Monday, November 17, 2008

I Don't Get It

How do your kids get to school? Seriously, do they ride a bus, walk, do you take them? How?

I teach at our local high school and I am completely amazed at how many of our students are dropped off every day by their parents. You know how many times I was dropped off by a parent when I was in high school? None. You know how many times I wanted to be dropped off by my parents when I was in high school? None.

Now, don't get me wrong.....I honestly think that kids today have more open relationships with their parents than my generation did with ours. Kids today are not nearly as "embarassed" to be seen with their parents as some of my classmates were (I was not one of these!). I know that I talk to my children about more things than I ever did with my mom at the same age.

But some mornings, there is traffic congestion in the circle drive of my (high) school! What the heck? And today I happened to be in the office during the last period of the day. I glanced out the window to the front of the school and there were cars lined up around the circle drive and extending down the parking lot! Cars of parents to pick up their kids! OMG.....seriously, it reminded me of what I see on the few occasions each year when I go to the elementary school to pick up B2. And it's not like our high school is in the middle of town or something. We are about 1-2 miles right outside of town, on a main highway. There are busses that run to every part of the areas where our students live. BUSSES!

I realize that today's kid thinks that riding the bus to school is really lame. And as a parent, many of us probably don't want our kid riding to school with another kid. The bus would be a safer option. So I'm guessing that when kids don't want to ride the bus, then their parents cave and agree to drive them to school. I pass someone every day on my way to school who has just dropped off her middle school aged child and her high school aged child at 2 different schools. And this person must drive the 10 miles round-trip in order to do so. Why? There is a perfectly good mode of transportation available to them right outside their door! Gas prices have recently gone down, but during the first couple months of school, when everyone was complaining about the cost of gas, this person was still driving her kids to school! When will they grow up? Yeah, maybe the bus comes by rather early in the morning and the kids would have to spend more time on it than they would like. So what? Suck it up! Not everything in life is to your liking! The sooner people (kids) get used to this, the better off they are going to be! Deal with it. Now mind you, I too drop B1 off at her school. I justify this, however, with the fact that I drive right past her school on my way to school. If I didn't, she too would be on the big yellow limo every day! Even if I was driving in that general area, but not right past her school, she would be on the limo. She rides the limo home from school every day and it works just fine for her.

My school recently implemented a program called Edline. This is where parents can go online and check their child's grade every week. Parents can also go to the Edline calendar and view upcoming assignments, quizzes, tests, etc. So now, high school aged kids aren't even going to need to be held accountable for their own assignments......because Mommy and Daddy will be able to go online and "fix" it if they forget to write down an assignment. When in the world are these kids going to have to take some responsibility for themselves? Seriously. It makes me sick.

When I was a student in elementary, junior high, and high school, we took care of our own homework. Yeah, Mom and Dad may have checked it on occasion or gone over our spelling words with us or even helped us study for a test by quizzing us, but never once did I have to have my parent sign my agenda book showing that they were aware of what homework was to be completed at night. WE WERE REPONSIBLE FOR OURSELVES!!! Augh. Kids these days not only have the agenda books (which must be signed each night by a parent when you are in elementary school) but also the online way to check about assignments. I realize that all this technology is considered to be progress, but seriously, I think it's just making our kids more lazy, more dependent upon us, and more immature. Gees.

Do I check B1's grades online? Yep. Why do I do it? Because I am forced to get on the Edline program to update the calendar for my own classes (the ones that I teach). While I am there, it's two clicks of the button away to check her grades. Let me tell you though, if her grade ever falls below a certain number in any class, I better know about it from her before I ever see it on the computer! She knows this and follows it.

One more thing.....while recently talking with a friend, she mentioned someone else who had been complaining that her now high-school aged son spends at least $4 every day on his lunch at the high school. You know what? If that's a problem for you, then don't let him spend that much! I teach at that school and I know that a good, healthy, filling lunch (yes, even for a high school boy) can cost only $2.25 per day. Tell your kid no! Let him spend more on lunch maybe a couple days a week and the other days, make his lunch or only give him $2.25. Who is the parent?

Am I old school or just a ranting witch? I just don't get people sometimes.


Katie's blog said...

How do you really feel? I agree with you.

Kim said...

In our district, I have to take Maddy to school, because there is no bus for her. We would have to live more than 1 1/2 miles from school. Because of where her school is located, no students are outside that 1 1/2 miles, so there is no bus for anyone.

I liked having Edline for my other daughters, so I could keep an eye on their grades. I don't remember being able to fix their assignments, though. It was nice to see how they were doing in school before being shocked by a progress report.

I do have to sign Maddy's agenda, and I don't mind, because I think it makes parents aware of what their child is doing in school. Too many parents say "is your homework done?", believe the child when they say yes, then are outraged by their grades, and blame the teachers. Not that I do that, but I've heard from other teachers that I know, they have had that happen.

Nancy R said...

My kids walk to school, but we only live two blocks away. I anally watch them walk to the end of our street, cross the street, and walk down the sidewalk until they're out of my line of sight. I don't know why, but I do!

We got edline last year and I don't mind it. When one of the girls tries to explain an assignment and it just isn't clear to me, I can go online and get the scoop. Sort of like calling a classmate with quality results. My two oldest are still at ages where I'm often left feeling that the teachers trust them TOO much with passing information along to us parents. E1 is getting better, but I think they're both still learning that responsibility.

Also, they can go in and see how that one low score can really drag down their overall score - get a 'big picture' look at their grades.

I also have homework planners to sign and I don't mind that either as they give me something specific to ask the girls about. My oldest especially does not naturally elaborate on questions like, 'how was school', but will give details if I ask, 'what are you doing for your demonstration project?'

A friend of mine has two kids in our grade school and one in the local private high school (MD to you and I, Beth) and she loves edline - she's got all three linked onto her main page. For their family, the knowledge that Mom and Dad can and will peek into their grades is incentive to keep themselves on track.

However, she told me that her sister (who teaches at the public high school - CHS) said that their school is against getting it for the same reasons you stated. They feel it takes the responsiblity off of the students.

We may be talking at two different ends of this thing, since you're seeing it at the high school level and I'm seeing it at the grade school level. As the parent of grade school children, I see it as a resource for more than just monitoring their grades, and possibly a way to get/keep parents consistently involved in their student's schooling.