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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

WHAT A DIFFERENCE FIVE YEARS MAKE

5 years ago, my eldest daughter's 1st grade teacher told us to give kids autonomy by not intervening in their homework. Last night, my youngest daughter's teacher told us to practice vigilance, instruct them to correct mistakes and she even announced that there would be parent-child school assignments. (groan!)

5 years ago the pupils changed seats every week so they could get to know their classmates. Last night we were told that they would stay in the same seat so as to feel more secure in their class environment.

5 years ago the teacher had rigid rules when it came to shaping letters. Last night I was told not to worry that my daughter does her "o's" in a clockwise direction and her "l's" upwards rather than top to bottom.

5 years ago I didn't realise there was such a thing as school violence until 4th grade, not because it didn't exist in the school, but because such issues were treated with the utmost confidentiality (ie, swept under the carpet). Last night we were told that in the first week of school two first-graders had already started harrassing other children and we were advised to have chats with our kids about the importance of speaking up and bullying.

5 years ago I wore a tailored suit to the parent-teacher meeting. Last night it was jeans and I still felt over-dressed!

Yes, times have changed. But beyond that, my daughters are going to two different primary schools with different approaches. One is rigid, snooty, expensive and filled with prominent members of society. The other is arty, biomatic, free, difficult to get into and affiliated with the university. One is opera, the other is rock...

So different, and yet both are considered the "best" the Greek elementary education system has to offer. I guess at the end of the day what counts isn't the system but the exquisiteness and unswerving dedication of those who serve it.

And at the end of the day - there is one common denominator regardless of the school...parents' stupidity (my own included). 5 years ago and last night, as the teacher went on and on and on, explaining what should be evident to us, but apparently is not, my mind drifted...and before I knew it I had filled a blank page infront of me with doodles... (Let's not forget I'm a parent school dropout. CLICK HERE FOR MY EXPLOITS)


7 comments:

Robin said...

First, I enjoyed rereading the old post. And the comments on it. It was a blast from the past. I do think different school environments work better for certain kids. So often a child "fails" in school simply because they are not at a school that is most conducive to the way that they learn. Most parents in the US are stuck putting their kids in the public school based upon where they live (they call it zoning here). For instance, C-Man would be eaten alive in public school here. He is too smart and he would be bored and he would act out and he would actually fail his classes. Fortunately, he was pulled out of public school early enough and tested high enough to get into the local magnet school. They require you to do very well. At the middle school level (6th grade) you can choose to split off and go to the magnet school for science or the fine arts school. C-Man chose fine arts and loves it. Not surprising to me, he loves the theatre department. H-Girl is stuck in public school and doing miserably. She isn't naturally as smart as her brother and isn't willing to study twice as hard in order to get into the magnet school. She doesn't understand how much better her life would be there. That is just something that you can't "explain" to a kid.

I got off tangent, but what I am saying is that I hope your girls are in schools that work for them. That is all that matters. The fact that the teachers work differently isn't important unless the way that work isn't working for your kid. If that is the case, then you need to make a change. I suppose the good thing to know is that there are other schools that teach differently...

Linda Pressman said...

It can all really drive you crazy, right? My daughter's school has this new philosophy of recess before lunch because all these studies have shown that then they'll come back into the classroom more calm and they'll eat all their food since they won't be rushing to finish to get to recess, right? Guess what? In practical application it doesn't work. The kids are starving. :)

Carol said...

so true...all of it.

I have a grandson that just started Kindergarten and it has all changed. Hmm..

Carol-the gardener

Purple Cow said...

In the US you have a lot of variety plus home schooling. In Greece, options are more limited, though there are a couple of Montessori schools around. I try to find the best options around our house. The reason I chose different primary schools is because my eldest has all these rich friends who are on FB by stating fake ages and are FB friends with their teachers. Plus they don't have enough limits set at home and I feel have way too much freedom for 11-year-olds. But I wonder if this is a problem of society and not just of the "rich kids" school she attends. My youngest daughter's school also has a good reputation due to its university affiliation. In first grade they already have an interactive board in their classroom plus computer and piano...that isn't usually the case in Greece.

Linda, you must be very lucky if all other problems have been solved and your school is down to petty details such as getting kids to eat. Truth is, my youngest doesn't touch her food much at school. But I make sure she has a hearty breakfast and lunch when she gets back.

Carol, and yet some things never change. Children are still children regardless of how society rushes to offer them stimulations way beyond their years...

Good luck to all our youngsters! (And to us, of course!)

Jeff said...

At the end of the day...it is the children's desire to learn coupled with the parents desire to help them learn and the schools ability to teach the basics that produces highly educated children.

Truthful Mommy said...

Wow!I can't believe what conflicting messages they are sending within the same school system but of course, it is different schools and 5 years later. Hope both schools are what both girls need and they can thrive and excel there. After all, isn't that what matters most..their happiness.Happy Mothering!

Purple Cow said...

well said Jeff! and good teachers too!

Truthful Mommy - and yet, both styles have success stories. I think what matters is what Jeff said! and lots and lots of love and imagination!