The world is rich…

Yes, there are so many topics from which to pick that I actually can’t pick one!

 Seriously, here’s a little mix to get things going:

First, someone please get Britney Spears some real help. She is clearly ill and her problems extend beyond substance abuse and immaturity. This a person who could afford to pay to make her look like she gives a damn about her children and she can’t even get it together to do that. She needs help, someone must notice this beside the nuts watching her fall to pieces. (Yes, I realize I’m one of those macadamias.)

Two, I’m not loving tv this season. Friday Night Lights is back on and it was really good last week except for one thing…two kids killed a guy in self-defense and then disposed of the body because they were too frightened to tell…they’re going to have to work miracles to make me buy this story line. I believe in them, though. If anyone can, FNL can.

Three,  educating poor children is a complicated affair. For those of you who think places like Duquesne are in the straights they are because of lazy, ill-equipped teachers, you are sadly mistaken. Yes, there are bad teachers everywhere and nowhere do they do more damage than in poor, urban or rural settings, but let me tell you there are good and great teachers in those places but the results of their endeavors rarely show up in measurable ways (yes, even in Duquesne elementary). Maybe people don’t like to hear that because it’s easier, mentally and emotionally, to say there’s one answer to a problem and if kids aren’t progressing its simply because the teachers are failing, but that’s not true. Sorry, it’s not. I wish it was true. Life would be easier for all involved if it were.

Four, at the opposite end of the education spectrum, my son attends a school that sports high achievment and a mix of socio-economic backgrounds, though it’s def. mostly middle class. The school also experiences a grotesque amount of parental involvement. I’m only half kidding.

For me personally, it’s been excrutiating to keep my nose out of Jake’s classroom. I’m just ten steps from ducking in the bushes and peering into the windows. Part of it is because of my background. I’ve been in the field of education for seventeen years and for ten of those years my job was to reasearch and mentor teachers in how how to teach reading.

And now I’m expected to keep the hell out of my own kid’s classroom???? Well, yes, that’s exactly right. And it’s killing me.

The other part of my problem, I think, is the way we “modern era” mothers have charged ourselves with parenting. Maybe because so many of us had careers that were more than just jobs to us or because we felt like if we were going to stay at home we had to make the case for it–we couldn’t just do the minimum when it came to our children, we had to treat it like a job, like someone’s grading us (without the raises of course).

Who knows, but this has been a huge adjustment, forcing me to really understand in my bones what I knew before in my head–my child is not an extention of me. He’s his own self and he’ll achieve or not and a lot of it will have nothing to do with me. Ugh, that sucks and it’s great at all at once.

So, how are things for you all?

7 thoughts on “The world is rich…

  1. Just yesterday I had a discussion with the room mother at Spawn’s school. Halloween is coming up so I asked if she needed help with the party. She said, “I’m a bit of an overachiever so I’ve done a lot of it. But there’s a sign up sheet for the rest.” I checked out the sheet. This woman is organizing the craft, bringing pizza, organizing the costume contest, etc. And all I could do was laugh because obviously she was trying to compensate for something. And I understood because I’ve been there myself.

  2. Hey Jaye, that’s so funny. And very true. What’s odd is it’s not as though Jake didn’t go to preschool and pre-k, but we had a lot of access to the classroom and the teacher. I talked to his teachers every single day, it was just the atmosphere of the place. But now, we dump them in the morning at the door and they come out to us at the end of the day. They could be doing yoga and weaving baskets all day for all I know–a little of that might be good. One of my friends who was a teacher and her daughter’s in my class agrees, it’s hard to let go of the process entirely. I guess the answer is, if you have to have so much control, then homeschool. And I’m not dumb enough to think that would go well in my household. What’s interesting is I’d never want to be a room mother. I just want to see what’s going on in there…

  3. Hey Jaye, a spy camera is right up my alley except, thankfully, the thought of it sets of alarms in my head about what a lunatic a person would have to be to do that. If the shoe fits, huh? Seriously, he’s where he needs to be and I’m where I need to be. What a difference it’s made in Jake’s writing that I’m not the only one introducing it anymore. I’ve never been heavy handed in pushing Jake to write letters or engage in art because he’s never liked it. But I’ve laid the ground work with him telling me what to write, having him sound out words for me as I write and now, lo and behold as his teacher introduces the same things, guess what…he does it and thinks it’s fun. That’s exactly why, in my life, my kids need more than me as a teacher.

  4. My husband and I are both trained teachers and we taught our daughters to read English, relying on the Japanese education system to teach them Japanese. The school they go to now is, to our minds, rather lax, and neither of them is challenged enough. I am less concerned about this than my husband; he simply cannot bear it when they haven’t learned something or seem not to have grasped a concept that he sees as fundamental. When they get home from school, he goes over what they’ve done or asks them questions about it. Up until recently this has been okay and they’ve gone along with it, but I worry that they are going to start rebelling at some point. While it is true that they really need more, they have a tendency to compare themselves to their under-achieving classmates and wonder why they have to do extra when their classmates can get away with doing the minimum. Sometimes at parent-teacher meetings I worry that my husband is coming across as a little too concerned…

  5. Anti-Wife—-YOU ARE CORRECT!
    Mary, I think it’s hard to find the balance, but I bet you’ll sense when it’s becoming too much for the kids and he should back off a bit. I always try to remind myself that thirty years ago a parent probably couldn’t tell you one thing their kid was doing in school. In some ways we’re way too involved. But there is a reality that the old-schoolers don’t consider–the world has changed. Our expectations for how adults should and have to function is totally different. Forty years ago a person could make a great living in manufacturing with a high school degree that boasted nothing but the basics. Now you need the basics and then some. There just aren’t the jobs to support an undereducated person in the lifestyle we’re we try to uphold (yes, I realize that lifestyle could be chucked if one desired). Now, if one was willing to live without a lot of crap, say no to soccer, ballet, violin, tennis, etc. and just let the kids play outside on their own (I know, not a bad idea in many ways) then I guess throw education into the wind and live happy with a high school diploma. I’m not saying everyone should or has to go to college, but I think it’s the extraordinary person who doesn’t do some higher ed and succeeds in living with all the trappings of a middle class life. I think mostly, people end up struggling to make ends meet in terms of the basics. Weird world we live in, but Mary, you can your husband, there’s a person in PA who probably looks as crazy as him at the parent/teacher conferences.

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