Wednesday, September 17, 2008

What parents see vs. reality

Parent interaction & feedback has been my Catch 22 all throughout my years (this will be #7!!) working in some capacity as a teacher. Meet-the-teacher Night, parent conferences and class programs rank right up there for me under root canals and gynecological exams on the painful/uncomfortable scale...ok, so I never really had a root canal, but I'm speaking on behalf of all of those unfortunate souls there who have had one; I'm guessing they're not exactly a walk in the park. You just never know what they're going to work SO hard trying to build their child up and with one fell swoop, they come and break you down. HARD.

On the other hand, of course, parent interaction gives you a great opportunity to hear some excellent feedback and to give some feedback of your own. Graduation night last year was one prime example of that. My students' parents rallied together to present me with a $100 Target Gift Card as a year-end gift! It was so thoughtful! But even more meaningful were the kind words that so many of the parents had to favorite was, "I don't know what you did with our son, but he's like a new man since having you - he's made such a complete turn around and we are just so thankful for all of the wonderful things you did this year for him. I know that he's really ready for kindergarten now." And I have the opportunity to give parents reassurance and feedback, as well.

But, there comes a time, (and a kid) where it's tough to come up with something positive and constructive to tell a parent. After all, these are their babies whom can often do no wrong. Parents don't always want to hear the painful truth (even if it is tactfully disguised and encoded in our most diplomatic, constructivist jargon). In honor of this time-honored truth, I give you two versions of my weekly newsletter...

The newsletter to the parents:
This week in preschool...
*We learned about the letter Bb, read story called Bubble Bear, listened to a Bb song and brainstormed a list of Bb words.
*We colored our Bb page blue, black and brown.
*We explored our world using our five senses: taste, touch, sight, hearing, and smell.
*We learned about the number zero, watched a quick movie about the number zero, and practiced making zeroes on a coloring page.
*We worked hard each day to become better listeners and better friends.
*We had Physical Activity time with silly songs and stretches.

The newsletter the teacher wishes she could write:
This week in preschool...
*Your child's teacher came up with a list of adjectives starting with Bb to describe the children's behavior. They are as follows: bad, brutal, belligerent, bitter, base and blasphemous. Several other children could be described as: benevolent, blissful and beautiful, but not yours. We're working on that.
*Most of the children colored their Bb pages blue, black and brown. Your child instead decided to color his arms, hands and table blue, black, and brown...pretty much anything but the Bb page.
*Your child explored our classroom using many of his five senses. He tasted his friends' snack without permission, touched the teacher's pointer and broke it, heard the teacher send him to time out, and saw his friends playing outside from the comfort of the picnic table while spending time in aforementioned time out. He also smelled the sweet scent of freedom when his teacher finally sent him to play after 4 minutes of torturous imprisonment.
*Your child's teacher reviewed the number zero by pointing out that she had ZERO desire to come to work several days this week, due to sleep deprivation and disgust at a certain child's belligerent behavior.
*Your child's teacher wanted to help the children work harder on being better listeners, and planned thusly by implementing activities designed to hone your child's listening skills. The only problem was that your child was finished with the activity before Mrs. S had even finished giving the directions. When asked why she had chosen to work ahead, " was reaalllly easyyy and I wanted to do it THIS wayyyy." (In case you were wondering "THIS wayyyy" was not "MY wayyy" and landed your child in time out).
*Mrs. S got lots of physical activity by chasing your child around the classroom and play yard when he refused to sit at circle time and line up after play time was over. Someone give me a weekend!


Hafsa said...

Your blogs about the trials of preschool teaching are so funny, but this one takes the cake! I laughed so hard at what a preschool teacher really wants to to say in the newsletter. Genius.

p.s. thank you for the kind words in your comment.

mjenningsdesigns said...

As the Mom of a preschooler and a former teacher I was laughing so hard when I read the second but would much rather receive the first :-) You know our babies can do no wrong ;-)

Anonymous said...

that is funny. i hope i never get that "newsletter" although some days i wonder....
i am sure a lot of teachers want to do that with a lot of kids and parents!!

Teri said...

PS - I REALLY do love my job and a few of these things were mildly exaggerated (no one really colored on themselves with markers - it's not a free-for-all in there! ;), but it does prove the point, doesn't it?

Kara said...


Tina623 said...

You made me miss work lol. I could of written that newsletter myself. It's a great job though. I'm sure you are a wonderful teacher :).

Ter said...

hahaha ! I wish you could write that letter too! ;)