Tuesday, October 12, 2010

What do we have teachers for anyway?

I have been in the process of starting a blog for the last two months. The only problem was, I didn't feel the need to express my feelings that publically...until tonight.  We went to my sweet angels kindergarten conferences this evening.  I was hesitant going in because i was floored at her first preschool conference when the teacher told me that they couldn't even finish testing the the area of letters, because she couldn't recognize any. What??  She coudn't recognize the letters that you pointed at?  Ya, thats because she is 4 and i put her in preschool to LEARN those things.  Its kind of why we decided to pay $120 a month for her pre-school teachings, wasn't it?  So after a rude awakening to the harsh world of school, i braced myself for the kindergarten conferences tonight.  The teacher told us that my daughter "qualified" for extra help...something about recognizing the beginning sounds of words.  I was immediately sick inside. I hurt for my little girl.  Here she was getting tested and tested, but was anyone even teaching her?  After 20 minutes and a few moments of putting my baby on the spot, we left.  I signed a slip, agreeing to have her taken out of the class the last few minutes for some extra help with "reading".   As i sit here tonight, i can not get rid of my frustration with this new society... a society of constantly trying to outdo, overacheive, and be first.  When did a child have to recognize letters at the age of 4??  Why are parents in such a hurry to set their children up for defeat?  If you aren't the youngest child to recognize your capital letters...than what?  Are you already a failure?  I see that as teaching a child "sport" verses "play"  there comes a time to be competative. (believe me, i know) But there also is a time to teach children at their speed and with enthusiasm and joy.  I agree its wonderful to teach our children letters and numbers and sounds at home.  But what is the importance of saying "please" and "thank you"?  When do we teach out children that it is more blessed to give than receive?  Who knows the golden rule before they enter kindergarten?  Those things are important!!  Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.  Where have we lost that teaching?  Has is gone my the wayside along with the pledge of allegiance and Christmas? 
  I left that classrooms uncomfortably small chairs feeling like a failure.  I felt like i let my child down before i even knew i was supposed to be making her better.  If she failed as a "reader" than i definetly failed as a parent, right?
I refuse to give into the game of keeping up with the Jones'.  Yes, i will teach my child how to recognize the beginning of words and yes, her preschool techer was shocked by her increase in knowledge from the first conference to the last.  Thats because I, her mother, took the time to do the teaching.  Not only did my shining star learn the letters and recognize them, she knew how to say them all in sign language...just in case. 
Just in case, what?  She had to compete with another student her age that was learning what the teacher taught. Ya, just to teach her its about winning, not just learning.  What a joke, but i fell for it.  I will not feel like a failure because i have been hugging and loving and protecting my 5 year old all of her life instead of doing the kindergarten teachers job and teaching her states and capitals straight from the womb. 
When is enough enough?  My daughter is beyond amazing, and kind, and smart.  I take comfort in knowing that she shares on the bus and that she gives to the ones who have nothing.  And ya know what, when i asked her the same questions that teacher did tonight in her room...she knew every answer! 


  1. I love that you started a blog!!! I will definitely be a loyal reader! You are so right though about how how culture doesn't let kids just be kids! I didn't want to send Ella to pre-school but I thought well everyone else does so I don't want her to be behind. But really I think these days kids miss out just being kids. There are so many I know that the kids are in this or in that its all about the schedule always going somewhere. I refuse to do that! It's not nessesary! They are children and don't need to be stressed out so young! So glad you posted this!! You are so right!

  2. So glad you started a blog. My heart sunk after I read this. That breaks my heart that teachers are like that. I hate now that teacher's and everyone else make life/learning a competition. I agree with Ang. Let them be kids. Christina you are an AMAZING mom. You have taught your children about Jesus and what family means and that is what matters most. Not ABC's and numbers! So glad you shared your thoughts!!

  3. Love your blog Christina!! Now I know I'm not alone--I got a letter home for Connor to go extra days of Kindergarten--right now he goes Mon/Wed every other Friday now he will only have Tuesday off. I was hesitant to send him (especially with his anxiety issues) but I felt if I didn't he may have to do summer school or have to redo Kindergarten. What happened to playtime in Kindergarten and nap time? I want my kids to be kids!! Keep your chin up girl--you are doing great!!!

  4. Chrissy, I think this is all about how you look at it. The teacher is only trying to help her. She's trying to get her caught up -- not make her feel bad. Better to get up to speed now, verses in middle school high school!

    I think it's great that you've taught her to mind her manners and be a good citizen, but it's not one or the other -- it's also important to spend time on academics. It's never going to hurt to have her ahead of the game. Just looking at the kids I babysit for, those who know how to read before they got to school seem to have less anxiety about it and enjoy school more. The kids that are a bit further behind face more challenges. That's just the way it is. I don't think it's anything new - I remember always wanting to be the best and brightest when I was in school. It's human nature to want to succeed.

    You've got great kids and nothing to worry about. Take it one day at a time and give them all they need to thrive! :)