Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Getting Oriented

Tomorrow is the official start of kindergarten, but today was orientation. I really tried to go in there with a good attitude, but in the end, my cynicism was only strengthened. 

As soon as we arrived, they separated parents and kids, which is okay, except that the kids had to spend an hour in a classroom with a teacher that is NOT their kindergarten teacher, while the parents endured a presentation by the actual kindergarten teacher that could have just as easily been read from the nicely stapled packets we all received. The gist? 
  • Bring a snack -- but under no circumstances should a peanut come into contact with that snack. 
  • Keep your kids home if they're sick -- but you are a negligent parent if you don't send them to school any other day, including if you take them on vacation to Disneyworld. 
  • Bad kids go to the "quiet room" -- you don't want your kid to go there.
  • Your child will have homework every night, which means you will have homework every night because you have to sign off on everything once it's done.
So what can I say? I wasn't impressed. The teacher seems nice enough, but why didn't anyone think to provide a time where the kids could actually meet her? When I went to get the boys from the playroom, Aidan said, "Our teacher wasn't there!" He was (rightly) confused. So I brought them back to the parent-only room to introduce them to their teacher.

I asked their teacher why we haven't received a scrap of information about who Owen's special ed teachers will be. And why weren't any of them there? I know my kid isn't the only one with an IEP - shouldn't this orientation be a little more inclusive? 

As expected, their teacher didn't know anything about it, but she did offer the useful tidbit that the woman in charge of coordinating special ed services at their school had to have surgery and would be out for 4 more weeks. Um, so what does that mean to me? Their teacher guessed that there just wouldn't be any special ed services for 4 weeks (or more)...

So what you are telling me is that my son will have an entire month to settle into the "typical" school routine and then you will begin yanking him out of class to work with teachers he's never met? Brilliant. 

I got home and called the principal to see if he could provide a better answer, but given that it's the first day of school for the rest of the grades, I'm not holding my breath on a call back today. 

I know, it's probably all my fault. I should have called the district back in August when I still hadn't heard anything, but stupid me figured it wouldn't be that big of a deal to simply speak to the teachers at the orientation. I mean, the plan is already documented, all I needed was to meet the people involved. 

Add to all that the fact that they are going to spend next week writing the letter A and learning to read the words I, a, and is, and well, I just don't have a lot of faith. 

And speaking of faith, while we were getting on the school bus that we were all forced to ride around the block (even the kids who aren't going to take the school bus), Aidan pipes up with the question: "Why do all the churches have plus signs on them?" Those are crosses, honey. "What's a cross?" 

And there you have it. Our complete lack of religion exposed before all of my children's would-be friends and their parents. It's not that I'm ashamed that I don't subscribe to organized religion, it's just not a great icebreaker...especially out here in suburbia. 

With this much excitement in a 90-minute orientation, I can only imagine what tomorrow will bring. Here's hoping the kids' enthusiasm eclipses my cynicism. 


Kevin said...

Perhaps you should send them to school tomorrow in their "I LOVE SATAN AND PEANUT BUTTER" t-shirts. That way you can offend the maximum number of parents. And, coach the kids to say stuff like "Mommy thinks teachers get paid too much money" or "Daddy likes to sue people" ~ just so the administrators know who's boss.

KK said...

You should sell those shirts - they'd be a hit across elementary schools everywhere, I'm sure.

Judith U. said...

Hope today is a god, oops, I mean good day. No worries, we're non-church-going, special-ed-teacher-hunting-parents too.

Student of Life said...

Oh, I so understand. We are the godless freaks in the home of Bob Jones University (it's about a mile from our house). We're godless AND we support a DEMOCRAT (gasp) for president. We are going straight to hell. In a handbasket (what is a handbasket, anyway?)