Thursday, September 06, 2007

Is there any doubt they think I'm totally annoying?

Dear Mr. Principal:

I'm a little confused about what's going on in Mr. CreepyDude's class.

On the second day of school, Z. came home and announced that she needed a dictionary and index cards. She was extremely unhappy when I told her that these items would have to wait until the weekend. I was even more unhappy when, after purchasing what I thought was an appropriate dictionary, Z. returned home the following week and told me that she needed a different dictionary.

If the dictionary is an important item -- and I am a freelance writer, so I certainly understand the need for a good dictionary -- then why was it not included on the supply list sent home over the summer? And if a teacher wants the students to have a specific dictionary, why not let us know that in advance? For that matter, why not also include the index cards on the supply list, rather than force busy parents to run around buying more supplies after the start of the school year?

When Z. began writing in her assigned home journal, she told us that Mr. CreepyDude had told the class that they did not have to show their parents what was written. Again, I'm a writer. I understand the need for journaling, but to tell my eight-year-old daughter that she can hide information from me is completely inappropriate.

Last week, Z. mentioned a book report. She had no idea when it was due, and I never saw any written information about it. We insisted that she complete it over the weekend, and she insisted equally strongly that it had to be completed in ink, much to our chagrin. When I tell you that Z. recopied that report fifteen times, I am not exaggerating.

This brings us to last evening.

I have seen several emails from Mr. CreepyDude indicating reading homework in a practice book, but I have never seen this book come home. I also do not see any indication of these assignments in Z's planner. Yesterday Z. and the students we called said the reading was completed in class. Some students spoke of a social studies assignment, but that was not mentioned via Edline or in the planner.

(I am also confused as to why Mr. CreepyDude sends email rather than posting via Edline. I think the students benefit GREATLY from copying the assignment information in their planners, which is not happening in Mr. CreepyDude's class from what I can tell. I don't need additional email from teachers each day -- I much prefer to see all the assignments for all my children listed in a single place, as intended by the Edline system.)

Z. did have her vocabulary sheet, and she told us that her work needed to be done in blue or black ink. Z's supply list did not include pens (other than a red pen), so our homework supply box is stocked with a selection of pencils and erasers. Z's father and I agreed that she would do her assignment in pencil, enabling her to erase her mistakes rather than rewrite everything a dozen times. If there is a pen only rule, that should be communicated clearly to parents.

Yesterday's assignment also included choosing "your narrative topic," but again, I don't know anything about the assignment in question.

Z. is 8 years old. Although we are working with her on being more responsible, I rely on Edline to check up on whether she is communicating (and completing) her assignments accurately. If teachers do not take advantage of this system, how can I stay involved in my children's studies?

I thank you for your time and attention in advance.



In his reply, the principal misspelled my name (even though my email address IS my name) and suggested that we all sit down and talk about the problem. I think he may hate me, which is a shame, because I actually really like him a lot. The principal, not Mr. CreepyDude. He's just weird. And SERIOUSLY creepy. I mean, what kind of person tells THIRD GRADERS, "Hey, this journal is a secret for you and me."????


Mary P Jones (MPJ) said...

Well, let them think you're annoying. You're doing the school and teacher a favor if you get them to communicate better with parents!

winslow1204 said...

Awesome letter!! You tell him what is what:)

TNMomof5 said...

You have many EXCELLENT points. I'll be interested in hearing the outcome of all this...

Sunshine Morningstar said...

My mom always says to me, "The squeaky wheel gets the grease!" So if you're going to become annoying, do so with gusto! Your letter brings up valid concerns that need to be addressed. I hope the principal doesn't disappoint.

And uh, secret journal...sure, but secret between student and teacher? Um, no!

I enjoy your blog :)