justice.
- Do you imagine finding good, supportive, maybe even like-minded friends there who have similar ideas about how to raise a successful child? Yes, we already have a really nice group of friends who's company we enjoy and who are excited about building a supportive community and raising kids together. This is a point that I think will become more clear to me as I tackle the problems in the classroom. I'm already seeing that some people have a different take on what the children's experience should be.