Should I talk to the teacher or principal? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 15 Old 02-28-2003, 10:38 PM - Thread Starter
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My dd watches "Berenstein Bears" almost every day during Kindergarten. As far as I can assess, this has no educational value at all. Should I discuss this with the teacher first, or go straight to complaining to the principal?
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#2 of 15 Old 02-28-2003, 11:10 PM
 
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I would talk to the teacher about your concern. It is always good to have a decent relationship with your child's teacher, and going over her head doesn't really contribute to that.

I would be irritated if my child was plopped in front of a TV every morning at school too though. 'specially if he was in a half day kindergarten class. Why can't the teacher fill less than 3 hours of time with constructive activity?
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#3 of 15 Old 03-01-2003, 12:08 AM
 
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Discuss your concern w/ the teacher first. As a former teacher, I use to hate when parents would go directly to my principal before approaching me.

I can tell you a few things that will/could happen if you go to the principal w/o consulting your teacher. 1st principals will say anything to make a parent happy. Sometimes they will make educational changes w/o even informing the teacher of those changes. This situation has not only happened to me several times w/ 2 different principals but to other teacher friends as well. 2nd the principal isn't in that room everyday! He/she will have no clue (okay little clue) of the situation at hand. Also, he/she can't convey your disdan of the teacher's instruction as well as you can. It always comes better from the parent, honestly! 3rd you will in some hurt any relationship you have w/ that teacher. I'm not saying all teachers do this but in a way it does make you feel like you're not important if one thing goes wrong and the first thing a parent does is go to the principal. You want an open communitcation b/w you and the teacher. You don't want anything for any reason destorying it. Relay to her your up most feelings for not watching tv. Bring in studies or information--don't criticize. Work w/ the teacher, as her why she does this. Give her a week to make changes. I know that sounds long, but give her time to adjust to a new plan and routine. I say if nothing comes of your concerned efforts after one more talk, then go to the principal.

One last thing---document exactly what you say and what she says. Teachers do this all the time to keep accurate records of conversations w/ parents, you should do the same.

HTH!
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#4 of 15 Old 03-01-2003, 01:30 AM
 
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I hate the bernstain bears!! And TV everyday at school!! Holy cow.

I would first talk to the teacher and then if nothing improved go to the principle. i would let her know you plan to do this. Somehow I think talking to the teacher isn't going to help much but that is definitely where you should start.

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#5 of 15 Old 03-01-2003, 02:41 PM
 
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please, please talk to the teacher and maybe this is part of a lesson plan... i don't know... but please find out
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#6 of 15 Old 03-01-2003, 03:35 PM
 
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I agree-talk to the teacher!!!!
Is it half day? We're all full day Kinders here now. Is it the full half hour show? During class time? Could it poss. be that they're watchign it during indoor recess as one of many activities? Maybe just 5 mins./day as some kind of reward?
Weird. I show a half hour Discovery Channel video every 2 months after they earn a "popcorn party" based on good behavior. This is a HUGE reward for them.

I find it really hard to believe they really watch a whole show every day. If that's the truth, though, you should be concerned. BUT, then again, MANY folks believe that the sole focus of Kinder. is social and that we're doing a disservice to these kids by intro. academics. Maybe she just leans to the side that kinder. is just a place to playplayplay. Please let us know what you hear

T My class of kinders are writing sentences independently and can easily add/subtract up to 10. And, they still have tons of fun in class.
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#7 of 15 Old 03-01-2003, 06:40 PM - Thread Starter
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It's just half day. (2 1/2 hours, and that includes a recess.) Besides watching TV and other non-educational videos, they have taken the WHOLE YEAR so far to learn the alphabet. Which my daughter already knew. My daughter is reading at a 4th grade level (no thanks to the teacher) and she is BORED out of her mind.

The other day she told us we're going to have to find another school for her because she will NOT go back to that elem. next year. (She's quite outspoken, too.) We're trying to get her into a private school.

I've talked to her teacher before and he seems really burned out. (But I haven't talked to him about this issue yet.) I'm not sure I can be nice enough. I might have to let dh do the talking.
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#8 of 15 Old 03-01-2003, 08:47 PM
 
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hmmmm...ask him about the K curriculum. Benchmarks. State and district standards. How is he addressing the reading/writing standards? Ask him for a copy of them. Ask innocently and see if he blows you off.
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#9 of 15 Old 03-01-2003, 11:37 PM
 
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I agree with others about going to the teacher first, though by your description it might not be helpful. It's true that even in k-garten there is a curriculum. If you talk with him about this and he is not able to answer how he has helped the children meet the curriculum goals, then you have more evidence to support yourself with when you go to the principal (instead of being viewed simply as a TV bashing mom). I think it makes sense to be prepared for how he will justify the use of the berenstain bears show. I have never seen the show, but I've read all the books with my kids and they each have a theme that has to do with a socialization concern (perhaps you already know this)--bullying, sharing, "gimmies," lying, etc. My guess is that the justification is likely to be that this show is teaching valuable social skills in an engaging format. If you have watched the show and you know this not to be true, then you can defend a position. If you have never watched the show, it seems worth your while to watch a few of them and see whether you can find ANY value in them. Then you can argue with more direct information--is it this particular show that bothers you, the use of any TV at all in school that is the issue, or the fact that with such a short day the teacher is using a medium that you find irresponsible or "lazy." My sense is that clarifying your own objection will probably help you know who to go to and with what "argument."

 
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#10 of 15 Old 03-02-2003, 10:22 AM
 
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#11 of 15 Old 03-05-2003, 12:19 AM
 
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Wow!
I am so shocked by all of this tv in school! Is this normal for many public schools? My dd is in a private -all play kindergarten right now, but I can't afford it after this year and am afraid for the future.
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#12 of 15 Old 03-06-2003, 12:14 AM
 
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As I have mentioned in DD's old private Catholic school, the ywatcheda MOVIE almsot daily-SHUT UP time I call it. But the struggling kids sat inanother room and were forced to work alone with no help. Now she is in a public school where tv is a rarity...
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#13 of 15 Old 03-06-2003, 11:42 AM
 
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I'm amazed at this. My dd is in half day kindergarten this year in public school. The kindergarteners are all expected to be able to read, tell time, make change and a whole bunch of other things by the end of the year. They to spread the alphabet over the year in terms of having a special week to focus on the letter and do show and tell based on it, but they were expected to know the alphabet before school started. We are in a very academically oriented district though.

I would definitely talk to the teacher about this. If you don't get satisfaction then go to the principal. Half day kindergarten barely gets them time to do anything significant in the first place, once you deduct snack time, putting on/taking off coats, etc. They certainly should have plenty of educational activities to take up the paltry two and a half hours they are there without resorting to time-wasting (and mind numbing) videos. My dd never watches videos at school unless they are educational and correspond to the unit they are doing, and even then it is very rare.
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#14 of 15 Old 03-06-2003, 03:46 PM
 
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I am so shocked by all of this tv in school! Is this normal for many public schools?
It's certainly not unusual, but it doesn't happen in every school. When I was in elementary school (1980s) each grade had a two-hour period per week when they would watch films one after another; these were "educational" films, e.g. singing cartoons about safety rules, food groups, etc., and "the excitement of drilling in the North Sea" produced by local petroleum co., but they rarely presented material we hadn't covered in class, and we saw most of the films at least twice a year each. In jr high we watched only a few films per year. But then the schools got a grant and bought a bunch of video systems, and suddenly we were watching a lot of feature films and taped TV, much of it only tangentially related to the curriculum. 20 hours of my Advanced Placement English Literature class were spent watching film versions of all the books we read in class, plus several that we didn't read, plus Monty Python and the Holy Grail. My biology teacher showed Faces of Death for no apparent reason. Etc.

But when I described this to my peers in college, many of them found it shocking and weird. They hadn't seen nearly so many films or videos in their schools--and many of them went to schools that in other ways wouldn't be considered any better than mine. So it definitely varies.

I'm less attuned to what goes on in schools now, but when my Girl Scouts talk about school they rarely mention videos.

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#15 of 15 Old 03-06-2003, 05:00 PM
 
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I'm a teacher, too, and I say talk to the teacher first. I don't see any reason to ever go directly to a principal unless it is about some issue that does not really involve the teacher at all. You can always see how the meeting with the teacher goes and if you are not satistfied, let her know that you plan to discuss this with the principal. Teachers really need feedback from parents. I always felt my greatest successes were with students whose parents reciprocated my efforts to have a solid home/school connection.

That aside, I can't believe that kindergarteners are being shown a tv program every day in school! Well, actually I CAN beleive it - I worked in a school once that showed movies every day after lunchtime during the bad-weather months...Jurassic Park was one that my third-graders once saw. Unless a particular program is being shown for educational purposes (I would often borrow videos from the library to enhance a unit I was teaching, but I probably did this less than ten times the entire year), tv does not belong in the regular classroom schedule. Even if they were watching a quality show, it's still inappropriate! Kids in school need to DO, not WATCH.
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