Monday, November 21, 2011

Parents Teach Your Children Well

I work for my public school system. In the course of my day, I have the privilege and the misfortune of working with children that are the direct results of their parents' parenting.

Today, our new superintendent made it known that under no circumstance is a child to lose any or all of their recess. This may be part of his thinking but it was certainly heighten by a collection of petitions from county parents irate that their children had to sit out recess to: either catch-up on homework they did not do, class work from the morning they did not finish, or for disciplinary reasons like not following the basic rules of the school.

I've read through the pages and pages of posts. I am officially sick to my stomach. I did not reply to the thread for fear of being found out that I have an opinion counter to the new rules of my employer. I would like to keep my job at least until I can no longer tolerate being spit on (literally and figuratively) by children whose parents feel their offspring are completely within their rights to do so. But had I written, this is what I would have said:

I've just read through these posts and I have to ask, have any of you ever been in the school during a school day?

Have you witnessed teachers, in maxed out classrooms, being distracted by poor to offensive and certainly disrespectful behavior, from students that are not coded with learning issues but rather come from the "I don't feel like it" school of thought? They are the same teachers giving up their own lunch and planning time to meet with your children to get them up to speed and the only time they can do that without discouraging the students that actually care about learning and pay attention during class time, is to use recess time.

Recess is a privilege not a right. It is the natural progression of things that if you don't follow the rules there will be consequences and loss of privileges. It's that easy. How would you suggest the situation be remedied? Perhaps extra homework, staying after school, Saturday classes.

Additionally, I hope you don't mean to suggest that children should not have consequences for their behavior. It's not always a matter of the teachers keeping them in to catch-up. Sometimes it is a matter of your children's daily disregard for the basic rules of the school. Or more so, treating others with respect which apparently from reading some of these posts, is no longer a trait valued in this country. If that was the lesson you hoped to instill in your children, then job well done.

I support our teachers, administrators and staff and the difficult decisions they have to make daily with regards to the good of all. I am a staff member AND a parent in this school system. And if my children were behind on their work and their teacher was willing to give up personal time to meet with them one on one, why would I ever throw that generous gift away. Likewise, if my child was making poor choices when it came to behavior, I would expect consequences just as I would at home.

Think beyond just your child missing recess and look at the bigger picture. What message are you sending to your child?
I wish I could post this. I bet the responses would be something to see.


  1. Well written, Bonnie! I'm giving you a one woman standing ovation!
    I agree. Recess is a privilege, not a right. I've told my son's teacher(he's only in first grade so has just one teacher) that if he misbehaves he can have recess taken away.
    It would be interesting to look into the future of these children who are getting privileges they haven't earned and see what happens when they have to support themselves and a family. What happens when they're late for work? What happens when their job performance isn't up to par? What happens when they don't show up for work just because they don't feel like going?
    My boys would most likely be considered heathens by some, but let me tell you, they know they must do homework, go to school and they must behave or they have to face the consequences of their poor choices.
    You should consider posting this, Bonnie. Do it anonymously. You've really made an excellent point and shouldn't be afraid to stand by it. You might be surprised to find that you supervisor may even feel the same. Maybe he/she was too overpowered by parents not wanting to take responsibility for their kids actions and decided to just give in to stop the nagging.

  2. Thank you, Wendy.
    It is both wonderful and refreshing, to know that other parents feel as I do, when SO many other parents see school as merely free daycare, not valuing their child's education or the people they are becoming in society. But upon closer inspection, it becomes all to clear why that is. They themselves are, what they are raising.... which is another blog post entirely ;-)
    Thank you, Wendy for always being a voice of reason in this crazy world.
    Happy Thanksgiving!

  3. Hope your Thanksgiving was wonderful and relaxed.
    My husband and I are considering ECOT, an online home school for our youngest son. He's bored in school and as a consequence, gets himself into trouble. He's very smart and does his work, but think he needs more attention to excel. We think he needs to be challenged more. I should be receiving a packet with all the information soon. So far, one of my husband's friends has come forward to say that his son uses ECOT and has had excellent results. Only time will tell what will be our choice for our child.
    Having said that mouthful, I still think parents should expect their children to behave with manners not only in school, but in all their lives.
    Just because my son is bored and causes a comotion doesn't mean he shouldn't be held accountable for his actions.
    Still think you should post your letter if you already haven't. :)

  4. I'm not familiar with ECOT. Will it be a supplement to school or will you officially be home schooling? I've often considering homeschooling, but at the end of the day, I'm just not patient enough to teach even my own child. We would be feuding all the time.
    I am very excited for you though. I would love to hear more about the program. The idea of homeschooling has always seemed so wonderful... doing research in the world, following their passion for something in any direction it takes you. Field trips daily, days off when you've done enough, meeting like-minded parents and kids at museums and art galleries. I am very excited for you!
    Please tell me more when you get a chance.
    Happy Thanksgiving, Wendy! All the Best to you always, my friend.

  5. ECOT is a state home school program that is done online. It cannot be a supplement to "regular school". However, it isn't a home school where the parent is completely alone like Laura Ingalls doing all the work with your own cirriculum. With this program teachers are available to help with anything via online or by phone. And my son will begin right where he left off at school because ECOT is run by the State of Ohio and follows Ohio school guidelines and procedures. My son will still have home work and has to log in at specified times and must send his home work in to a teacher to be checked over. He will have a packet sent home with writing and other things he has to do in first grade and we will have to scan and send them off to his teacher as well. As parents we are responsible for Arden's work getting completed. So, he will still have school, just at his own pace without the distractions. Just look up ECOT online. It will give you a detailed description much better than mine :)

  6. It sounds like an online college. It's the best of both worlds: structure to the day but at your own pace and certainly without distractions. Will you meet with a group of other ECOT kids for field trips and activities? It sounds like an amazing opportunity.
    I can't want to hear how it all goes. :-)