The Oral Report

Standing up in front of the class was never so much fun!

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Location: River City, United States

The rantings and ravings of a mom of three wonderful girls as she finds new love while working like a dog and shaking her fist at the system. You know. Pretty much like everybody else.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

School Daze

Haven't posted in a few days. After that last one, I'm sure there are more than a few folks anxious for me to put something else up here. Frankly, I'm one of them.

Today is the first day of public school here in River City. All the kiddies are off into their new routines.

[Kid 1] officially ruling the school as a new senior, caught her bus at 6:15 this morning.

Say it with me. ::groan::

Her classload includes an art class, a photography class, drama and chorus. Oh yeah, there's some English in there somewhere, too. In any event, it should be a (predominantly) fun year for her. I'm glad. If I can keep the drama in her personal life to a minimum (always a difficult task), I'll be in good shape.

[Kid 2], my sophomore, took the bus to a new high school this morning. A better school than last year (and we'll get to a little more of that here in a second) and one that she has long wanted to attend. I'm pleased for her and am hopeful that she adjusts quickly. Given her history with stress, I'd hate for any new problems to kick that rock down the hill.

As a note, for any inquiring minds, her hair has completely grown back in and there is little evidence of the damage she did last spring. The new hair is fairly short (and more curly than she'd like, given the relative straightness of the rest of her hair), but the length will come.

[Kid 3] also started a new school today. A first-grader this year. Looking adorable in her blue uniform jumper, I dropped her off at the school on my way to work. Another (slightly older) little girl invited her to play dolls and she just beamed. I can't wait to see her this afternoon and hear all her excited "first day of the new school" news.

I wish it weren't a rainy morning (though it appears to be stopping quite early), as the new school has one thing that deeply appeals to her that her previous school did not. A playground. Two actually. Not sure she'll get to sample it today, but I'm crossing my fingers for her.

Now, while we're (and by "we're", of course I mean "I'm") yammering about school, I've got a little newstory I wanted to share. But, first a little back story for you.

Last year, [Kid 2] had some difficulty with a geometry teacher. Mostly difficulty understanding the material. (She's far more an algebra girl.) My ex and I actually met with him at one point in the year, and I have to say I never got a vibe off of Mr. Garren that led me to believe I had any of this stuff to worry about.

[Kid 2] mentioned, after he had been reassigned, that he had been taking pictures of the kids in his classes (including her). Apparently, he'd been photoshopping the pics a little. I can't tell you how mad this stuff makes me. And how glad I am that he's not teaching in this school system anymore.

Between this teacher, and the English teacher who was so rude to her last year about wearing her hat to a concert while she was dealing with her problems, it makes it clear why so many folks opt for private schools. The public school system is rife with people who should not be teaching our kids. More and more and more reports make that clear.

I, myself, spent seven years as a student in the public school system here in River City. I had a couple of exceptional teachers in those years. Major props to Lorraine Abrams and Dee Roberts (if either of you google and find this, well, you made a difference in my life, ladies), my Freshman English teacher and Senior English teacher, respectively. Both of them encouraged me to write. Both of them taught me a great deal about writing. And about life. Couldn't ask for anything more.

Unfortunately, the public school systems are strapped for money everywhere. Pretty much always. That translates to hiring less qualified teachers who are in a position to accept a lower salary. It also translates to hiring people who have other issues that most parents (myself definitely amongst them) may rather the adults charged with teaching and taking care of our children didn't have. Ever.

As the school system grows (and River City is a large town), the percentage of problems with teachers has to grow and spread proportionately. Between these dangers, and the level to which school violence has grown, home-schooling (which has always seemed to me to be a terrible injustice to do to one's children) is looking more appealing every day. Less so, perhaps, if I didn't have a first grader who is looking at many more years in this system. It's just very frustrating thinking that you have to protect your children from, not only the bullies and the school shooters (which is plenty, thank you very much), but from the teachers as well.

Welcome to another year of it. It appears that in addition to the (recently added) child-sized body armor and chastity belts, I may need to add a glock to the school supply list.


Blogger Your Girl Friday said...

6:15?!?!!?!? What time does school start over there?!!?!?

8/15/2006 7:10 PM  
Blogger SuperFiancee said...

High school starts at 7:40AM, but [Kid 1] despite my urging otherwise, has opted to go to a school quite a ways from our house. She, therefore, has to catch a pretty early bus to get there on time. [Kid 2], also in high school, catches a 7:03 bus. They could be going to the same school.

It's her senior year, though. And I'm not forcing it. If it's worth it to her to have the experience she wants, she can get up at 5AM and do it. I have no doubt she will.

Oh, and my kids are just a smidge crazy. But, I have no idea where they get that from...;)

8/15/2006 8:19 PM  
Blogger Your Girl Friday said...


7:40am!!! I can't believe school starts so early over there! High school and primary school over here starts at 8:55am and finishes at 3 - 3.30pm.

Are working hours different too?!?

I feel so lazy!

Kid 1 is keen to get up so early - at least you know she is clearly very happy there - none of us are too old not to remember the torture of being unhappy at school!

8/16/2006 3:50 AM  
Blogger MJ Norton said...

Our school systems (especially the local public high schools) start at least as early as SF's do. The only time I've ever had school start as late as 8:55 and finish up around 3:30 was in grade school, and that was because we had to use the buses during times considered "off" by the public schools.

School here won't be starting until September, though, so almost no one is talking about it beyond realizing that probably this weekend we'll be doing a clothing inventiry and I'll be taking the kids out to buy some new clothes and shoes.

8/16/2006 8:37 AM  
Blogger SuperFiancee said...


As Mr. Norton notes (about his neck of the woods), grade school hours are staggered with the hours for the older kids (middle and high schoolers). I imagine the main reason is the availability of school buses to transport kids. They tend to do double duty getting all the older kids to school first and then going back for all the younger kids. Lather, rinse, repeat on the return. It allows the system to use half the buses it would normally need. I would imagine there is some sibling childcare factoring in there as well, since the older kids get home earlier than their younger siblings and can help take care of them. At least those are the practical reasons, I'm sure there are others that I may be overlooking at the moment.

As for work hours, the standard 9-5 doesn't seem to be so much the standard anymore. I think it's been replaced by 8-5 in most places/industries. Though my own schedule is 7:30-5:30 M-Th, with my cherished and much coveted 7:30-11:30AM Fridays.

Mike -

Night before the first day, I couldn't get them to sleep and everyone was excited (though sleepy) the next morning as they bustled out to school. Last night, factoring in not enough sleep the night before and a busy day, everyone crashed without so much as a sniff and the two I had to get up were burrowing deeper and deeper into the covers as I did. LOL!

They are always jealous of yours this time of year...but when the middle of May gets here, they become quite pleased to get the jump start on summer vacation.

8/16/2006 9:57 AM  

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