Yeah, it’s back to school time, a time that is really only beneficial to retailers. Working parents hate it because they have no time. Stay-at-home parents hate it because they have a few minutes, between diaper changes, so hey go volunteer! Kids hate it – well because it’s school. I don’t care how cute the bulletin boards are, it’s gonna suck.
And, naturally, teachers hate it. They are the ones stuck with our children all day. So teachers have to give kids a hard time at the beginning so that they will know who is boss. Unfortunately, the scary warnings only work on the kids who would be good anyway. The troublemakers are just going to laugh, laugh, laugh and snort some cocaine off the page.
I kid, because my children go to suburban schools and everyone knows these students aren’t going to use plain old copy paper with their drugs, nor are they actively going to use them in front of the teacher. So since suburban teachers don’t have the truly horrible problems that teachers at some inner-city schools face (lesson one: stay alive through 7th period), they have to make them up.
Here’s an example. When Thing Two was in kindergarten, her teacher gave her detentions every day. It’s not that my little darling didn’t deserve many of them. I do understand that the angrily scribbled note “Child was in boy’s restroom screaming down the hall” is kind of hard to debate. But forgetting her lunch back in the classroom? Yes, she got one for that. At five. Two years out of diapers. Heck, I once forgot to pack her a lunch. Oh, I gave her the lunch sack, just no lunch. I can still imagine the child opening that empty sack to this day. Luckily I only received “Mom of Shame” for that one.
The thing with giving a detentions for a kid misbehaving is that it backfires. You were jumping around the classroom; now you miss recess! The – one time when the kid CAN jump? When you want them to jump until they collapse barely breathing and then you can actually tell them stuff? The detention defeats that. And giving detentions for something that isn’t even misbehavior is just as bad. You end up with so many, it is no longer really a punishment. Thing Two handed them to me like flyers.
I remember back in the day – the day before Internet kids – when teachers just saved those things for when kids really did something bad, like say punching another kid, or the teacher. Definitely deserved then. But the other stuff is just silly. And it doesn’t stop in kindergarten. Thing One brought home a paper for me to sign for her art class yesterday. It said “Any mechanical pencils left on the desk will result in a detention. No mechanical pencils!!!” Wow. I get that you use “special” (ie expensive) pencils for art, but what the heck did a mechanical pencil do to her? That seems a wee bit extreme. Either she hasn’t been at that school long, or she’s been there WAY too long.
A lot of the teachers seemed pretty harried, judging by the number of times they used ALL CAPS in their warning, er, welcome letters. I get that teaching is an incredibly hard job. Both my parents did it, and they got out of it into the library and counseling, respectively, which are also awful, but not quite as bad. I was an education major, and just ran altogether my senior year. But I wonder what they give detentions for in those really tough schools they feature in movies like “Dangerous minds.”
- No semi-automatic weapons on the desk. Please keep in backpacks.
- Do not leave heroin needles lying around. Clean up after yourselves.
- If you wish to start creating the next generation, please do so in the privacy of your own locker.
- Please reserve making plans to rob the 7-11 for study hall.
- Tattoos are for art class.
- Please save gang warfare for Physical Education class.
- No shanking in the classroom, unless it’s science class and it’s a frog.
- No spitting, shooting, stabbing, stapling, severing, or stomping your teacher
- Save cell phones calls to pimps for after class
- Absolutely no mechanical pencils.
I think that about does it. How is the school year going for you guys?
I am fortunate in that I now live only five minutes away from my workplace. Unfortunately, it takes me roughly thirty minutes to get there every morning. Why? Because I have children, people, and these children go to school, and these schools are on opposite sides of town for maximum convenience.
Now I’m grateful for school, mostly. I mean you get people to take your kids everyday for free and occasionally they even learn something. But getting them there really sucks. I live in a moderately sized town. Not so tiny that the only social outlet is a Dairy Queen, but too small to have anything open past 11 pm. When I was growing up, there were three schools: an elementary school, a junior high, and a high school.
Since then there has been a yard ape population explosion and now there are multiple elementary schools, an intermediate school, a junior high, and a high school. Intermediate and junior high (they totally demoted my high school, the jerks) only house two grades a piece but there are still roughly a million kids going to both schools. This is better than the elementary school that houses like eleventy-billion.
And all of these children have parents and all of these parents have cars. Most of them have SUVs, actually, with those charming little stickers on the back with the stick figure children. I freaking hate those stickers. Seriously, people, the reason there is so much traffic every morning is because you decided to have like eight children, all of whom have names that aren’t names and start with B – Barracks, Britain, Breyers, Bayer Aspirin, Bayleaf, Boo-boo, Bridge, and Beyonce. Also a dog: Barfy. (Please see Tracy’s post on these stickers that will make you laugh your butt off.)
These people always pull in front of me and then stop, blocking traffic, and forcing me to block traffic, while they tearfully give lengthy goodbyes longer than the Gettysburg address to every single little brat (and yeah, all of them somehow go to the same elementary school, which shouldn’t even be possible biologically).
I reach this elementary school first, just a couple of blocks from my house. At one time I could drop both children off there, but then Thing One had to get older and go to a charm school for adolescents. Now I have to plan this strategically. If I get there too late, I am never getting out of the parking lot before 8 A.M. when technically they expect me to be at work. So I try to get there at 7:30, because the earliest you can drop your children off is 7:30 without them calling the cops.
This is rife with problems since Thing Two has the memory of a gerbil and never, ever, ever puts any of her stuff (like coat, shoes, backpack, etc) away. I do not know where she gets that from, seriously. Also, she must always have a stuffed animal with her because it’s like her familiar or something, and it’s always a different animal so no fairsies trying to keep one where you can find it.
Once I’ve deposited her, I get to go to the other side of town through early morning traffic. Now they force people to drive 20 mph and not use their cell phones (this is, like, followed so religiously) in school zones so that they don’t run over any precious children. That’s great, but it also makes it damn near impossible to get anywhere going at that speed. Also, you must frequently sit at stop signs and watch as one car putts, putts, putts along just slowly enough that the car putting along from the opposite direction has enough time to prevent you from crossing. Or some jerk who is much more important drives up beside you and blocks your view as well. My children have learned so many new words on the way to school.
I finally make it to the opposite side of town to the intermediate school, whose parking lot is somehow even worse than the elementary school, by which I mean 18th circle of hell worse. I drop off Thing One, and wheeee, it is now time for me to go to work. At this point, if I’m lucky, we’re operating at 7:45. Now to go BACK across town to where I work, that also happens to be closer to the elementary school and my house.
Once I arrive, I am greeted by the awesome parking situation, by which I mean there is no parking except several blocks away from where I work. In case you missed that post (No Parking) I also pay for this privilege. Again, if I’m lucky, we’re now at 7:55 or so. Then I just have to hoof it to the library and ta-da, I am there! Well, I’m in the building, which flipping counts because I say so, and because I have to tromp across the library, up the stairs and across the second floor to get to my office.
Fortunately, I work till 5 PM so I am unable to pick my children up from school (SADFACED) although I do occasionally get calls at work wondering who IS going to pick up said children. Maybe they could ask SUV stick figure mom.