Parents and the New Addition

If you know me in the “real world,” this will probably all be old news to you. Nonetheless, I still want to talk about it.

School has been going well. Talking with one of my good friends at school, I realized what it was that seems so off about this year; I don’t have a class that I dread. I really hope it stays that way. It makes the days go by so much faster and I think I do a better job. There are a couple kids that are difficult, but it’s all about staying calm and sticking to the consequences I’ve laid out.

I am having trouble with one parent though. Our school asks that each kid have a permission slip for each novel that we read as a class. It’s a pain in the ass, but it has to be done. After having to chase after kids all of the time last year, I decided that this year, I would send home a letter with the novels and films for the whole year at the beginning of the year and we’d be done with it. The novels we will be reading this year are My Father, the Angel of Death, A Long Way from Chicago, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963, The Westing Game, and we’ll be watching Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Selena.

I got back most of the letters right away and almost everyone’s parents were okay with my choices. There, as always, was that one parent that just couldn’t do it. She marked no on every single novel and yes on both films. When I asked the kid why, she said she didn’t know. I was pretty upset because well, it sorta threw off my plans. I had an idea of a backup, but I didn’t think I’d have any opposition until The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. And I could handle a novel or two, but all of them. So I had to call mom.

She told me she wanted to meet with me in person to talk about it because she felt that the novels went against her teachings. I told her I’d be available after school and she was more than welcome to stop by my room so we could talk. In the meantime, I talked to the assistant principal and grabbed a copy of all the novels for her to take if she desired.

So mom comes by after school and I try to explain a little more what the novels are about and the whole process of selection and yadda yadda. And she says, “Es que esta niña tiene una imaginacion. Aveces me asusta con las cosas que me pregunta.”

Now mind you, this kid is pretty bright and she’s a good kid. She’s one of the brightest in that class. So I don’t think that the things she’s coming up with are terrible.

Anyway, mom keeps talking and saying she’ll think about it. In the end, she takes the novels. I haven’t heard from her. I’m going to call her sometime next week and see if anything has changed. I doubt it.

At first, I was really upset. I thought, fine, if she wants her to get that kind of an education whatever. But now, that I’ve had some time to think and reflect, I can’t let the student have that kind of education. She loves to read and I need to continue to inspire her and most importantly, I have to help her keep her imagination alive. Sure it’s going to be extra work on my part, but I have to do it if I want to be half of the great teacher I aim to be.

The other thing I wanted to share is that we’ve made an addition to our little family. He came to us about two weeks ago and his name is Smokey.


EL CHAVO! said...

I want to know what happens, the novels seem really innocuous. The mom should be happy her kid has an imagination, she is lucky for that kind of interest.

jp said...

no way, that's crazy. one mom shouldnt be able to just veto your whole, wellthoughtout schoolyear curriculum. hell no. and yeah, she needs to recognize that an imagination is sthg to nurture not to be scurred of.

X said...

What a cutie cutie cutie pie!

I found the mom's comment a little scary...sounds like you dealt with it well.

MsAbcMom said...

Smokey is adorable!

As for the parent novel situation...good luck. We had a big problem here in our district several years ago. Two large churches in town tried to fight many of the books the h.s. teachers were trying to teach. It was bad. In the end...the teachers got to keep the books but it was an ugly, unnecessary battle.

Elenamary said...

how are you going to try and inspire her without her reading?

my favorite teacher stopped teaching mid-way through the school year, when there was a big uproar because on a list of suggested books to read during high school, there was one included on the list about a young gay high school boy...Tales from a Hot Pink Note Book. It wasn't required reading, and yet she was still forced to remove it from the list. She had a hard time with parents, the school board, and local media. She was a young dedicated teacher.

La Brown Girl said...

I'll keep you all posted on what happens.

As for how will I teach her, well, she'll sort of be doing independent projects based on stories found in the literature text. This goes against the whole cooperatvie learning theory, but at least it'll still cause her to probe accepted ideas. I know this goes agaist her secular religion's ideals, but I can't let her not to learn to question or imagine.

The greatest thing I have is support from the administrators at school. They want to be informed on the matter and understand my view on the issue.

Annette said...

Your new addition is so cute :-).

That mom sounds like such a pain. I feel sorry for the student, since she is going to have to be isolated from her peers for the whole year as far as schoolwork.

cindylu said...

Wow. I'm just surprised that you have to get consent from all the parents. I don't remember anything like this. I do remember parents complaining about a new language arts textbook the school bought. I don't really know what the problem was, but they sent all the books back and got others.

Gwen said...

Yeah, the mom sounds like a scary control freak.

I love that y'all are reading the Westing Game, though. That book is so awesome.

And Smokey is cute. Congratulations.

La Brown Girl said...

Cindy-they say some people around the area were complaining about books (they weren't even parents of kids at the local school) so to end that problem, they have us do this permission thing. It's insane, a huge pain, and creates an incredible amount of extra paperwork. Ni modo.

Gwen-Thanks I love the little guy, he's like a mountain goat. He sits on my shoulder or butt. I love the Westing Game too. I'm really interested in getting the boys into reading. They're the hardest audience!

La Brown Girl said...

JP-Mandame un e-mail! I need to send you that corrido lesson and tell you where I got the resources from. I have a power point and stuff.

Ktrion said...

Okay, it's just crazy that you have to get permission from the parents.

The mother said no to all the books but yes to the films. I get scared just hearing about that and the way she talks about her kid!

Cracked Chancla said...

regarding the books and mom---seriously unfortunate.

smokey! that's my cat's name too. your kitten is adorable.