Thursday, November 17, 2005

Loud Lecturing Gets You No Where

The lecture tactics being used in the school system today have got to stop! I'm not referring to the teaching methods in the classroom. That's a whole other avenue set aside for another day. I'm talking about the constant finger wagging lessons emanating from newsletters, political announcements, and voice mails that are pointed at parents. Preachy judgemental diatribe. Those tactics have never worked on me and I'm sure I'm not alone.

It started out as a trickle of helpful suggestions on how to increase your child's literacy skills......simple things like "label everything in your fridge." or..."If your kid asks for a snack, make him spell out his request first." The trickle then turned into a babbling brook when they upped the ante on the literacy activities for home and then added physical fitness recommendations. All of a sudden, we were expected to start running laps, shooting extra hoops, doing warm up exercises and cooling down exercises in between literacy discussions on the merits of haiku. The babbling brook broke opened into a rushing river when all of a sudden, another lecture arrived, equipped with new policies and guidelines from the province, on what to feed your kid.

The monthly newsletter arrived this week. Called the Connection but now should be entitled "The Manifesto," it used to be filled with information on upcoming Home and School meetings, track and field meets, art shows, and concerts.....the fun stuff. On the last page, there was always some helpful tidbit on one of the above mentioned topics, along with a much needed calendar of events. It was not offensive at all. But, the latest edition to arrive home in a backpack was unbelievably condescending. There was a whole page on proper nutritional guidelines, with the policy written out for all to see, and a chart of how many nitrates and yucky stuff are in hot dogs, pepperoni and other lovely luncheon meats. It was accompanied by an alternative recipe for growing children..........a tuna melt topped with cooked broccoli.

Hello??? First of all, how does one pack a tuna melt in a lunch box? Secondly..........if I was ever to get a tuna melt down my child's throat it would have to be done with brute force. Wouldn't that constitute abuse??

Other information included? How to teach your child to be literacy activities to be added to the river of rules..........a bolded lecture on getting your kid to school on update on the dress code policy (this came into effect two years ago and it included the stipulation that a 5 year old little girl is not allowed to wear a sleeveless sundress or a little 6 year old boy isn't allowed to show his shoulders on a hot summer day and wear a tank top.............'cause, why? They're a turn on for some sick wacko that happens to work in a school setting????? Who the heck knows. When I furiously fought that one, I was told that it was simply inappropriate for a child to be showing off their shoulders. I just rolled my eyes and looked around to see if Laura Ingalls or Anne Shirley was standing around somewhere.)

A line is being drawn in the sand and it's about to pit parents against teachers. Parents are pissed, because the underlying message is obvious. Parents, according to the educators of this fine province, are getting a failing grade on their "parenting skills." They have gone too far clumping all parents in the same boat. The rules and anal retentiveness of it all has affected the kids in a negative way. Just the other day, I caught myself answering questions on calories and fat content with my 8 year old. He doesn't need to be that cognizant of his food intake! Last June, I practically had to wrestle him to the ground one hot summer day because I wanted him to wear a light shirt so he would be cool. He was afraid of the ramifications from his teacher when he arrived in his Grade 2 class because the sleeves weren't long enough.

This craziness and the tactics being used make me want to go out an buy the biggest bag of chips, a case of pop and four litre tubs of every ice cream flavour I can get my hands on and crash lunch hour! Wouldn't that be a hit with the young set?

I understand the need to address these areas with some families. In most instances, it needs to be addressed in a more tactful manner, directly with the family that needs the guidance. Don't preach to me.

If a child is lagging behind in their reading and writing skills, address it with the parents. Pull them in as a partners............find out if maybe they need help with their reading and writing too. Find out if the child's home has reading material and if not, lend them some. Work together! Hey what a crazy concept!

Childhood obesity is an issue and proper eating habits can be taught in the school setting as well as in the home. But, how about increasing the amount of time set aside for Phys ed from an hour a week to 3 or 4 hours, and hire a Phys ed teacher so that the kids learn how to play something other than dodgeball?

As for the other lessons...........well if they keep up the preaching, you will find me with my fingers stuck in my ears whistling dixie, 'cause I ain't listening anymore.

Tell me and I forget. Show me and I remember. Involve me and I understand.
"Chinese proverb"

No comments: