Thursday, September 17, 2009

No Time for Butterflies

Something has been weighing on me this week: our decision to send our eldest to public school first grade. She seems happy enough -- she is making friends and doing well in class. But the chaffing against rules has begun. This week (her 3rd back from break) there has been lots of complaints: that they can't take their shoes off, that they can only drink water after recess, that they can't talk ever, at all, that there isn't enough time for lunch, that they can't go to the bathroom after coming in from lunch. Now some of these complaints are suspect (really, you can't go to the bathroom?) And I know a lot of the reason for some of these rules are because there are 31 children in the class. It is a lot to manage.

But managing seems to have become a big part of teaching first grade. Her teachers seem to do a great job managing to get through the day. With the requirements put on them for testing and more testing (in 1st grade!), new daily initiatives involving the children from all the first grades being taught by reading level (sounds admirable, but a logistical
nightmare), and so many more data-driven teaching tools, there seems hardly any time for creative learning.

Case in point: I offered to bring in a monarch caterpillar if we find one (you all remember this, right? The cute orange, white and black caterpillar crawls around and eats milkweed, makes lots and lots of poops, and then, magically, makes a chrysalis! And even more magically, for children and adults alike, emerges 10 days later a beautiful butterfly.)

The response -- with
all the requirements, they won't even have time for that this year. No time for butterflies. It makes me want to cry.

1 comment:

  1. I'm horrified. Really. No time for butterflies? Home schooling is looking better and better. Except that then I would be the teacher. And then I would have to have a catepillar in my living room. And we all know how long that catepillar would actually stay in the vessel we put him in--it might not live long enough to turn into a butterfly. Hmmmm....maybe public school isn't so bad afterall. Even without the butterflies.