Can we have this conversation without getting defensive about our children, our school, our school system, our teachers? I don’t like getting political on this blog because I don’t want to offend anyone. But, 99% of you reading this, have children. And many of you have children, who are either in elementary school or starting elementary school soon. And perhaps, many of you, worry about what your child is getting (or not getting) out of school. Perhaps the school is not a good fit, the teacher is not a good fit, the curriculum is not a good fit? Perhaps there is not enough focus on Art or Science or Music? Perhaps the class size is too large? Perhaps your child is bored or not challenged enough? Perhaps recess is being cut out? What about PE?
I want to say, that teachers (most of them!) are amazing human beings. To require that level of patience, understanding, skill is quite extraordinary. Are there bad teachers? Yes. Are there excellent teachers? YES! What do you do when your child gets that impatient, low-energy, uncreative teacher, who shouldn’t be a teacher? Do you advocate for all children, or just your child?
How many of us truly know what is going on in school? What our children are learning? Do we need to know? Did our parents ever know? How much should we participate in our children’s education? Do we want to be called ‘those parents‘, you know, the helicopters?
This past week, my mind has been swirling with information, misinformation, facts and opinions. As I watch my first grader, get on the school bus at 7:00am and return at 3:00pm to me, I have to wonder : What is she doing during the best part of her day? Am I sending her to school because that is what I am supposed to do, that is all I have ever known to do? Is this the best thing for her? For me?
I am confused, worried, anxious. Like any parent, I want the best for my child. For her to know and learn all that she is interested in, and expose her to many more things that our world has to offer : history, geography, weather, astronomy, art, art history, great literature and so much more. I am worried about how much of this she won’t receive in school, because, well, there is a little thing called ‘testing’. How do I supplement her education? Do I supplement her education? I mean, I figured it out, and I went to school systems in India where learning was anything but fun. So perhaps it is fine?
So, I am asking you, pretty pretty please, can you give me YOUR honest views on education? I hesitate to post this, I am afraid nobody will want to share. But I am doing it anyway.
And I want to thank my friends, who have listened to me, agonize over school decisions for the past week, regardless of whether you agreed with me or not. I appreciate all your opinions.
And since I can’t post without a photograph, here I am, at age 4, in Pre-K.
What would I tell that little girl, if I could talk to her now? I would tell her to keep drawing, keep pursuing art, and writing. That those are the things she would end up loving the best.