Dear Teacher, Happy Valentine’s Day.

Everyone knows that i have some serious doubts about our public education system in Georgia. I just don’t have a lot of faith in it, but that is based mostly on my own experience as a Georgia student over. . . well, many years ago now. I definitely felt that I had to give it a try, and see how my kids would fare at the elementary school we have chosen. So far, i am mostly happy with the school – Parent involvement is high, there do not seem to be any discipline issues of note, and there has been zero violence at the school. That being said, when I do post my thoughts on Dogwood Girl, it will most likely be something negative, as the impetus for my posts is usually what i term Pissed-Off-edness.

So, the latest installment: Valentine’s Day is coming up. Remember Valentine’s Day? Yep, it was pretty horrible back in school. All those people, making it very clear who is popular and who isn’t, all in glaring red, pink, white and lacy detail. But go back farther. Yep, to Pre-K and Kindergarten. Even first grade. Before cliques. Before Mean Girls and Queen Bees. Before Dumb Boys who always like the same predictable bubbly blonde. . . Yeah, you are right. That last part never existed. They always like the blonde. Even my own traitorous man cub likes the predictable blonde chick.

I digress and make this about me. This is not about me, this is about Valentine’s Day and public school education.

I asked the teacher how the children could prepare for Valentine’s Day at school. Would they need to make their own Valentine’s day box? No. But she did request that they not address their Valentines to their friends. They should just sign their name to the cards. It would make it easier that way.

Huh? So, basically, they (the teachers?) don’t want to deal with the hassle of making sure that the right Valentine gets to the right kid. Is it just me, or is that dumb as Paula Abdul? (It is probably me. I did get my period for Groundhog Day, which can make one a little pissy.)

How does it make sense to dissuade the kids from writing their friends’ names on the Valentine’s Day cards? Seems to me that 20 four-and-five year olds spending an evening sitting with their parents and learning to write out the letters in each of their friends’ names might be a good exercise: In penmanship, in letter recognition, in spelling, in spending time with their parents in one-on-one instruction, in thoughtfulness, and in good manners!

I can see that it could be a little time-consuming to go through all the cards and make sure they get to the correct student when most of the kids can’t read. But mightn’t that be a decent teaching exercise? And not to make this all about my kid, because I realize different kids are at different levels, but my kid can read, write, and spell. This is an awesome activity for my kid’s reading and writing level. Should my kid be brought down to the level of other kids who can’t, just because it might be a little extra work for the educators? (Which it wouldn’t, because my kid could totally match up his friend’s name on the card with the same name on their little mailbox.)

Yeah, you guessed it. We are addressing our Valentine’s Day cards. I’m not going to dumb down an everyday task, something that will teach my child, just because it will make his teacher’s life easier at the expense of common sense and etiquette.

Signed,

Bitch Mother

  11 comments for “Dear Teacher, Happy Valentine’s Day.

  1. Kjerstin
    February 2, 2009 at 5:00 pm

    Be a rebel – send in the cards with names. I am sure Rollie will do just fine.

    By Valentine’s Day, my Kindergartners could recognize each others names. For the very reasons you suggest, I asked them to label the cards. Some parents did send a pile of blank envelopes, but that was the parents choice, not mine.

    I loved watching my students read their classmates’ names and match them to a big heart – a little validation that they have actually been learning. :)

    In the teacher’s defense, she may not have much time set aside for the party or has other things planned. It can take awhile to let a classroom of kids to pass out cards. Not that I think that is a good excuse.

  2. Tara
    February 2, 2009 at 5:01 pm

    Agreed. Sign the names. That was fine when they were 2 and you were doing in anyway. Don’t get me started on Valentines…our class party is cancelled because of “economic hard times”. WTF! How much do cupcakes and a few silly games cost? Especially when the girl that sits next to Chase got a flatscreen TV for xmas. I mean gimmee a break!!!

  3. February 2, 2009 at 5:07 pm

    The non-addressing is also a way to avoid the clique-y stuff. The “I gave you the ‘special’ valentine or candy on your valentine because you are cool/cute/popular” stuff. They are already mean in Kindergarten. They really are.

    We got a note home that said it’s OK to send Valentines but that if we send them, we must to send one to every kid (and included a convenient list of kids). I actually think it’s more offensive that we officially celebrate this Hallmark holiday in the public schools but can’t utter the words “Christmas” or “Halloween” or (gasp) “Easter.”

  4. February 2, 2009 at 7:34 pm

    Wow, Steph. That hadn’t even occurred to me. (The holiday thing.)

    I see your point about the cliques, but really, who doesn’t know to send every kid a damn valentine? I would just rather teach my kid to be nice to others, than to have some teacher dictate how everything has to be equal for everyone. Yeah, kids are mean, but in life, sometimes some kids get better stuff than others. Might as well learn it now. I guess I just don’t get how it is v. thoughtful to not personalize everyone’s with at least their name on it.

    Also, if someone is being mean to Annika, I would personally like to kick their parents’ ass. Yes, I am on my period.

  5. February 2, 2009 at 7:35 pm

    Please tell me that the family of the girl next to Chase got a flatscreen, and not that the kid has her own. . . that would just be sick.

    We had to raise money at the beginning of the year for parties. The whole thing is a nightmare. Just teach them to read please!

  6. February 2, 2009 at 7:37 pm

    Believe me, Kjerstin. I do understand how much of a hassle it is to help 20 kids do anything. But it is one day a year. Set aside an hour and pass them out. But if you are going to plan a party (not the parents’ idea! the school’s!) then set aside the time.

    Gah!

    I bet you were a good teacher.

  7. Lee Lee
    February 2, 2009 at 8:59 pm

    I was just going to say that maybe she didn’t want you to write the kids names on the cards so as to avoid hurt feelings. Like maybe some kids wouldn’t give certain kids a card and that would hurt feelings. That being said I think it is a good idea as mentioned above to send home a list of the whole class and you have to give a card to every classmate. Am I being soft?

  8. Shannon
    February 2, 2009 at 11:06 pm

    I agree with your friend Stephanie- we can’t utter the word Christmas- have to say holiday-which seriously I have no problem with, but then celebrate Valentine’s Day(remember I teach 5th grade- so I don’t think it is as important) -We are actually having a school store sale for V-day- weird, what are the kids going to do, buy a mechanical pencil for someone?
    Anyhoo- for little ones- have the celebration- eat a cupcake- pass out cards. As far as Rollie writing names- write the frickin names, good practice!

  9. February 3, 2009 at 3:30 am

    Yeah, definitely going ahead with the names.

  10. February 3, 2009 at 3:30 am

    No, Lisa. I think you are right. It is just good manners to give one to everyone. Every parent has been sent a list of all kids in the class.

  11. Nat
    February 6, 2009 at 12:29 am

    Huh. I find it very interesting how the different school districts approach V day.

    We ARE instructed to do the exact assignment you are dreaming of–writing their name and their classmates names. AND as an added bonus they have secret valentines that they are to go to the Dollar Store and shop for a secret valentine as a bonus lesson in counting money.

    Yes this is public school and yes I had this exact assignment with Carmella 2years ago.

    Of course Beau is going to be way less enthusiastic about doing said assignment than Carmella was but oh well.

    I am over the moon about the school and their curriculum but what was great for one kid is proving a huge challenge with the other. I am dreading first grade for Beau where he will have at least 30 minutes of homework almost every night– in addition to reading 10-15 minutes a day. Right now I am struggling trying to get him to do 10 minutes of anything.

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