20 October 2010

A Departure...For Now

No, not from Blogstream! Silly rabbits - as if you could get rid of me that fast!

A departure in topic, I mean. I did promise I'd talk about something else besides food.

So, let's go with another area where the government has done its fair share of meddling: Education.

It's hard to be a public educator these days. Most of us are well aware of the problems in schools today. It's impossible to be out there on the front line and not be, you know? Consequently, this painful awareness often breeds helplessness, and so, many educators are excellent at passing the buck (myself included at times): it's the administration's fault, parents' fault, the system's fault, the state's fault, the legislators' fault. The Blame Game plays on and on and on...

Most of the time, I try to do the best I can with the resources I am given. Us good teachers want the best for kids, honest, and we are doing everything within our power to make that happen. We spend unpaid hours and uncompensated money over the summer, on the weekends, in the evenings - for our students.

However, when you wear the teacher AND parent hats...clashing of those two worlds is inevitable.

For example, I truly feel the middle school is the time for exploration, for survey, for options. I found out at parent-teacher conferences last week that because Spencer is in orchestra every day, he will have no elective choices for his 6th, 7th, and 8th grade years. No foods, communications, art, FCS - because that's all his schedule allows. That seems so ridiculously limiting to me (parent voice). How will he know what to get into in high school (and later, college, then life?) if he doesn't sample some of those options now? (parent voice)

And yet, I know this scheduling snafu is not done maliciously by the the school - budget cuts last year caused the release of three teachers (educator voice). Counselors and administrators are working within the system the best way they can (educator voice).

But, there's got to be a better way to provide for kids (this is about the only thing my educator and parent voices are agreeing on right now!).

I can pull Spencer out of orchestra () or prevent him from taking electives (). Ultimately, my "good parent" skills will come into play (as well they should - but not everyone has them). If I pull him out of orchestra, then I should arrange for private lessons ($) so that he may keep working on his music. If I don't pull him out, I should then provide opportunities outside the school day for him to practice art, foods, etc., which in this day and age is not insurmountable.

Ideally, Spencer should have orchestra every other day and an elective of his choice on the day opposite, but, alas, financial woes do not make that conducive to materializing.

Regardless of whose fault it is, the school is not adequately providing for my son's lifelong learning, so what are my options?


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