Author Topic: School and conformity  (Read 15217 times)

vmichel

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School and conformity
« Reply #15 on: November 19, 2006, 12:32:49 PM »
Quote from: brebis noire
yes, of course these parents exist, though I haven't yet met one in person.  :wink: But I don't think they are reasonable or smart about helping their kids.


I have... but not often. What I see most often is parents who are angry about how their child is being treated in school, and who think that the teacher should do x, y, and z to solve the problem. Unfortunately, the teacher does not have the resources to do x, y, and z. So she is resistant, the parents get angrier, and the child remains in a bad situation.

The problem in these situations is administrative, not personal. Of course the child should have x, y, and z. Of course the teacher can't provide them. The only way out of this deadlock is for the teacher and the parent to unite and challenge the administration, school board, etc. to provide the resources.

Instead, parents and teachers personalize the battle and take it out on each other. Parents demonize the teacher: 'she's a monster who doesn't see how great my child is." Teachers demonize parents: 'if they would just shape up at home, we wouldn't have these problems." And while teachers and parents are duking it out in the mud, the powers-that-be remain comfortably ensconced in their offices. School boards are delighted that parents are so quick to get pissy with teachers, I promise you. It takes the heat off of them.

It's just another way that those in power get the powerless to turn on each other instead of challenging the powerful.

Rant over!

vmichel

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« Reply #16 on: November 19, 2006, 12:44:56 PM »
Quote from: brebis noire
ETA: I don't want to give the impression that I'm unsympathetic to the various pressures teachers are under - both my SO and my brother are teachers. But the pressures they face from parents and kids tend to pale against the ones that come from colleagues, department heads and principals. In 15 years of teaching, my SO has dealt with only one very nasty parent, a very few difficult kids,  but a lengthy list of difficult colleagues.


Oh, I agree completely. You don't sound unsympathetic at all, and I hope I don't sound unsympathetic to parents. Difficult colleagues are a problem. You would think that teachers and parents would be natural allies in that -- in your school's case, for example, surely the parents were as upset as some teachers about losing a gifted first grade teacher -- but I have never seen an effective model of parents and teachers coming together to address such problems. The right-wingers blame it on the union. I'm pro-union, but I think that teaching is an area where pro-union people could really stand to clean up their own backyard.

brebis noire

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« Reply #17 on: November 19, 2006, 02:37:56 PM »
notatall, vmichel...Most of the time I'm quite in awe of how teachers are able to do their jobs. I admire them a lot and in my socialist utopia, they would be higher in status than doctors.  :)

I don't blame the unions though. They are necessary in helping keep the balance in the system. I wouldn't want to be a private school teacher and be at the mercy of everyone's whims, with no effective protection....

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School and conformity
« Reply #18 on: November 19, 2006, 05:15:39 PM »
Timebandit, I hope things improve for your daughter. It is stories like these that make me want to find alternative schools for my kid when its older. I have to do more reading on this. I was a serious rebel in school, although often pleasant. Because of that, I didn't always get into as much trouble as somebody else probably would have. But I questioned ridiculous, meaningless, unnecessary and arbitrary disciplining actions. I never liked school, and the thought of sending my kid to be part of a system that I always detested (and still do) makes me cringe. One problem with alternative schools is that they are private and cost money.

Getting picked on for taking paper out of the recycling bin and playing with it. C'mon on! Re-using things is one of the best things we can do for our environment. I'm glad your daughter sounds so much smarter than her ridiculous teacher. One of the problems here (I suspect) is that it is always so much easier to blame and punish the 'weaker victim'. I remember getting this treatment a million times when I was a kid, and it always boiled me up inside. It is too challenging for some adults to control the difficult bully, it is easier to set expectations on the easier kid and tell that kid to never fight back because that will only makes things worse, and when the kid finally retaliates, s/he broke a rule, disobeyed and let the adult down. Talk about being fair!

School and conformity - the blame can't entirely rest with the teachers and principals. Other parents play a big role in defining the culture that builds up within schools. The kids take to school what they learn at home. Unfortunately, often times, it means teaching the boys to be aggressive, to fight, to stand up for themselves, teaching the girls to concern themselves with their appearances, and a complete lack of concern for the environment and lack of respect for other members of society who are 'different' in any way at all, setting boundaries on how girls and boys should behave because of their gender, and presuming that everybody is hetersexual.

Homeschooling can work for some. I've thought about it, but wouldn't try it. I'm not smart enough to teach my kid everything it needs to know, and I should make it easy for my kid to have a social life, if it is so inclined. Also, I would really like a career, and wouldn't be too thrilled about having to be a stay-at-home mom (I wouldn't mind it too much if thwap had an awesome income!) Focus on discipline and arbitrary rules depress me, so I really need to find more info on alternative schools. At least so I can have enough information to compare them with regular public schools, and weight out all the advantages and disadvantages.

anne cameron

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School and conformity
« Reply #19 on: November 19, 2006, 08:07:13 PM »
Mostly what I tell the grandkids is that right or wrong the teacher is right, just suck it up, be polite, if the situation is intolerable withdraw from it and come tell grandma.  Mostly, the experiences two generations of my spawn have had were okay, and in some cases absolutely outstanding, and I think, in part, that was because I never hesitated to get myself to the school when and if there was any problem, even a slight one.  My oldest grandson faced dreadful challenges, and by the time he came to live with me he was deemed to be "mentally challenged", a "slow learner" with "learning disabilities".  I didn't believe it for a minute and was prepared to run into staff who would tell me I was unrealistic and "in denial".  Instead, I ran into a school chock full of people who were more than willing to go back to square one and start filling in the gaps.  Between Easter and the end of the year that child worked like the very devil and caught up.  And they continued to just pour the effort into him.  He was, undeniably, mentally ill, and they even dealt with that in a kind and even loving way.    But, with other kids, I've run into the other kind of Little Caesars who seem to think their education and status set them apart and above the rest of the common herd.  In some cases I really feel it's a pity abortion isn't retroactive.  And we have one kid who is by anyone's standards "difficult" and "challenging".  A previous school she attended dealt with it by sending her home.  So she spent most afternoons riding her bike around, free as a lark until adults got home from work.  She's in the school in Tahsis now, they dont' just send her home, they phone and a parent goes down to the school...and that is helping.

We've come so far in so many ways and yet all too often we're still trying to educate kids the way it was done three hundred years ago.  But there's a great programme on Knowledge Network out here, "Child of Our Time" and I watch it nearly every Monday night, some of what is being discovered about brain, personality, learning and kid's reactions is really eye opening.

Joanie is five and a half, is in all-day kindergarten in a K-3 class and she absolutely LOVES it.  Her teacher has a thick North English accent and that was a challenge for a kid more used to First Nations accents but she has adapted, can now understand everything said to her and thinks it is hilarious that grandma can assume the same accent and talk the way Teacher does.  I am relieved her first experience is so far proving to be a good one, and if Joanie is happy about it then grandma is happy but I DO feel as if "the system" is , again, stealing one of my babies.  To me that's the hardest part of watching them go off to school.  And next year it will be my Emmy heading off full of expectation and joy...and I wonder how Teacher will deal with her...Emily, you see, has a twin sister, Emma, and she looks EXACTLY like Emily, and sometimes she wears Emily's clothes, and sometimes they fool people and...Emily is the only person on earth who can see Emma unless Emma puts on Emily's clothes and they fool people by letting them see Emma and think it's Emily....Emily also has three mommies...and two daddies...and she has some sisters who live in different houses with different moms and dads but they are still her sisters because she loves them...and I have to be THEIR grandma, too, because they are her sisters...and I worry Emily's alternate world might not fit well in a classroom.  Worry, too, someone will try to insist she be "realistic" and not "indulge" in fantasy and... I put you all on notice, there's a young novelist in Tahsis, she just hasn't learned to read, write and type , yet, but when she does, look out Geller, she'll be in pursuit!!

Timebandit

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« Reply #20 on: November 19, 2006, 09:56:40 PM »
Yes, I think you may be up for some challenges with your Emily, Anne.  But she sounds like a delightful kid -- I know she's got you and her parents backing her, so I think she'll be all right.   :D

One of the examples of Ms B's "odd behaviour"  was that she makes up alternate languages, says stuff and then translates it for people.  She used to a lot more than she does now, but she's a strongly verbal child and has always loved playing with sounds and rythms and can be quite consistent in her made-up languages.  So I wasn't all that surprised when her teacher told me this with eyebrows raised to her hairline...  I just deadpanned:  "Yes, she does.  I haven't discouraged it -- it's something JRR Tolkein used to do."   :lol:

I do understand that if B uses made-up languages in class that it can be disruptive and hard to deal with, so we've talked about it in the past and there is an understanding that there's a time and a place that's appropriate and others (like class time) where it isn't.  Her other teacher helped us out with that (because 2 years ago she WAS doing it in class!), and actually thought it was quite funny.  

We don't have any alternative schools here that I'm aware of, just the seperate school system and the public school system.  There's a Montessori school, but they seem to be more geared to working with kids who have learning disabilities for some reason.  There's also a private high school and a Christian high school, but neither of those is for us, I think, and that's a long way off anyway.  Home schooling would be hell for B -- she's very social and taking her away from other kids would do more harm than good, even if I was suited to home schooling.  I'm not.  Anyway, I don't know if it's so much the system as it is the individual teacher, and then the principal backing her up.  Up until now, we've thought we had a really great school, and for the most part we still do.
Whenever anyone has offended me, I try to raise my soul so high that the offense cannot reach it. -Rene Descartes, philosopher and mathematician (1596-1650)

skdadl

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« Reply #21 on: November 20, 2006, 05:52:03 AM »
I didn't have an alternate self when I was little but I certainly had friends that no one else could see. I once made the mistake of telling another kid that I had to play with my "other" friends so she had to go home -- which she did, told her mother, mother came stomping over to complain to my mother that skdadl was bananas, etc etc etc.

I was hiding in a stairwell as that woman went on at my mum, who got rid of the silly woman politely but firmly. Then Mum came and sat down beside me on the stairs and told me not to pay any attention to the silly woman, which was remarkable for my mum, who was in many ways trying to be so conventional.

That episode destroyed my invisible friends, though. I stopped playing with them entirely that day. That was in the first house in Medicine Hat, so I had to have been six or younger.

Debra

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« Reply #22 on: November 20, 2006, 07:29:13 AM »
You have to wonder what their family was going through that a small child's imagination scared them so.

It is always the poets and dreamers, the inventors and philosophers who suffer from the desire of those so caught up in their own banality they want the whole world to be grey.
“Damaged people are dangerous. They know they can survive.” —  Josephine Hart

brebis noire

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« Reply #23 on: November 20, 2006, 08:48:23 AM »
Quote
One of the examples of Ms B's "odd behaviour"  was that she makes up alternate languages, says stuff and then translates it for people.  She used to a lot more than she does now, but she's a strongly verbal child and has always loved playing with sounds and rythms and can be quite consistent in her made-up languages.  So I wasn't all that surprised when her teacher told me this with eyebrows raised to her hairline...  I just deadpanned:  "Yes, she does.  I haven't discouraged it -- it's something JRR Tolkein used to do."   :lol:


Wow, that sounds interesting. I'm sure I'd be proud if my kid were that outgoing and creative. It's really too bad that this particular teacher has a problem with it, most teachers shouldn't by now. We're not in the 1950s anymore eh?

My kid isn't outwardly 'creative', but he tends to do a lot of zoning out in school - I first noticed some slight facial tics when he was in kindergarten, he still has them a little bit, but luckily nobody has made a big deal of it. I realized after a few years that he repeats words to himself, as if he wants to better understand the word, or mull over its diction or something, I'm not quite sure.

It does tend to bother the teachers every year that he's not always 'there' in class - il est dans la lune, they say. But every time we get that spiel from the teachers, I tell him it's not a big deal, I used to do it too, and it's not as if you don't get your work done...Actually, I think it can be a useful skill if you know how to use it properly.  :wink: When he zones out in Sunday School for example, I've told him that most questions can be answered by the word "Jesus".
(He tried that once, but unfortunately it didn't work. Though we did get a laugh out of it.)

anne cameron

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« Reply #24 on: November 20, 2006, 05:56:38 PM »
So far Em hasn't made up any secret languages but she has times when she answers by singing her reply.  She's here today, giving her mom a bit of a break while she bakes bread.  Lilli is here, too.  Emily had two bowls of soup and two crackers for lunch, one for Emily and one for Emma.  Lilli flat-out refused to eat the corn niblets in her soup, she told me they were Poopoo.  I feel that way about carrots so I gave her a saucer for the discarded niblets and in a spirit of democracy she also added green beans which it seems are not poopoo but gack.

Emily has spent hours being a dog, walking on all fours and carrying things in her mouth and she has also decided she's a cat and "has" to curl up on my knee while I stroke her head.  Her mom is great about the fantasy worlds, has even said "am I talking to Emily or Emma?" and one time when the kid said she was Emma, her mom said Could you go find Emily and tell her I need to see her, please...and off went the kid to the bedroom, came back a few minutes later and said Emma had told her that her mom wanted to see her...and I'm not sure a teacher is going to be easy with that.  I'm hoping she's either over it or we have a chance to explain ahead of time.  She has told us all that some days she might not "feel like" going to school and if she doesn't "feel like" it she isn't going to go.  Period.

One of her favourite pastimes is to get the "stuffers", you know, those freebie ad inserts, like mini catalogues.  Then she sits on the floor and spins stories about how the little boy in the picture of the ad for jeans asked his mom, the lady in the black underwear, and he said please so his mom got him the battery powered back hoe and he took it to play with the little girl holding the thirty dollar My Little Pony...it's the best use for those tree-slaughtering adverts I've seen in a long time, even better than using them to start the fire.

arborman

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« Reply #25 on: November 20, 2006, 06:32:22 PM »
Erk, bad teachers.  

I had the delightful experience of having a truly awful asshole of a teacher in Grade 7.  'No, this is for jocks - you are a non-jock, and you sit over there.'

In an awkward circumstance, my parents were both teachers, and in fact my dad was in the same school at the time.  Any teacher that offers criticism of other teachers can get into deep shit for being 'unprofessional'.

That said, they didn't hesitate when the bullying was an issue in Grade 6.  When I finally stopped with the pacifism and fought the little monster (He whupped me, but it ended the bullying), the vice principal was going to give us 'the strap'.  Nothing like a little violence to deter violence.  ;) Ma was about ready to storm the schoolhouse to liberate me when my dad calmed things down.  Then we went out for pizza (and stitches).
The pleasures of the table are for every man, of every land, and no matter what place in history or society; they can be a part of all his other pleasures, and they last the longest, to console him when he has outlived the rest.

anne cameron

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School and conformity
« Reply #26 on: November 20, 2006, 07:15:58 PM »
Ah, conformity...teaching...two examples, one from the past, one from today.  My oldest son was a natural athlete and a gym teacher decided he should take up boxing.  My son said no thank you (he's a born pacifist).  Well, it went on and on until the kid came home in tears (he was about fourteen so tears were rare by then).  Blurted out the story.  My son's mother is not a pacifist.  Total confrontation ending in an invitation from me for the teacher to step into the ring and just try to defend himself.  At about that point in walked my ex, who was built like The Rock...he was much quieter about it all than I was and a lot more effective.  He simply said he'd offer the gym teacher a deal..if the gym teacher could "beat" my ex the kid would join boxing, if my ex won the gym teacher would stuff salt up his nose.

And then there's today.  About an hour ago in fact.  Background...years ago my oldest grandson went to a yard sale and came home with a mammoth mickey who has been loved to death.  Death came today.  I was editing, the girls were playing, I heard absolute hilarity, clitter of dog toe nails on the hardwood floor, more shrieks of laughter, the kind you just know you have to investigate...Mickey was stuffed with ittybitty bullets of styrofoam and it was literally from one end of the modular to the other, waves of it, the only room not covered was my studio.  Drifts of it, piles of it, how did they get that much of it into Mickey?  First flash was sort of Jesus I'll break their bones, next flash was Jesus don't let me break their bones and then I saw their faces.  It was SUCH FUN!!!  I got a broom because Lilli is terrified of the vacuum cleaner.  Lilli got the drymop.  I'd get a gallon of it in a pile and she'd take the mop through the pile and we could do it all again  Never have people had so much fun with broom and mop!  Lilli would stand, waiting, until I had a pile then she'd attack with the mop, yelling "gotcha".  Emily turned on the vacuum cleaner, Lilli got all set to shriek and noticed the little bullets rolling across the floor toward the nozzle..."me do"...scratch Lilli's fear of vacuum cleaners.  Living room is done, kitchen is done, hallway is done, only the play room left to do and that can wait until they've gone home or we'll never be finished and have to re-do the entire house.

I think mammoth Mickey is going to wind up in the dumpster tonight.  He who once was fat is now skinny.  And Lilli has learned the vacuum cleaner is not a monster.  And I'll be another week, at least, hunting down the bits of bitties.

But if you could have seen their faces!!!

Timebandit

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« Reply #27 on: November 20, 2006, 08:09:45 PM »
Quote from: arborman
Erk, bad teachers.  

I had the delightful experience of having a truly awful asshole of a teacher in Grade 7.  'No, this is for jocks - you are a non-jock, and you sit over there.'

In an awkward circumstance, my parents were both teachers, and in fact my dad was in the same school at the time.  Any teacher that offers criticism of other teachers can get into deep shit for being 'unprofessional'.

That said, they didn't hesitate when the bullying was an issue in Grade 6.  When I finally stopped with the pacifism and fought the little monster (He whupped me, but it ended the bullying), the vice principal was going to give us 'the strap'.  Nothing like a little violence to deter violence.  ;) Ma was about ready to storm the schoolhouse to liberate me when my dad calmed things down.  Then we went out for pizza (and stitches).


I had a few of those, following the nasty old bat in grade 5.  My father, who was not a teacher, was not quiet about any of it.

I often refer to my dad as Wild Bill.  He was 6'4" tall, thin as a rail and knew how to conjure up an intensity that bespoke a berserker just barely held in check.  He rarely ever had to raise his voice -- you just knew you weren't going to get the best of it.  And to some degree it was effective -- any overt bullying stopped immediately.  Unfortunately, what he couldn't do anything about was the creeping resentment and the comments that could be "misconstrued" as mean.  It didn't entirely solve the problem.  Although it did mean that I could forge notes in high school (similar handwriting pattern and his sig was pretty simple) without ever worrying anybody would call to check -- they didn't want to deal with him, or me by extension.

So I'd like to approach things differently.  First off, I'm not as physically imposing, although I can be intimidating when I want to -- that intensity is something I can do pretty effectively -- but I'd rather limit the resentment factor where my kid is concerned.  I have no faith that they'll deal straight with me and leave her out of it if I handle things as aggressively as Wild Bill did.  I also don't want my daughter to think that she can get away with stuff that she shouldn't because she has a scary parent.
Whenever anyone has offended me, I try to raise my soul so high that the offense cannot reach it. -Rene Descartes, philosopher and mathematician (1596-1650)

arborman

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« Reply #28 on: November 20, 2006, 10:22:08 PM »
Quote from: Timebandit
So I'd like to approach things differently.  First off, I'm not as physically imposing, although I can be intimidating when I want to -- that intensity is something I can do pretty effectively -- but I'd rather limit the resentment factor where my kid is concerned.  I have no faith that they'll deal straight with me and leave her out of it if I handle things as aggressively as Wild Bill did.  I also don't want my daughter to think that she can get away with stuff that she shouldn't because she has a scary parent.


I think arborboy's going to be a big lummox like myself.  Unfortunately for us big pacifist lummoxes, we tend to be a target for the insecure non-pacifist dirtbags.  It was hellish for me, and I don't want that for him.

The opposite risk is that he'll be a big lummox, will use it once or twice, and start getting 'respected' as a tough guy at an early, impressionable age.  I don't want him to be a tough guy either.

So I'm thinking Aikido classes as soon as he's old enough.  Totally pacifist martial art - there are no attacks.  But it is impenetrable, and if someone attacks you, you can basically step out of the way and immobilize them (or hurt them and run away).  The main point is it has no attacks and it's really effective at defense.  I'd love for him to be able to defend himself against bullies without risking becoming a goon himself.

Of course, I may be totally wrong on all of it.  But what the hell, it's good exercise too.
The pleasures of the table are for every man, of every land, and no matter what place in history or society; they can be a part of all his other pleasures, and they last the longest, to console him when he has outlived the rest.

Timebandit

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« Reply #29 on: November 20, 2006, 11:13:32 PM »
Any martial art can be used aggressively.  However, learning the martial art properly involves a philosophy of non-aggression.  We have Ms B in kung fu, and I started taking classes, too.  It's wonderful exercise, and the philosophy and idea is that it is to be used defensively, only in a situation that is physically confrontational.  We were more interested, at this point, in B learning some coordination and the habit of being physically fit, but she did use a block effectively against a kid who tried to push her last year.  And I like the idea that, by her teens, she will be able to defend herself.

Right now, the best part is that she loves it.
Whenever anyone has offended me, I try to raise my soul so high that the offense cannot reach it. -Rene Descartes, philosopher and mathematician (1596-1650)

 

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