Over the 4th of July my family and I went to a BBQ at a friend's house. At the party there were two other teachers. Soon, as we began to talk about schools, kids, and teaching, a couple of things happened.
First of all, as we discussed these various topics, I noticed that they inevitably began to break out in abbreviations specific to teaching. My husband just sat there with a blank look on his face with the occasional glance my directions to guage whether I knew what they were talking about. It doesn't seem to be good manners to do this in mixed company but teachers are no exception to this exclusive lingo and are just as guilty of using abbreviations and leaving innocent by-standers in the dust.
They mentioned EFL, ESL, ADHD, ADD, EBD, TOEFL, TESOL, and IDEA, which just stand for things that most people have heard of before but are not surrounded with on a daily basis that they have to resort to the use of abbreviations. Okay, that is just one thing about our conversation that I was going to mention, just an observation really. Teachers are not immune from bad habits. The other discussions that we had I feel more strongly about.
One lady there had just received her first teaching job for the coming fall and asked me what I was doing. I told her that I was going to home school my boys. She rolled her eyes and then proceeded to tell me all about how she could never do that. Her children would never listen to her and accept her in that role as teacher. I should mention at this point that every time one of her three children approached her she would immediately say, "Go away, this is the adult area." They would try to tell her something and she would dismiss them and repeat her mantra. However, every time she wanted a refill on her wine glass, she would quickly summon her oldest daughter and remind her to "fill'er up!" So, on that basis alone I would have to whole heartily agree with her about choosing not to home school her children. Although, I would beg to differ with her about her ability to teach her children. Whether she realizes it or not, good or bad, she is teaching her children.
This teacher then began discussing her new job and that it was working with special-ed preschoolers. She said she had shared with the principal at the school that she had mostly worked with intermediate grades in her student teaching experience. She explained a little bit of her "no-nonsense" approach to him and she said that he told her not to change a single thing in her teaching style. His thought was that these students will need to learn how to behave in a strict and highly structured classroom setting eventually and this was a great time to start that process. She continued on about the reading programs that she was going to use and how she spent an entire week coloring pictures for folder activities. My first thought was, "Oh, those poor kids." My heart was breaking for the possible (ineviteable) frustration that they and she would likely experience. Then I had to consider that it is her first year teaching and hope that she soon realizes that she needs to find out where her students are developmentally to ensure that her expectations are age and ability appropriate.
I left the party shaking my head thinking about how often times parents are unable to choose one teacher over the other and knowing that teachers are not all equal. Sometimes, (I'm guilty of this), we tell ourselves and our child that we just need to get through the school year, that we'll survive it together. The idea that a child would be handed over to someone who had their own agenda in mind without considering the child's needs first for their growth and learning was a sad thought and only reinforced my decision to home school my boys.