Thursday, December 17, 2009

Not sure who to blame (ignorance ≠ bliss)

I think I'm losing it. Things were going well, but as usual, I'm teetering on the edge. I'm losing patience with my students in the classroom, but it's really not their fault. There is just not enough time in the day to get things done and I feel like I'm constantly trying to catch my breath. I'm also EXTREMELY frustrated with my students' parents. There is just so much blatant neglect and borderline abuse at all times present in my students' lives. I can't handle it. I'm sick of children coming to school half-dressed in this freezing cold weather when they ALL own jackets. I ask them if they were cold on their way to school and they say "I tried to tell my mom, but she was listening to her ipod."

I'm tired of having students with SERIOUS life-threatening medical conditions and not even having an emergency card or working phone number for them. I'm sick of ALL the phone numbers on the blue cards being disconnected, discontinued, with no voice mailbox, a full voice mailbox, or (no kidding) actually a sex line when I see their parents walking around with brand new iphones. I'm tired of the expensive elaborate mohawks and designs shaved into the heads of kids who NEVER do any homework. I'm tired of having parents come in to yell at me because the school sent them a bill for their child's lunch (SURPRISE: This is from the same parents who NEVER check the communication folder and NEVER filled out their free lunch form in the Fall). I'm tired of food and gum inside homework folders.

Most of all, I'm tired of this helplessness I see constantly. I recently asked parents to write down their child's home address and send in 3 postage stamps so that I can send the letters the children are writing to each other in the mail over the vacation, so they will get their own mail and feel loved by their classmates. I need to ask for the address because it is NEVER the same as the one I have on file. I'm totally irritated at the amount of parents who have simply ignored this request and I'm totally depressed for the parents who can't even write the address correctly. I've seen the word "apartment" as "parmen," or "aparme." I've even seen "New York" spelled incorrectly "New Yrk" or "New Jor" Many do not even know the zip code. Every year, I have to google addresses just to find the zip codes. I've had parents send a single envelope with the stamps stuck to it (as if I can use the stamps after they've been stuck). Some of my friends have suggested that maybe parents are worried about their addressed being out of the catchment area, but that's not the case. The addresses I'm missing are the children I know live on the block of the school. They are the same children who have every announcement and communication I've ever sent still in their communication folder. I refuse to take anything out. I want parents to see the months of notices they have ignored.

It's just so much work for me and I need parents to meet me half way. I realized so many of them are functionally illiterate and I don't know how to even begin to reach them. I don't know how they even function in society. I memorized my address in Kindergarten and even though we moved that summer after Kindergarten, I have never forgotten it. It is amazing to me that so many of my student's parents cannot properly write an address. As a result, my students are just so disconnected from the world and it's so hard to get them to connect.

I guess I need this vacation!


Anonymous said...

Wow. I am also a teacher and love your blog. It all starts with the parents, and they are in need of some extensive help.

Launa Hall said...

Wow, that's a heavy dose. Thank you for the window into your students' lives. It's painful to hear about, but important to know. I bet you ARE feeling tired. Wishing you rest and peace over the winter break.