Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Ah... the Mornings... Land of Conflicts

I have a difficult relationship with our current school system. I really don't think it's working.

Had a little run in with my sixth-grader's teacher this morning. I'm thinking of emailing her, but I can tell that my tone is still too snippy. I'm still too frustrated and angry to be sincere.

Look, I know teaching is a hard job. I know that teachers are out there giving it their best and that they are up against a lot of daunting challenges day to day. But they just have so much power over our lives. More power than they realize, since the force of law is literally behind them, and since their judgments potentially have so much influence over any one child's future.

I just hate that. No institution should have that much power over an individual's life. So underneath the caring and the niceness and the good work of learning, that is the harsh fact that rubs me raw.

Basic problem is that B is tired in the morning. School starts too damn early. There's no viable reason why children need to be up and out and learning before 8:00 am. In my opinion, 10:00 am is much more reasonable. No matter how we try, it is impossible to get to bed in time for the ten or so hours of sleep that an adolescent requires.

So, in the morning, B won't eat. There's a hot breakfast sitting there, and she'll just pass it by. She's not hungry, and she's rushed. But, later, she is hungry. And then I'm sure she can't concentrate. I'm sure she gets headaches and hunger pangs. And not having the right energy at the right time can wreak havoc with her immune system, hormones, and mood. So it sets her off on a bad cycle, that perpetuates itself.

Today, I made her a poptart. Not the best food, but easy and appealing to eat. It was organic, at least, and chemical free. She refused to eat it at home, I brought it in the car, she didn't eat it there, I told her to take it with her and eat while she walked to class. She left it behind.

I parked the car, grabbed it, and followed her all the way to her classroom. Class was just starting. I told the teacher that she had been too tired to eat and asked if she could just eat very quickly right now. I mean, I just wanted her to take two or three bites. How long does that take? 15 seconds? a minute? Literally, one minute to create better health and learning. I asked if she could eat it there or if I had to take her home. And the teacher said, She can't eat in class. Just sticking to the rules without really evaluating the situation. Sort of horrified.

So, I took her out of class. And took her home.

B was mortified in front of all her classmates. She missed all the initial morning work and turning in assignments. She had to ride back home, pick up J, ride to J's school to drop her off, and ride back to school. I had to park again, walk her into the office, and clear her tardiness for a health-reason. Something that could have taken 30 seconds took 15 minutes.

But... she ate.

And I made my point about what really matters the most.

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