Well as you all know by now school is back in session, and although we parents all breathe a secret sigh of happiness when the school year starts again, we also get a knot in our stomach over what we know is to come.
Let's start with the inevitable class fundraiser, which begins pretty much the moment your child's toe enters the door of the school building on the first day of school. First of all, couldn't these schools get together and find new ways to raise money? If you have more than one kid in the school they both come home with the same fundraising catalog full of Christmas wrapping, chocolates, cute calendars, bows and tape dispensers. It makes it hard to find enough things to buy from both of them, especially considering that most of these companies have a lot of the same items year after year. How many times do I need to buy Christmas Cheese spreaders or Holiday salt and pepper shakers? But of course, I will buy them anyway whether I need them or not, because that old parent guilt will kick in. After all, who wants their child to be the one who didn't raise enough to get a cool prize on the list? Parent peer pressure, what would we do without it?
Now of course comes one of my favorite times of the year, school pictures. As if the costs of these packages full of pictures of your darling little cherub aren't high enough to begin with, over the last few years, the schools have decided to play on the old parent guilt and take pictures not once, but twice a year. But wait, there's more! With these second set of pictures they are really sneaky about them. Instead of telling you in advance about the pictures and when they will be taken, like they do in the beginning on the year, these come in the middle of the year already finished and looking beautiful and sent back home with your child, with their face on bookmarks, magnets stickers and more. As if any parent after seeing these is going to say no to their child, when they ask them if they are going to use the bookmark right away! Please, the school PTA is made up of mothers and fathers, they know exactly what they are doing, when it comes to parental guilt, and secretly I think they enjoy doing it.
Of course on the same lines, again as if these packages aren't expensive enough; now for a few dollars more you can have your child's pictures touched up. Now come on are you kidding me with this? First of all, if we had to live with the way we came out in our school photos, why cant our own kids? Secondly, look, if your kid is so ugly you want to touch up his or her elementary photographs, I suggest you save the money for plastic surgery later on in life, or better yet, leave the pictures alone. If they really need that much touching up at such a young age, you better allow them as much time in life to get used to the fact that their face is their face.
We all talk about body image and not letting children think they are ugly, or fat, or skinny, because that will hurt their self-esteem. Well, excuse me but what kind of message do you think it sends to a child when his or her own parents are having their elementary school pictures touched up? Oh honey look how cute you are, now that the digital editing machine had a whack at you? Come on, give me a break, these kids aren't going on the cover of the JCPenney Christmas Catalog, and even if they were so what, kids should look the way they look naturally. What happened to parents who thought their kid was the cutest in the world, even when he wasn't? It is bad enough when we get older we start to look at every wrinkle, imperfection and blemish, now we want to start our kids off thinking about that stuff even earlier than they already do? Let kids be kids and leave the school pictures untouched.
Now of course another one of my favorite things about school starting, and believe me I wish you could hear the sarcasm dripping from my fingertips as I wrote that sentence, would of course be how nowadays these new young teachers (who by the way have no children of their own yet) want your child to be responsible for telling you everything on their own. This one gets me every time. Did the people who came up with this idea ever have children? With my daughter, I really didn't have many issues, sometimes she forgot to tell me something here and there, maybe forgot to write down the homework, but nothing too major. With my son, sometimes you are lucky he remembers he was there at all!!
Who are these teachers that think leaving it up to a child of any age in school to tell their parents when they have tests, or homework, or god forbid detention? Were they ever children themselves? If my teachers had left it up to me to tell my parents about these things, my parents would have never even found out what school I attended from me, let alone when I was failing, missing homework, serving detention etc. etc. I would have been ecstatic, that's like an invitation to get in trouble! Some of these young teachers today really have no idea what it is like to live with children on a daily basis. Sometimes, as we parents know, you are lucky if your child speaks to you at all (depending on their age) when they get home from school, let alone volunteer information that may or may not get them in trouble. Here is my piece of advice for those teachers who think this new rule works; Kids don't work well on the honor system as a rule, and when you are surprised that the parents aren't being told the things you are passing on to them through the students in your class, I swear I will try not to laugh in your face.