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Wednesday, September 13, 2006

dancing with the issues...

big.shadowlittle.shadow

so we are doing ok on the kindergarten front. and i wasn't going to mention it. i felt somehow it might reflect a weakness in our educational choice. that i had somehow already failed by putting her in this place. but now i feel i have to say something. my heart is a little broken. and i need to get it off my chest.

the big bug very smugly and with a very big smile on her face announced to me last thursday that her teacher had let them watch t.v.

silence on my part. i knew she was waiting for a reaction. she is aware (she would tell you painfully so) about my feelings about "screen time" (as we call time in front of the television or computer - limited to the weekends and no more than 30 min. / day with the occasional family movie night exception...) "so what did you watch?" "bob the builder." "oh."

i should have prefaced this with some facts. there are currently two kindergarten classes in the school, each with 30 (!) kids. los angeles unified school district (lausd) caps enrollment for K - 3 (i think) at 20. so within the next week or so that should change to three classes of 20. i can sense the teacher is overwhelmed. i like her a lot. her demeanour is lovely. she is loved by the bug already and so on... BUT i do not think watching television in the classroom is o.k.

so the next day she exited the room to tell me that maybe the teacher is "like you" since they didn't watch any t.v. then monday they did again. she told me the teacher said she "didn't know what to do". so turned on "blues clues".

in our "family profile" i wrote about the media choices in our household so i don't think she was surprised when i asked if we could meet to speak of some of my concerns. i even wrote her a note saying that i'd be happy to help in any way i can - come in and read, put together portable activity centers, etc. i realize that i am only getting one side of the situation (and that that side is from a four year old) and look forward to hearing what the teacher has to say. and so we will meet today. i'll let you know what happens. i am hoping for the best, but fearing the worst.

i'll add too that i love the rest of our public school experience. i love that i hear probably a dozen different languages as we walk through the campus each morning. the children in her class are gorgeous. i love walking with my girls to the school. and i love holding the big bug's hand as we walk slowly home and she tells me of her day. and all the fun she has had. (aside from, ahem, the t.v. watching!!)

19 comments:

amanda said...

oh, what a bummer..I know I'd be pretty upset by this too. Gosh, that poor teacher sounds so terribly overwhelmed. I do hope that the splitting up of the classes into three will help...or perhaps she needs an aide...or parent helpers! Best of luck to you as you deal with this matter delicately!!

lisa said...

You should not tolerate Blues Clues or Bob the Builder in public kindergarten. California uses Houghton Mifflin as its language arts program and it is very rigorous (it does have its problems but it's a program that many kids need). The teacher should be implementing the curriculum every instructional minute along with some structured play. Hopefully that will change when the class size goes down. If she is new, she needs a mentor. Or the principal in there to help her. But TV?? no way. Play is better than TV. Don't get me started...

hannah said...

oh tracy. hoping for the best right along with you.

lisa s said...

oh this just makes me sad... and if i were you... mad.... not OK in any way shape or form....

good luck.... i'm sure you liking the teacher just makes it harder!

melissa f. said...

you'll do right by this situation. i'm sure of it. and the teacher will be happy to know (even in conflict) that she's supported.

as a child i was *obsessed* with tv. lots of reason, not least the fact that we didn't own one part of the time. i remember the thrill of hearing the a/v cart roll down the hallway at school for a half hour of reading rainbow (or something). it was all so magical. i'm sad that the magic is gone, and that tv is so normal and everyday... missing all that small town early 80s thrill :)

Anonymous said...

30 kids? Can't imagine trying to handle so much youthful energy, hope that the smaller class size will take the pressure off. Hope your conversation goes well - and good for you for being on top of this stuff, many would let it slide. That bing said, very glad to hear that E. is enough of an imp to know when she's about to get your goat! ;-)
xoJ

Alicia A. said...

Oh, Tracy. I'd be mad too. I hope it turns out ok. I'm anxious to hear the results of your conversation.

Good luck!

devinemom said...

what a hard situation to be put into. i am sorry to hear about this seeing that it has only been two weeks and already the teacher is short on things to do.

i do hope that all goes well with your conversation.

the photos are amazing.

madmommy said...

I am so glad when a parent stands up for what they value, especially when their children are out of the home.

Personally, I'm a big Blues Clues fan. However, I also am strongly against most tv in the classroom, except for very rare occasions and usually for much older kids. Good idea to volunteer your time...as a (former) substitute teacher, that would have been invaluable on those overwhelming days.

amy h said...

Wow -- I would never have expected TV in a kindergarten classroom. I hope your conversation with the teacher went well! I can understand your concern, and it sounds like you are doing a good job of offering solutions and support to the teacher.

kirsten said...

that is a very tough situation - can't wait to hear what the teacher says! i think there are sacrifices you have to make no matter what your educational choice for your children is. (tv, however, should not be that sacrifice!)

stephanie said...

tracy, i am so sorry to hear this. i have been dealing with a classroom situation this week as well and one thing that has been invaluable has been the support and community of other parents. have you asked around to see how other parents feel? maybe the parents can get together and find a way to support this teacher. you are doing the right thing speaking up. hugs.

cindy said...

i hope this works out for you tracey. teachers are overwhelmed all over, but i've never heard of just putting the tv on, and blue clue's? hmmm. i'm not sure you noticed but bc ferries built a new kid's play area on a few of their ships. it consists of a carpeted floor and a tv. how educational!
i wish you luck with this situation.

Kristina said...

Not good. Hope you can work something out with the teacher. When Calvin was 3, he started in kindergarten where we used to live and they had a TV upstairs...I found that very weird...they rarely used it, but still...never heard of such thing before!

Shari said...

oh tracy. i agree. i think it is a good idea to talk with her. i love how you are being proactive and suggesting to come in and read to the class. let us know how it turns out. love the shadow photos. xox shari

Amy said...

Wow. Good luck with this. I'll I know is I am so not ready to deal with this kind of stuff. And it is coming quicker than I can believe.

mrspilkington said...

oh, i'm sorry! for you, the seemingly overwhelmed teacher, the students...it's wonderful that you've taken the initiative and have offered creative solutions in a supportive way.

hope it works out well! sending postive thoughts, and am happy to help brainstorm on creative solutions after your meeting.

Carol said...

I've been thinking about your post a lot since yesterday. I am so glad that you are not shy to voice your concern with the teacher and to be apart of the solution.

I would say give her a week. Especially since they will be dividing the classes up.

TV in the class is still totally intolerable, but it certainly sounds like this teacher needs parent AND administration support. I highly doubt TV is part of "The No Child Left Behind Act" and maybe you should remind the principle of this for ALL classes.

I once was a substitute teacher for LAUSD and was convinced that the first few weeks of school can be pretty disorganized. The district is serving so many. My husband taught in Hacienda Heights and it took weeks to get the right amount of chairs for his art classroom! BUT, they did make it!

I also was thinking that this whole issue can be just a great way to reiterate your family's values. Yes, your daughter is confronted with the TV, but at least she knows what the expectations are at home and the home is the most important learning environment anyway. I know when my kids are the only ones not getting McDonalds at school on Thursdays, they know we are making a stand. I know this sounds sort of extreme (and I am sure they are NOT the only ones without a Happy Meal)- but I know their lunch is a much healthier choice, even if there are treats like a homemade cookie and pretzels. We as a family do not eat fast food and to consume such meals would not be true to who we are...I don't agree with rewarding kids with cheap toys and fried food.

I'll be anxious to hear how it all turns out. Welcome to the newest chapter of parenthood. Never did I think I would be confronted with so many issues until my first kid set off for school.

Mama Urchin said...

I'm glad the big bug decided to tell you. At least this can show you that your relationship with her is built on honesty - even if she is trying to press your buttons a little bit. I agree with everyone else, blue's clues does not belong in a kindergarten classroom. Please let us know how it turns out.