Thursday, August 11, 2011

Torn and Twisted

I work in a district that is not well off. In fact our high school is in phase five because we have not made adequate yearly progress. We are considered at risk. About 95% of our students are on free and reduced lunch and probably 75% come from single family homes. In my twelve year career here I have seen the schools consolidate and the student population severely decline. What is also sad is I have seen many quality families leave the district. Now, granted for some it is because there are no jobs in town, but there is also the “white flight”. What we have left is not what it used to be. My district has a bad reputation. When I respond with where I teach very often you hear “Oh.” There are other surrounding districts that complain when they get our kids. With that said, we have a very good curriculum, we may not have a ton of resources but we have adequate supplies, and we have teachers that give their blood, sweat, and tears to the kids, the school, the lessons, etc. (Granted there are some teachers that are less than desirable but you have that type anywhere and everywhere.) I believe in our schools.

Now the twisted and torn comes into play. As my own child approaches school age we are forced to make decisions. Luckily or maybe not so lucky we have choices since our state has schools of choice. We can send the boys anywhere. Currently they attend a phenomenal daycare in a city other than we live in. We started them there as infants for two reasons; One it is top of the line and two it is run by friends, family if you will, and I know they are loved every day. I have never once worried about my children. Now that they are leaving the safety of that environment we have to decide what the next step is. We have choices. We could send Jack to our home school district. This would mean he would need before and after school care, where I don’t know. Or Jack could attend school at my district. For me this was an easy decision. It’s the beauty of being a teacher; he can be in my building. He can hang out in my room before and after school. Then when he gets older and Ryan is ready for school we can transfer them back to our home district, that way they are together. Besides all that what better way to prove that I believe in what my colleagues and I do, then send my child there. If it good enough for my child it is good enough for everyone.

It has come to my attention that some of my friends and family are questioning this plan. I guess they have questions and concerns about whether it would be good for Jack.
• What about all the bad kids, do you want Jack around that?
• It’s _____________, really?
• Just because Carrie teaches there doesn’t mean you have to send your kids there.
• Why would you live in such a great district and send your kids there?
• Do you really want Jack to have his mommy right down the hall?
• What about having friends? He won’t make any in his hometown and then you will be going back and forth all the time.
• You pay taxes here; your kids should go here.
• Well I guess it would be okay for a little while but not forever.

All this questioning has me questioning. I guess one of my biggest questions is do these people think that what I do is like charity. Do they think that because I teach in a poor district the quality of education is poor? Do they think we don’t provide quality education? Are they really concerned about Jack or are they judging the poor area and students I teach?

My question is what is best for my child? Should he be his own person, in his own building with his mom being like every other kid in the class, the teacher will email me like everyone else not catch me in the hall? Do I care what other people think and I go with my professional opinion? I’m just not sure.


Anonymous said...

Carrie Anne Shannahan!!!!
I can not speak for anybody else who gave an opinion of your schooling choice for Jack, however, I will defend mine.
You and Tom work your asses off to make sure that your children are not one of the "95% of students that are on free and reduced lunch and probably 75% come from single family homes."
The two of you work hard everyday so you can afford to live in a nice community, safe neighborhood, and a good school district. If I recall correctly, when you were purchasing the house, the school district was something you looked into before even making a final decision on where you lived.
I believe that you, along with the other "teachers that give their blood, sweat, and tears to the kids", do the best that you possibly can with the limited resources you are given in your district. However, Jack has the luxury of attending a school district that has an unlimited amount of recources compared to __________.
"Are they really concerned about Jack or are they judging the poor area and students I teach?" I judge people all the time. We all know this, it is not a secret. But it is what makes me me and part of what you love about me.:) I will always be honest about how I feel. I have cared for and watched your boys grow since the delivery room. Literally! So, yes I am concerned for Jack. Your students and the area you teach in are not a concern for me. Making sure your boys get the best education they possibly can is important to me.

Along with curriculum a child's social enviornment also plays a huge role in their education and social upbringing. Your boys deserve to be surrounded by kids from equal social backgrounds.

I don't think that anybody is judging your job or how hard you work for your students. I am also not juding your co-workers or where they send their children.
You are fortunate enough to send your child to a good school, with a better budget and better resources. It would be a shame for your boys to miss out on that because of convienence and wanting to "prove" that you believe in your district. You prove to your district everyday when you show up for work that you believe in it. That doesn't mean that you can't do better for your own child.

From a daycare perspective, you will find a quality before and after school program for the boys. Whether it is a daycare that transports or an extended day program at the elementary. Either way your boys will be with their peers, neighbors and children from equal social enviornments.

I cannot believe you have driven me to "blog". I hate you!! :)

Love - Your Very Snobby Honest BFF

Shanny said...

Honest and Snobby BFF:

You amoung the others made very very valid points, which is what made me twisted and torn. AND you comment made even more.

Jack is Jack and he does deserve the best...and ultimately that is what we all want. I just from other needed to think about it from all perspectives.

Thanks for being you and caring about Jack.

Friend said...

We all love our kids and want the best for them. As Educators, Moms, and Aunts we sort through a variety of data and opinions and come to the best interest of the child. This is a difficult task. Luckily, we have spouses, family, friends and our instincts to help us make those decisions for our children.