Ventings and vacation

The Get Schooled blog has been on break this week as I was in the wilds of New England without Internet. This post was supposed to show up Monday to alert you to the hiatus, but somehow did not.

So, I am posting it now. I will post some more stuff later today.

This post is about some pet peeves of readers. (And one or two of mine.)

Tyler Perry is a funny guy but should students watch his movies in class?

Tyler Perry is a funny guy but should students watch his movies in class?

1. I understand students can learn from powerful films about historic events or people. But I question watching such movies as “Finding Nemo” or “Madea’s Big Happy Family,” which several kids reported seeing this year in class. A teacher pal told me high school kids watch light PG-13 fare because movies with a message often have R-ratings and adult themes that may upset parents.(That said, I am not sure how a West Virginia high school teacher was conned by her class into showing “Fifty Shades of Grey.”)

Someone who just moved to Georgia was surprised how many movies her kids saw in middle and high school; she said movies were limited to elementary school in her former state. If schools are going to show movies, the criteria ought to be clear to parents. Are the movies aligned with the course material? Are they filler? Are they rewards?

2. Several readers sent me notes this year about schools ignoring parent emails. Some principals and teachers answer emails quickly; some are slow to respond. I am not perturbed when my email goes unanswered as I know it’s easy to get behind with emails. My view: If the teacher doesn’t answer, try again.

3. Many neighborhoods have signs posted that say, “Drive like your children live here.” A reader suggested another sign that ought to be posted in her intown neighborhood: “Park like you live here and have to go to work.”

In older parts of the metro area,  schools were built when many students walked so little on-site parking was provided for parents. As a result, the reader said parents now drive their kids to school and park their Pilots and Explorers as if a mass evacuation had suddenly been announced, forcing drivers to abandon their vehicles in the middle of the street, driveways and intersections. (I avoid leaving my own house any time between 2:45 and 3 in the afternoon due to the nearby elementary school release scrum.) And, the reader noted, the queue of parents to pick up their kids now starts 30 minutes prior to dismissal. Why?

4. Speaking of parents: I have seen several Facebook postings this year by adolescent girls in which they share a provocative selfie with the caption, “Am I pretty?” Or, “Do you like my new look?” Even if your daughter resembles Beyoncé, such postings are going to elicit a rude response from some jerk somewhere. Advise kids not to fish for affirmation online. They are fishing in polluted waters.

5. This last beef comes from a private elementary school parent who emailed me. “I just left the school award ceremony where the same 15 students from last year won all the awards again this year. Why invite all the parents to celebrate the same few kids every dang year?”

I concur. If schools want an end-of-the-year celebration, why not hold a cookout or movie-on-the-green so everyone enjoys the day.

Reader Comments 0

23 comments
Wascatlady
Wascatlady

Maureen, we figured out you were on vay-cay.


If I saw the same 15 students each year, and they were not mine, I would be in a hip and a hurry to correct that by lighting a fire under mine.  But, you'd think these private schools would know how upset parents get when their snowflake is overlooked!  In my school a special invitation goes out to  parents whose children are getting an award.


On emails, I virtually never got any.  The kids I taught were unlikely to be able to afford a computer in the home.  The teachers I know who had the "Ritzy" kids sure got some, and boy, those parents expected an answer immediately (never mind that you are supposed to be teaching the class).



Astropig
Astropig

“I just left the school award ceremony where the same 15 students from last year won all the awards again this year. Why invite all the parents to celebrate the same few kids every dang year?”


Better get used to it, Hoss. Those kids will someday be your kids (or your) boss.

Mandella88
Mandella88

Since they weren't identified by name, who wants to bet that it was City Schools of Decatur showing the movies as filler during instructional time?

AvgGeorgian
AvgGeorgian

@Mandella88


"Objection, your Honor, the question calls for speculation." Please wait for the blog title "Random Hunches, Guesses, and other Conjecture AKA Pin the Misdeed on the School District".

MaureenDowney
MaureenDowney moderator

@Mandella88 Decatur shows movies, but so does every other district. I was talking to after-school arts group earlier this year made up of kids from across metro and every one reported seeing movies in class. And many of them reported seeing the same movies. 

My nieces and nephews go to a top private in another state and they earn "points" to watch movies on Fridays. The portability of movies today makes it easy to show movies, but I wonder if schools are keeping tabs on how often movies are happening and whether kids get anything out of them.

This is a good  piece on the benefits and drawbacks to movies in class.


http://712educators.about.com/od/curriculumandlessonplans/a/Pros-And-Cons-Of-Using-Movies-In-Class.htm


Mandella88
Mandella88

@MaureenDowney @Mandella88

Understood; however, I do believe that you have a tendency to focus on any negativity in certain districts and disregard it in others (like your own school system).  I bring this point up because you have proven mine: good and bad happen in all districts in equitable amounts, but some are better at controlling its release than others.

newsphile
newsphile

To the parent whose child was not recognized at the awards ceremony:  Happiness from being recognized by others is a fleeting moment.  Joy from knowing you did the very best job you could do is lasting.  Encourage your child to be the best he/she can be and witness genuine self esteem.

We give awards for breathing, believing every child will develop healthy self-esteem if given praise and awards, and it has done the opposite, producing an insecure generation of children.  Children are bright and, unless they are spoiled rotten, know deep down inside that not everything they do is worthy of special recognition and praise. 

Gwinnetting
Gwinnetting

Hollywood is a virtual liberal ideology pump, whose sole purpose (beyond inundating us with Kardashian noise) is promulgating anti-traditional viewpoints.

That's what's behind most movies in the classroom.

Quidocetdiscit
Quidocetdiscit

@Gwinnetting


I am sorry. That was rude.  I should not have left it at that...it's just that, although I do not necessarily approve of showing movies in class, I know it happens sometimes.  However, of all the reasons I have heard for showing a movie during class time, a wish to "promulgate anti-traditional values" has NEVER been one of them.

Gwinnetting
Gwinnetting

@Quidocetdiscit 

Spoken as a true liberal. But every parent or teacher with traditional beliefs knows exactly what I speak of.

You're welcome not to.

popacorn
popacorn

@Quidocetdiscit

'...a wish to "promulgate anti-traditional values" has NEVER been one of them.'

Maybe because most teachers don't know the meaning of the word 'promulgate'?

taylor48
taylor48

@Gwinnetting Sorry, it's not nearly as insidious as that.  Usually, I show a movie during our recess time.  Mostly Disney.  While I'd love to allow the kids to get some activity on a rainy day, that's a little difficult with 28 second graders in a single classroom.  I apologize if "Aladdin" offended your sensibilities.

Quidocetdiscit
Quidocetdiscit

@taylor48 @Gwinnetting


Yes, I am not sure how "Mulan" or "Space Buddies" or "Happy Feet" "promulgate anti-traditional values"...then again, Mulan has that whole cross dressing thing going on, and Happy Feet could be seen as promoting the idea of "climate change" and I suppose "Space Buddies" could been seen as advocating for animal rights or something???

Happy Hippie
Happy Hippie

@taylor48 @Gwinnetting  Please just stop with showing movies in school - even if it is just at recess and only at the elementary school level. For one thing, with all of the fantastic educational (and very entertaining) shows out there, why the heck are you showing a Disney movie? Why even a movie? Is recess 90 minutes long? Also, with all the news and studies about limiting screen time for kids, please don't add to it with Disney movies at school. My kids EARN their screen time and it's very limited.

And last but not least, it's illegal. A film can be shown at school without a license or permission under Section 110(1) of Title 17 of the United States Code if it is directly related to current curriculum. But for entertainment, including during recess or club times, proper licensing applies, and you personally, your principal, your superintendent, and your district could face hefty fines or a lawsuit.

BG927
BG927

Not excusing a teacher's lack of timeliness, however there are several possibilities about how an email can go unanswered.

First, the email address may be incorrect: when I first started, my school email was my ID number@mydistrict.com - very easy to make a mistake. Then it changed to firstname.last@district. Well, I have a challenging name to spell. We also have people in the district with the same name, such as Joe Smith. So my district adds numbers to their name - also very easy to make a mistake.

Second, the district's spam email filter may catch your email, especially if you use Hotmail or yahoo. Even if you check your spam filter, it's easy to miss the diamond amongst the abundant coal.

Finally, the response email may end up caught in the recipient's junk email folder, especially if the parent is emailing from a work address.

I would imagine that most districts have a communication policy. My school's policy is that emails should be responded to in 24 hours, not including the weekend. So an email sent Saturday may not be responded to until Tuesday morning and that would be within the guidelines.

Thank you, Maureen, for mentioning how easy it is to get behind on emails. I, like most teachers, check my email in the morning before school, during planning, and usually after school before I leave. If I'm actively teaching, then I'm not at my desk responding to emails when they come in. I may or may not check in the evening or on weekends. I'm pretty good about it - it's actually something parents have complimented me on; but I've occasionally had times when the email went unanswered past 24 hours.

One final thought: let the teacher know you want a response! I have parents email me information, but it's not clear what they want from me - and no, it's not always obvious. I'll usually shoot back a "thank you for letting me know" if time permits.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

Want to know how to make education of our young people more meaningful?  Find a video, later, of President Obama's just delivered eulogy to Beau Biden, and of how well he led his short life, and you will have your answers.

redweather
redweather

This last beef comes from a private elementary school parent who emailed me. “I just left the school award ceremony where the same 15 students from last year won all the awards again this year. Why invite all the parents to celebrate the same few kids every dang year?”


Better yet, why not encourage your child to break into that elite group of fifteen by hitting the books a little harder and/or more often?