Tuesday, October 21, 2008

What? You Want to See Your Child? NO!

Little Red School House

That is not exactly what I was told when I tried to see my child's classroom today, the language was different but the message was the same. Am I crazy to think that I ought to be allowed, as a recognized parent known to all the personnel in the school, to be able to see my child, in her classroom, unobserved by the child or the teacher? I had to go to the office to drop something off and thought I would walk down the hall and see my daughter's class. I wanted to observe, unobserved, I wanted to stay completely out of the classroom dynamic and would have been perfectly pleased to be there and not have even interacted with my daughter. The secretary caught up with me in the hallway and told me that I needed to make an appointment. I said, no, I was here, and I was just going to observe, in no way would I disturb the class. She went into the classroom, told the teacher I was there, then all the kids looked to see me. Then the teacher said, "Tell her to come in, though a little advanced notice would have been nice!" I was furious by the teacher's attitude and also about being announced when I stated I didn't want to.

This really pushed all my mama bear buttons, every single one of them! I flipped, unlike any other time in my dealing-with-the-public-school experience, which admittedly is minimal considering the number of children I have and the fact that I am a home educator. For the last few years, I've exercised my right as a taxpayer to send some wee ones to the local public school, for various reasons. I permitted my youngest three to attend kindergarten, and the older two of the three to attend first grade. I bring them home for second grade, FHC year, and keep them home after that. My eldest children have never been to school. Every year a few times a year I drop in, unannounced, sign in at the main office, don my visitor's badge and proceed to the child's classroom to observe, unannounced through the door. My purpose is just to watch my child interact, and set some of my home educator curiosities about my child's behavior at ease. I watch the child interact with the teacher, the teacher with the students, and the overall atmosphere in the classroom.

My daughter seems to be having some issues this year, and I'm trying to sort through them, well actually, it appears to be issues with classroom management, and my daughter is suffering a bit. I wanted to see what was happening, and I was thwarted. I was told to make an appointment. I felt I have the right, as a parent to watch my child interact with her teacher. I marched into the principal's office and told her that I felt the teacher was rude, the secretary disturbed the class and I had just wanted to watch the teacher and the students interact without my child or the teacher performing for me. She told me I couldn't do that, and I asked when the open door policy had been closed. I told her that being intercepted and announced was NOT what I wanted and I, as a parent have every right to see what is going on with my child. I hand her over to them for a good portion of every day, and I have a right to know what is going on.

Apparently not. Am I wrong here?


Alexandra said...

I'd ask for the policy in writing. I bet there is none! I don't think you were wrong at all. I wonder if there have been problems there before with other parents, or with this particular teacher? Public schools are weird, and now that you've made a fuss I wonder if they do the 'ole power play on you now. You know, there is one rule for "friendlies" and another for the ones who have been labeled persona non gratis. There is always some politics in play.

Lily said...

yes, public schools are weird, and I am anti-establishment, lol. I hope that I am not going to be labeled a trouble maker now, though I did upset the gate-keeper, and I did make a fuss, surely only to grow larger. I've done some digging since posting and I was told that if I were to try and rustle up support I would have no trouble making a big issue of this at the PTA meetings. But I will try to resolve things more privately than publicly, at least initially. I will not hesitate to bring it to the PTA if I make no headway otherwise. Imagine, being told you cannot see what your children are doing, without being announced and making a spectacle of yourself!

deb said...

When my kids were in public school, the number of dumb rules that we had to follow used to just annoy the heck out of me. For example, when my oldest was in the second grade his school forbade kids from playing tag. This was because a male student in the sixth grade was using tag as an excuse to inappropriately touch girls. Of course, it seems silly to outlaw something for the whole school because of one child, but that is, sadly, the way public school works.

I also know that several elementary schools near me are no longer allowing parents to walk their kids to their classes or even wait outside their children classes after school.

Lily said...

Yes, there have been many rules put into games for PC reasons, or even the games prohibited because kids are being kids and that is not allowed any more. There could be a lawsuit :-/