Yesterday was Hank's open house at his new elementary school. Well, let me correct myself. It was called "Curriculum Night" but I assumed it was like the open houses I remember from my childhood in public school. You know. The school is open in the evening, you wander in, look around, and meet your child's teachers. You get to see their room, their cubbie, and what they're working on. Good stuff. Nowadays, given that it's like breaking into Scotland Yard to even enter the school, an opportunity to meet his teachers in person and see his little classroom seemed like a particular treat.
The first sign that this was not going to turn out the way I hoped was the "agenda" that Hank came home with last week. I don't want my time overly scheduled. I just want to meet my kid's teacher, ok? Mike and I both took a look at it, and immediately agreed that we were skipping the principal's address, and all the other special activities, save for the kindergarten classroom presentation, scheduled for 7:30-8 pm. I thought that was a bit late for kindergarteners to be out cavorting, but whatever, it's only one night. I figured "presentation" meant that the kids had something prepared for the night, like a song, or other cute festivities.
Yesterday was the big day, and to be honest, I really wasn't feeling up to it. I worked, of course, during the day, and stopped off for groceries on the way home. By time I got home, it was well after 5 pm, and I was exhausted. We ate and cleaned up, bathed Hank, all the while wishing we didn't have to go. But around 7:15, we set off.
As we walked into the school, I was glad we came. It was nice to see where Hank spends his days. We get into the classroom and find Hank's seat with a bunch of paperwork in front of it. I quickly deduced that we were supposed to sit down for a formal presentation. Ok. But then I noticed something else. With a pit forming in my stomach, I remembered that the "agenda" had stated that Curriculum Night was for "parents/guardians ONLY." Now, I figured that this meant not to bring any grandparents or other extraneous friends. I thought even that was a bit odd, but the truth was much, much worse. This actually meant NO CHILDREN.
I was so stunned I was actually speechless. How were parents supposed to attend this event then? I guess they assume you'll get a babysitter (completely ridiculous, I'm sorry) or send only 1 parent while the other stays at home. I'm not a person that gets worked up easily, but frankly, this pissed me off. Like many parents, I work full-time outside the home. In the evening, especially when touring my child's school, I WANT HIM WITH ME. I don't think this is an outrageous notion at all.
So, unfortunately, once again, I got off on the wrong foot at our public elementary school. Nobody said anything to us, but I felt extremely awkward being the only parents there with our child. The teacher stood up and gave a 20 minute or so speal about a bunch of things. Most of what she had to say was good. She had some good suggestions for how to deal with the District's "wellness policy" while still allowing the children to have nice parties, like bagels with cream cheese and fresh fruit for Halloween, and fruit slushies or cheese pizza for birthday celebrations. The curriculum certainly sounds excellent, as it's reputed to be. Their lunch service is award winning, and sounds completely wonderful. The classroom was adorable, with lots of little nooks and tasks for the children to take care of.
The only thing that she mentioned that got my hackles up is that the District now has a "violence and anti-bullying policy" which, although positive sounding, actually includes little boys playing Star Wars and pretending to have light sabers in its list of punishable offense. Really? I mean, REALLY? This isn't the teacher's fault certainly, but anew, it made me pissy. What has become of public education? Have its administrators been taking lessons from the TSA? Sure, there are all these impressive sounding rules, but do any of us really feel safer? It just *really* rubs me the wrong way.
So, after that, I had Mike take an exhausted Henry home, and I lingered to meet the teachers. There is one official teacher in Hank's room, and a full-time aide. The aide was wonderful. Very warm, very sweet. I got a very good feeling from chatting with her. Then I met the teacher. *sighs* She's fine, don't get me wrong. She seems very organized, very competent, and very in control of the classroom. All positive attributes. She just wasn't *warm*. I wanted a warm and fuzzy feeling, and I simply didn't get one. She wasn't unkind. She was just very business-like, and I sensed that she was anxious for me move along.
So, once again, I left the school feeling extremely unsatisfied and wondering if we can budget for Catholic school next year. Maybe all schools have funky rules like this, who knows. Perhaps the only way around the stifling rules is homeschooling. Homeschooling isn't my calling, so I'm stuck with either public or Catholic schools. I'll figure it out I suppose, and I certainly have to give it more than 3 weeks. I just keep waiting for that "comfort" moment, and the school keeps letting me down.
I think what draws me to private school, aside from the obvious faith factor, is that I want to feel like *I* picked *them.* I feel a bit "trapped" in our public school. With our daycare, I always, always had a warm, positive feeling from them, and I loved that we did our research and chose them. Using daycare, in conservative religious circles, can make me feel like a bit of an outcast, I admit. But I think it's important for me to say that although I'd prefer not to use it , we had to use it, we made the best of it, and I'm not ashamed of it. And we selected a facility that both of felt great about and knew that our son was receiving excellent, loving care. I always felt good dropping him off and picking him up. Just being in the building gave me a comforted feeling.
Not so, our local public elementary school. Maybe I need to give it more of a chance. But I go in each time wanting to love it, and well, I just don't love it.
I walked home afterward, and collapsed on the couch. I was so tired that I was actually too tired to knit. TOO TIRED TO KNIT. This is a fairly unheard of physical anomaly in the home of the Catholic Librarian.
Please God, let next week be better...