A Debate With The Husband

As mentioned in yesterday’s blog, I volunteer at the school a couple hours a week helping my kid’s teachers. Usually, I am sitting in break room stapling, sorting, cutting out laminated items, etc., but every once in a while I spend time helping the teacher in the classroom. So my husband and I recently had a discussion that turned into a debate about parent volunteers in the classes. We are very fortunate to have our children in an excellent public school. The school has an outstanding staff and a great deal of parent involvement. Both things I feel are vital for excellent schools.

The debate began when my husband and I started talking about parents in the classroom. Jonathan (a.k.a. the husband) does not recall parents helping in classrooms when we were younger. His opinion is, since it is a public school, parents should be able to help at the school but not in the classrooms. Why? He feels public schools are meant to be equal for all children. Therefore, it is not fair that one child’s mother can help due to a flexible work schedule and another child’s parent cannot due to a different work schedule. There may be one child that their parent’s inability to help at the school really has an effect on.

His thought is valid in my opinion, but I think the benefit of having additional parents helping in a classroom far exceeds the potential downfalls. Due to struggling budgets in school systems these days, the student/teacher ratio has been raised in many places. As a result, a teacher is expected to teach to 23 children at all different levels, keeping the advanced ones challenged and reaching out to those children that learn a slightly slower rate. Is that possible?

I am extremely lucky to have two children that are very bright and advanced (of course we read and learn new things at home, but I feel we owe a great deal of where my kids are academically to the Primrose environment that they were in from newborn through Pre-K). For example, my 2nd grade child is reading on a 4th grade level. Although wonderful, having an advanced child comes with its own challenges…my child can cause disruptions in class if he gets his work done too quickly. A friend of mine often goes into the class and takes the advanced readers into another room and works with them on things so the teacher can focus on those that need a little more help from the teacher. To me this is a benefit to all the students. Another example is the weekly fluency tests. Every week each child must read a story so the words they read per minute can be measured. A volunteer parent can handle that while the teacher continues teaching, or the teacher can give kids some busy work while she tests each child individually. I feel the parent involvement is beneficial in this situation as well. So my question to you…what is your opinion? Should parents be allowed to help in classrooms?

The Simple Minds of Children

Since my son started school a couple of years ago I have been very fortunate to be involved at the school.  I have gotten to know many of the teachers that you can truly see have a passion for children.  Although some days (when my two children won’t behave) I wonder how a teacher handles a full classroom of kids, I have seen the blessings they receive from teaching.  Just as a mother that volunteers at the school an hour or two a week, you see how big the hearts of so many kids are…they get so attached even to those of us that just make an occasional appearance.   

So, this week I went to help my son’s teacher for a couple of hours.  Part of the time I was working in the classroom while his teacher was teaching.  The teacher was walking through the responsibility of homework, and how in 2nd grade it is no longer mommy and daddy’s responsibility to make sure homework is completed and turned in.  Of course I understand why they are starting to train them in that direction, but honestly, I still feel I should check my son’s homework at the big age of seven.  Anyways, I believe every child in that class asked a question…What if my dog eats my homework?  What if my mom forgets to put it in my folder?  What if I finish my homework but leave it at home?  What if my mom throws it away?  Imagine 23 of these questions.  By the end of the discussion the teacher laughed and explained that all possible questions had been asked and answered.  The funny part, these questions were asked with the straightest faces.  They were thoughts that actually ran through their little heads. It made me realize how their simple thoughts can bring so much laughter and happiness to us if we just take the time to take it in.

Back in the Swing of Things

Well, the school year is now underway. The crazy summer had me slacking off a little on the blog. My kids are loving school, even the kindergartener. Unlike my son that cried and reached for me as I walked out the door, my daughter simply confirmed I would come back for her, then said good-bye without the tears. The odd part…we have been in school for over two weeks now, and today Emory cried as I dropped her off in the carline. “I don’t want to go mommy!” Wow, did that tear at my heart strings. How can their tears make us moms so emotional? So of course I cried on the way to work. I am such a sucker!

On a lighter note, my son has had a smooth adjustment to second grade. I think he is actually starting to build friendships and looks forward to school.  Always a good feeling for us parents! Now, the most entertaining part of the school year so far are the updates I receive from my daughter’s kindergarten teacher and par pro. One morning I was actually pulled aside in the hallway and told “Emory is PERFECT!” Oh my gosh! Are you sure we are talking about my child? Perfect? Really?  “She just sits in class, obeying all the rules, raises her hand, stays quiet when asked to.”  Now I’m not sure if they are amazed at any child who behaves like that, or just because they had my son two years ago, and she just is not behaving very Bohlander-like.  Regardless, the word perfect did give me a good chuckle.  Thinking I should record her and her brother fighting one afternoon and show that to her teachers.  She has quite a devil side to her.  Lucky for her, she is super adorable!

Despite all the joking, I honestly have to say, we are so lucky to have two happy, social, normal children that love school.  It makes our lives much easier.  I am thankful every day for our excellent school and teachers.  Another year is underway…boy does the time fly!