We had our Memorial Day program at school today. It's a day that is filled with activities and assemblies for the students to learn about the significance and to commemorate Memorial Day. The students do patriotic themed crafts, participate in a sing-a-long, go to gym boot camp, package treats to send to our servicemen, visit a museum of armed services paraphernalia donated by members of the community for this day, and more. It's an educational as well as fun event that begins with an opening flag ceremony, very brief "words" from local and state dignitaries that have been invited to attend, and the band and the chorus perform one selection each.
On the answering machine this morning.....
"Hello. My son said that today was going to be a fun day at school and he didn't want to participate. If I let him stay home, will it count as an absence since it's going to be a fun day? Here is my number. If I don't hear back from you I'll know it's okay to keep him home."
God Bless America!
1. They tell the teacher that they've forgotten their sneakers.
2. They come to the office to ask to use the phone.
3. Six out of 10 students will need to have their phone number looked up because they don't know it.
4. Five out of 10 students will have to have assistance using the phone because they only know cell phones and cordless phones and do not know how to use a push button with curly cord. And............. they do not know not to dial 8, or 908, etc.
5. Three out of 10 students will have to call again because they didn't follow instructions and leave a message the first time, which will result in a parent frantically calling the office wanting to know who from the school called and the office having to make numerous calls to .... you get the picture there I'm sure.
6. The parent will arrive with the sneakers, usually not in a bag, and attempt to place them on the counter, whereby they will be instructed to put them on the floor under the chair across the room, and look at us bewildered that we should make such a request (doesn't everyone put shoes on their counter?).
7. The classroom will be called with the information that the sneakers have been delivered for so-and-so and 9 out of 10 times the student will come to get them.
8. The 1 out of 10 student who forgot to come to the office to get their sneakers will not have sneakers for their after school activity and the office staff will be reprimanded for not delivering the sneakers by the parent that took time from their job to bring the sneakers to the school when their distraught child called.
It's the middle of May - we had five students in one day last week and three already this morning that have needed to call for "sneakers." Not to mention the ones that forgot their projects, lunches, etc. (We do not allow them to call for instruments, however, there are some teachers that allow the students to call from the classroom which totally defeats the purpose of not interrupting the office staff as each one of the deliveries warrants a doorbell being answered and a phone call being made to the classroom.)
My conclusion - there are little or no consequences for the student who forgets their sneakers and many for the office staff.
I raised two children - they are 29 and 31 and have no ill effects from forgetting things and not having them delivered to school. They may have had to sit out a gym class, sat on the bench during recess or were sent to work room. They might have even been marked down a grade, depending upon the grade and the teacher. BUT, they are more responsible for having borne the consequences of their forgetfulness themselves.
So please reconsider letting your students call home for whatever it is that they have forgotten - unless it's lunch, we don't want them to go hungry.
You may think that it's only one interruption but it never is.
(e-mail to staff)