School daze

Add together a bum Internet connection at home all week with a busy work week and it equals no post for a while. I’ve had this one written for a week or so but hadn’t had a chance to post it yet.

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In general, I try to avoid conflict and (most of all) confrontation. As a result, I am an easy-going person about a lot of things (so as to avoid conflict and confrontation), and perhaps I let some things slide that other people might not. But we recently had a few things happen at daycare that really got under my skin and I felt it was necessary to speak with the director.

The first thing was when The Big Sis told me last week that half the class had to stay inside at afternoon playground time (with one of the teachers present, of course) because they were “being bad.” I don’t really care what they were doing — it is a state regulation that they get that playground time (unless there are extreme weather conditions). And you don’t think that the kids who were “being bad” NEED that physical outlet? Unacceptable. As I told the director, I would equate that to taking away her lunch for misbehavior. Not cool, preschool teachers. Not cool.

Next, there’s one teacher who used to be full time in the 2s/3s room who left to nanny, but now she’s back as a part-time floater with an oops on the way (#5) and a bad attitude to go along with it. The first thing was that The Husband said she was rolling her eyes at him at drop-off one morning whenever any of the kids (but one in particular) would go over to her to tell her something. Okay, on its own, that is probably not worth pulling the director aside, but two other things factored into it. The first is that I saw this teacher in two different rooms — at lunch in the baby room and at pick-up in the preschool room — and BOTH times she was devoting a large amount of time to texting. For probably six months now I’ve seen a memo to the teachers at the school reminding them that they are not allowed to text at ALL while on the job and that needs to be saved for their break time. In addition, this memo mentioned that a child had been hurt in one of the rooms and when the parent was trying to find out what happened, they went back to look at the video tape and discovered that the teacher was texting at the time it happened and very likely could have prevented it from happening. (That’s not guaranteed, of course, as plenty of injuries happen that can’t be prevented even with the greatest attention being paid, but it certainly can’t be prevented when the teacher is texting on the job.)

But the tipping point was this. The Big Sis is going through a daddy phase BIG time. (I was told the other day, “You’re a horrible mommy, and when I have kids, I’m going to be a FUN mommy, not like you!”) She rotates what blanket she takes to school, and she’s been so excited to take this blue afghan of The Husband’s, telling everyone it’s “my daddy’s blanket!” As I may have mentioned before, The Big Sis doesn’t nap anymore, so usually they have her just lie there quietly at naptime or read a book while the others nap. This floater was in there during the first part of nap, and The Big Sis told me in the saddest voice: “She said she was going to throw my daddy’s blanket in the trash if I didn’t go to sleep right then.” Um, no. Just NO. You do NOT tell my child that you’re going to throw away her cherished blanket. Or ANYthing she owns. (I later found out that she also regularly threatens to throw away the kids’ shoes if they don’t go to sleep. Sure, that’s not going to give a child anxiety or anything.)

The two conversations I had with the director were good; she took note of my concerns and said she would address them with the teachers, and I made sure to let The Big Sis know that she needs to tell me if any of this stuff happens again, or anything else that she just doesn’t feel is right. Sure, she has just three weeks left there, but I don’t want it to be an unhappy time for her. The director also asked me how I thought things were going in the preschool room since the lead teacher resigned in early June. I hadn’t planned to get into it, but since she asked, I told her that I felt like the discipline and punishment methods they tend to use are way too negative focused and could stand to be more positive-oriented (which, honestly, I felt was the case even before this teacher left, but it’s a big undertaking to get others to change their entire philosophy in this area, so I never bothered).

I pointed out that instead of rewarding good behavior, they’re constantly punishing bad behavior, and that just ends up feeding on itself. I used the example of adults at work. I said that if I were docked pay for every mistake I made, eventually I’d not necessarily work harder but certainly would develop a bad attitude about it. But if I were offered some kind of bonus for excellent work? Well, suddenly I might be willing to work a little harder to get that desired outcome. I really don’t expect anything to change, and it doesn’t really matter for The Big Sis in her final couple of weeks, but it would be nice to have that in place by the time The Little Sis is in the preschool room.

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