August 20, 2009

First Grade Orientation - Frustration

Tonight was the First Grade Orientation for the Princess Nagger. We got to meet her first grade teacher, see what classroom she'll be in this year, and see what kids will be in her class. Sort of.

I had visions of it being fun or exciting like last year's orientation was - you know, the teacher interacting with the students, getting them all excited to start next week. Boy, was I wrong. Apparently my expectations were set high based on last year's experience.

The letter Princess Nagger's Kindergarten teacher sent during the summer 'inviting' each of her students (and their parents) to orientation was warm and inviting - and personalized. When we went to orientation the teacher was full of life, interacted with each and every child that would be in her class, and even made us parents feel welcome and excited our child was going to have the best educational experience ever. And have fun. Her kindergarten teacher was even dressed in a fun costume that reminded me of Glenda from the Wizard of Oz.
She gave out princess wands to the girls, and prince wands to the boys, created an interactive 'scavenger hunt' for them to locate their seats, their cubby's and familiarize themselves with their classroom. Orientation for Kindergarten was like a big party. It was lots of fun for the kids and parents alike. It put the kids minds at ease about starting school. It put the parents minds at ease knowing their kids were actually going to enjoy their school experience.

Boy, were we sorely disappointed by the First Grade Orientation.

The teacher didn't acknowledge ANY of the kids at all - never spoke to any of them, had them sit in their seats and directed all her comments to the parents, telling us to fill out a couple of forms before we would be 'allowed' to leave. Once it looked like everyone was there (there were a few kids/parents missing from orientation), she sent the kids off to the cafeteria to do 'something' so she could go over the 'boring stuff', as she called it, with the parents. PN was scared and didn't want to go, so I let her sit next to me. The teacher didn't make sure all the kids were feeling welcome, and wasn't even the one to have the kids line up...I tried to get her attention before the kids left, figuring she'd give PN peace of mind that she'd have fun doing whatever it was they were going to do. No such luck.

Then she proceeded, for the next HOUR, to READ every stinkin' page of the folder she was sending home with us tonight TO us.

In fact, she mentioned a lot of the stuff the kids will be learning in First Grade that had me looking over at my hubby and muttering "Isn't this the same school from last year? Didn't she learn all that stuff in Kindergarten?" The main emphasis? "They're going to learn how to read and write this year!" Um, OK....are there kids from Kindergarten that didn't learn that? PN already knew how to read and write before she went to Kindergarten, and improved on sentence structure and knows how to use consonance and punctuation and all that. And she reads a minimum of 'Level 4' books - they'll be starting off on the basics and progressing from there.

I'm afraid PN is going to HATE school from the start with this teacher. She has NO personality, NO warmth, NO passion. She mentioned she's been teaching 1st grade for 12 years - I think she's burned out. She even made a comment that she and her hubby don't have kids, because, and I quote: "After dealing with all these kids during the day, there's no way I'd want my own."

Crap.

That gives me the impression that she doesn't really like kids, but she's been teaching them for 12 years. Both hubby and I were talking about it (without PN in the room, of course), and we both had the same impression of her. She reminds me of the horrible history teacher I had in high school that I learned nothing from.

I don't know if I should call the school and see if there's any chance of getting PN put into a different classroom, or just sit back and deal with the fall out that will happen...and I don't want to be one of THOSE parents, either...you know the kind.

I feel bad for PN - she had such a wonderful experience last year, because her teacher was AWESOME. It's too bad there isn't some prerequisite that you have to be a fun teacher to teach elementary kids...or any age for that matter.

What are your thoughts? It REALLY bugs me that this teacher pretty much dismissed her students before even really meeting them. No interaction, no warm friendly smile - she acted as if the kids in the room were a major inconvenience.
I've got knots in my stomach FOR Princess Nagger for next week. UGH!

29 Random Sassy Comments:

blueviolet said...

Well, you know my thoughts on this but I just had to comment anyway. Big hugs to you and PN!

Unknown Mami said...

I say call. I mean if both you and your husband had the same reaction. Don't tell PN that you are calling, but why not see what can be done. Normally, I wouldn't be one of those parents, but she sounds like a total bummer.

Tammy Howard said...

I'm not 'one of those parents' either, but you don't want her passion for learning to be squelched in the first grade! I'd call the principal and express my concerns.

Nicolasa said...

Wow, that is just so sad. I can't believe the comments she made! And you have to wonder... if she STARTS the school year like this how in the world is it going to get any better?
Usually (as a teacher) I get annoyed when parents make phone calls asking for a transfer because the reasons in my district often turn out to be lame ones- like my child NEEDS to be with a certain kid--get over it, they will make friends and need to learn to grow on their own (sounds mean, but its true!). After reading this, I can say this is not a lame reason to call. I say call, see what they say, and go from there.
Good luck! Keep us posted!

Nicolasa said...

Stacy- I responded to your questions -in the comment you let on my blog- on my blog.

Jenn@ The Crazies said...

I would atleast call and let the admin know that you were less than impressed... maybe she was having an off night or maybe she is like this all the time but I would say something!

Tami said...

Sadly this is what our educational system is coming to.

Boy oooh boy.

I'm keepin PN in my prayers

Brian Miller said...

we had 1st grade orientation today too for Logan...his teacher has a guinea pig in the room...which he found fascinating. i would too. i never would have paid attention.

our bad experience came in Kgarten...i dont even think she liked children...by the end of the year she did not like me either...i dunno.

Martha in PA said...

I'm sorry it was not a good experience. We had a year like that too, and my impression of the teacher didn't change! I didn't want to be one of those parents either, but in retrospect, I wish I had been!

I hope everything works out for the best for PN.

Heather, aka Jake's Mommy said...

OH booo!! Early education teachers are supposed to be full of life and fun and wonder!! Good luck to PN and we'll all be cheering her on through the first grade and in her endeavors with the wicked witch of the west, er, first grade!

Firefly@www.firefly-shop.org said...

Hugs to both of you! Hope everything goes well for PN!

Lindy said...

I'm sure a lot of the other parents felt the same way and hopefully enough calls to her principal will change her ways. Sounds like this woman needs to take a break from teaching or find a new profession. Don't let her start out like this or you may be in for a long school year. Good luck!

Pastor Sharon said...

I'm speaking up! Children are to be heard, AND seen, AND believed! PERIOD!

Call the school, get her switched to another class.

I am not the Mom who thought my son was the best in class, we didn't act like we were above anyone. AND. . . . if this is any indication of how she will be in front of you, my question is: What the heck is she going to act like when you aren't there?

NEXT: This should be an adventure in learning! If she leaves school and goes home because she doesn't want to be around children, there is a difference and burn out and maybe she needs to be in another older grade!

I'm not a school teacher. I a MOM. And from my experience, sitting back and observing, you gotta pick your battles. This might be one to choose.

Ice Queen said...

I've heard of schools switching teacher's grades so that they don't get too comfortable or bored with the material of a certain level. This sounds terrible. Chances are you're not the only ones who felt this way about the teacher so asking to get her switched might not help.

On the bright side, maybe a tougher teacher will be more able to challenge her academically. I hope things work out.

Mommy Jamie said...

Oh dear! I am for saying something. What can it hurt, and it might help.
Of course, I'm one of those homeschooling moms, so if there is a problem with my kids' teacher, well...

cherie said...

well, i LOVE my son's first grade teacher - we had the open house today, and she was as warm as can be...sorry for the bad and sad experience... i'm sure princess will have a good time when school starts..

Yaya said...

Oh yuck. I would totally try to get her classroom changed.

otin said...

You went from the good witch to the wicked witch of the east! Maybe a house will land on her! :)

Mummy McTavish said...

WHAT? I thought there was some rule that grade 1 teachers HAD to be super cool and fun to be around and had the parents worried that their kids would have TOO MUCH fun in that class... not the other way round!

I'd call and let the school know what you thought of orientation at least, even if you decide not to ask for a change of class.

Margaret said...

Call, it will save a lot of headaches down the road. I didn't and my daughter basically repeated Kindergarten in first grade. Luckily she had some advanced work that I could give her at home!

Hit 40 said...

I liked your idea in the email to call and feel the principal out if maybe you had a bad first impression. Flatter the principal first with how fabulous their school is and how wonderful the kindergarten teacher was last year. Tell the principal that you do not want to rush to judgment.

Megan said...

Wow, she sounds like a ball of fun. What a bummer! If there's an option for her to be in another class, I think I'd totally call and see about getting her switched. If she's going to be miserable all year, that means that you'll be miserable all year and that's certainly not something to look forward to. Good luck!!

Mrs4444 said...

Oh, no! Well, we all can name a drag of a teacher that we had, and most of us survived, but jeez. Do they have a Gifted and Talented program? I think it's fair to ask the teacher how she is going to challenge your daughter, given her current skill level. I asked that once and got a dumb look. Keep pushing (politely), and hopefully, you'll get results.

Jenners said...

Oh My God ... this is my worst nightmare as a parent. I would be so upset. I wish I could give you some advice but I don't really have any other than trust your instincts and do what is best for your daughter. I can't imagine rocking the boat a little to get her somewhere better would hurt ... it doesn't sound like this teacher could get worse. I'm so so sorry you are going through this. Awful.

kyooty said...

I don't know how to react! I'm shocked that she would be so "rude" really. It's bordered on Rude, and mean!
how many kids are in the class? Maybe she's trying to get a smaller class size?

Mary Ellen said...

I think you could definitely give it a try with the school - getting her switched. It's a bummer when the teacher doesn't 'mesh' with your child (or any child, with this one).

That being said, having lived through two kids in elementary, middle and high school (my youngest is a senior this year) I want you to know that you shouldn't panic. My kids have had teachers who seemed horrible at first (sometimes only to me, or only to them) that turned out fine. One of the "meanest teachers I've ever met" turned out to be my older son's biggest supporter in elementary school.

I agree that it should be a requirement for early elementary teachers to be fun, but I found that my kids adapted and learned from most of their teachers. When they had issues, I volunteered the heck out of the classroom whenever possible. Cranky teachers tend to be less cranky with mommy's evil eye on them, it turns out.

Banteringblonde said...

Kids don't always pick up on the same things that parents do but I totally understand your concern. I'm sure that no matter what you decide to do it will all be fine.

Jennifer-EightyMPHMom said...

Oh and UGH. I feel for you - I know just the type. Some teachers seem so disinterested and it is heartbreaking to think that your child will be stuck with them. I mean if a teacher can make an adult feel that way, imagine how the child will feel. I would try to get her switched ASAP. Hopefully they can. If not, I guess see how it goes and if it isn't going well, band together with a few other parents and get their thoughts. If necessary, a talk with the principal might be in order.

I don't think people who have those thoughts about children have any business being teachers....I am so sorry!

Casey said...

Is this a new teacher? It sounds like she doesn't really know what she's doing yet... I wonder if this was her first year and she's nervous?!?