It’s back to school time for almost everyone. Addie has been back to school for a couple weeks now and things have gone okay so far. She has adjusted to the new policies and procedures of her second teacher for this year and she has started to take weekly spelling tests and other assignments each week.
I’m always amazed at the different papers I have to sign on almost a daily basis that Addie comes home with. It’s like each teacher at Addie’s school has a different policy on how to handle student discipline and how that discipline should be graded. Back when I was in school each child in the entire school had the same system. We were all assigned citizenship grades at the end of the semester and those letters represented how the teacher thought we behaved. That universal system didn’t allow the teachers to have much flexibility with the system, but my parents understood that if I came home with a U on my report card I wasn’t going to get to play with my friends for a few months.
Addie’s version of citizenship changes from teacher to teacher and I’ve lost track of what any of it means. Last year she talked a lot about colors and certain colors were bad. I also had to sign certain report sheets each day and I never understood what I was signing and why I was signing it. This year Addie keeps talking about losing points and I have no idea what any of that means, either and I’m back to signing more papers each day.
Other changes that seem to complicate the whole system have been made in other areas as well. Getting school supplies has turned into a near all-day adventure as we gather various colored folders, certain brands of markers, a certain number of pencils and pens, and other weird items before school starts.
This school supply list blows my mind. Why do kids have to have a purple colored folder for certain types of assignments and a folder with tigers dancing on a unicorn folder for other types of assignments? Back when I was a kid we got a trapper keeper, a spiral bound notebook, and a pencil box filled with pencils and that carried us through the school year. I never got confused about where my math assignments went in my trapper keeper. My schooling never suffered because I did not associate purple with math or tigers with spelling words with odd numbers of letters.
And the amount of money the school asks for never seems to end. That first week of school drained my wallet of all the cash I was carrying. Almost without fail Addie asked for three dollars here and four dollars there for this or that at the request of her teacher or the school. When does the bleeding stop? I rarely ever had to have money from my parents when I was in school. The only money I ever needed was for lunch and that didn’t start until I was in the sixth grade.
I don’t know why all of these things have changed. Maybe it’s because the teachers want to confuse the students as much as possible right out of the gate with different colored folders and various assignments for money from their parents that it sets the kids up for success in the future. I don’t know and I’m not criticizing the school–I just don’t get it. All I know is that I turned out alright and my friends from elementary school seem to be alright too. So if we were able to succeed with such a simple process my kid ought to be able to figure out nuclear fusion by the time she’s out of college. Otherwise, what’s the point?
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