Hear ye, hear ye! Let the meeting of the How To Annoy The Parents In Our Classroom Society begin! Today’s topic is school supplies. We need to come up with creative ways to annoy parents and alienate them. Any suggestions from the floor?
Yeah, this never happened. But from reading posts all over Facebook, I think some of you might think that it does. And I have to admit I am a bit shocked at some of the things I’m seeing. As a parent, I think I would lose my mind if the teacher asked me to write my child’s name on 24 crayons, 10 markers, 48 pencils and a variety of other items. However, there might be a reason behind it….
Method Behind The Madness….
For me, a classroom is a work in progress. There are certain things I always do and others I have to add as the year goes on. For instance, I used to let kids sharpen pencils. Then the sharpener was going all day and annoying the bejesus out of me. So then I instituted the trade in policy. The kids would simply trade in their pencils, unless it was special and then I would sharpen it. Then the kids were just grabbing and not trading because they were breaking the pencils into pieces (don’t ask), so now the pencils are on the far side of my desk and the kids have to ask. This is just the policy for every year now. So maybe the teacher asking for the labels had issues with stealing and kids melting down because of it. You would not believe the war that could ensue over a blue crayon. It’s not something I personally would do in my room, but maybe the teacher figures that this short time investment from a parent would alleviate meltdowns in class.
eBay, Here I Come…..
Another complaint I’m hearing is teachers NOT wanting names on things. I’m one of these. In the past I’ve run my supplies communally. This has been done in a few different ways, but I ALWAYS give the children the option. Some of them are very attached to their new crayons and markers, which is fine. The main reason I don’t want names on things is the folders and notebooks. No, I’m not selling them on eBay, but I do have procedures for where things go, including names.
Picture this: you are very well meaning and, using your new sharpie, you put your child’s name in the middle of every folder, in big letters. The next parent puts it in small letters in the upper right hand corner. The next parent puts it in the bottom left hand corner. Now I go to collect the folders and have to look everywhere to find the name. Much easier if every kid has it in the same place. In addition, I might want them to decorate the folder in a specific way (something sciencey for science, numbers and symbols for math). This might be difficult if there are names on it already.
I also collect things like pencils and post-it notes and pass them out when we need them. Otherwise, they use them to make cartoons (one small character on each page and flip) or to pass notes or to create origami or to….well, you get the idea.
Place Of No Return….
At the end of the year, I”m still not selling your supplies on eBay. I ask kids to donate markers and crayons they don’t want anymore to the class. The keyword here is ASK. If they want them, they go home, as do white boards, clipboards, etc. If supplies don’t come home with your child – ask the teacher where they are.
Giving is always a nice thing. With budget cuts being what they are, there are things lacking in the classroom that we used to have. Teachers spend hundreds, if not thousands of dollars out of their own pockets for things in the classroom. If there is a wish list, no one is expecting you to donate anything. If you can, great. If not, then don’t. I will say this though – when you clean out book cases and games, you might want to ask your child’s teacher if they could use them before you garage sale them or donate them somewhere. Toilet paper rolls, paper towel rolls, plastic containers, etc are always welcome too.
Dirty Little Secret….
Those lists you get – they are SUGGESTED supplies, at least in Broward. We will still teach your child, even if you send them in with no supplies. It will make it harder and probably mean that the teacher has to supply them, but we won’t kick them out of class or think they are less because they didn’t bring in supplies. If you can’t send something in, just communicate that with the teacher. Open communication is so very important that I can’t say it enough.
Don’t Believe Everything You Hear….
A friend of mine told me she donated paper towels to her daughter’s class. They were sent home and the child told my friend the teacher said, “I didn’t ask for these. Tell your Mom I need napkins and tissues.” While I’m 100% sure that was the message, there’s a difference between that and the teacher saying, “Please tell your Mom I really appreciate her donation, but we have plenty of paper towels right now. Can you please ask her to pick up some tissues? Thanks”. I don’t know what was said. I do know things are lost in translation from teacher to child to parent. If you have an issue with something you think happened in your child’s classroom, ASK US! I would much prefer you coming to me and asking about something that happened in class and clearing the air, than having you upset all year and not knowing why.
In closing, we know this is a stressful time for students and parents alike. New teacher, new rules, new schedule, etc. But it’s just as stressful for teachers. We ALL need to remember this and treat each other with kindness and the way that we would want to be treated.