Hey Teacher, yeah I’m one of those complaining parents.

So, I read something tonight that I’ve heard a million times over.  The obvious divide between educators and parents.   Here is the text I read:

I was feeling pretty jaded this morning as two different sets of parents at Walmart stopped me in the school supplies aisle to complain about how much they had to get their kids this year. “This is just ridiculous. I don’t know how these teachers think we are suppose to get all this stuff.”

As they complained, they seemed to be oblivious to the fact that my cart was filled with a class set of all the supplies they were buying–which should have been a pretty clear indication that I was one of those greedy teachers they were complaining about.

While I was checking out, though, things took a very different turn. I noticed the man in front of me in the checkout lane was buying school supplies for his daughter. As he went to leave, he said to me, “You are a teacher, right? I just want to thank you for everything you do. I see your cart is full with supplies, and I just wanted to help out as much as I can.” Then he handed me a $25 Wal-Mart gift card, shook my hand, and walked away with his daughter smiling big at me.

While I was extremely moved by the man’s generosity, the part that stuck with me the most was the difference in his message to his daughter compared with the parents who had been complaining earlier.

The kids who heard their parents complaining heard this message: “School is not important enough to spend money on it, teachers are not to be trusted and have bad judgement, and learning does not require investment.”

The kid whose dad handed me the gift card heard: “School is important enough that we should give more than required to make sure it is successful, teachers should be respected and valued, and learning requires us giving it everything we have.”

If money is tight, and you struggle to buy your child school supplies, I understand. Don’t worry: more than likely your child will have a teacher and a school that makes sure they have the supplies they need to be successful this year. However, as a parent, do your best to send the right message to your child. The man who gave me the gift card not only made my day, but I also know that his daughter will enter the classroom this year with a very different perspective about her teacher and her education, and that is extremely powerful!

I, to say the least, have a bad taste in my mouth after reading this.   Not because I am a complainer ( I am) but the assumption of why the parents are complaining, and the take away to the kids.   “The kids who heard their parents complaining heard this message: “School is not important enough to spend money on it, teachers are not to be trusted and have bad judgement, and learning does not require investment.”

What a load of shit.

I think this is misguided and skewed. I don’t complain because school isn’t important or worth it. I don’t complain because I don’t value teachers.

Anyone who knows me – knows that education is the #1 focus in my house.  Working hard in school is my child’s job.  Just like I get up everyday to work, he gets up for school.  He needs to work hard, and do the best he can.  You ask my son, is school important – he can tell you that answer.

I value teachers a lot. They get the shit end of the stick. That said, I don’t value the education structure we have today.

I complain because I spend a lot of money in school taxes to cover my child’s education. It should cover any items required to provide that education and for the classroom (clorox wipes, tissues, etc) . Neither should the teacher.
 
I complain because I want to make choices for my child based on what I think is best for him — what size crayons to buy, what type of pencils, etc. I don’t think it is the school’s place to tell me I have to have a 48 or 24 pack of crayons. I don’t care if its ‘unfair’. Life isn’t fair. My child doesn’t have to be like every other child, nor they to my child. If some other kid has a 96 pack.. awesome job mom… kid… get used to disappointment with you 48 pack.
 
I complain because I don’t get what I feel like I pay for. I get lots of paperwork and a curriculum that is pushing kids to fast. Especially the primary kids. I get a kid who might do well at testing if I”m lucky. But no longer do the kids take classes that are more essential because ‘there is no time and money’. Yes home ec, I’m talking about classes like you. No longer does my child learn conflict resolution on the playground because if there is dissent – everyone gets punished. No longer is there something to be said for working hard and achieving a ‘first place’ in something when everyone gets a trophy just for showing up.
 
I believe teachers ( and I say this generally ) when parents complain – think like this person. Perhaps they are more bitter as they buy supplies for their classroom from their own pockets. I believe this is as wrong as my buying them.
 
I should have to provide a box of crayons, pencils, notebooks, folders, erasers, maybe a glue stick, if I feel like it: A pencil holder, a ‘trapper keeper’ (hah who’s old now) or whatever extra’s I want my child to have. My folder that’s psychedelic swirls is just as functional as that blue one you require.
 
What happened to individuality, and thinking and being yourself. Today’s education teaches children to sit, shut up and do what I tell you. Don’t question, Don’t think for yourself, and Don’t be yourself with your own beliefs and goals.
The sad part is I work with higher education and it only gets worse the higher one goes in education.  The group think.  Shaming people who think differently and then creating an environment where they are an evil person.
I’m rooting for a trade school at this point with my son.  If he wants college, I’ll support him but since I’m raising one of those think for yourself types .. unless things change he won’t be a good fit.