Wednesday, June 23, 2004

That Woman Is Crazy.
So, the mother stopped by, and I had a very frank chat with her. She said that, despite having attended 70+ classes, her kids were unable to write the letters of the alphabet. Yeah, no kidding. I noted that they didn't do the month's worth of alphabet homework that I gave them, and that if she expected to see improvement they would have to start actually doing some work. I suggested that they write the alphabet 3 times per night, for a start. And this is where she said the crazy thing, which I keep thinking about...

"I don't want them to have a lot of pressure. Can't they just learn naturally? Is it necessary to write the letters over and over in order to learn to write?"

Uh...YEAH, lady, I guess it IS. Look, in class I have fun. I try to present the material in an amusing way. But it's 45 MINUTES. I can show the kids something new in that time, but anything requiring practice is going to have to be done at home. We can, and do, play games in class which should cement these concepts, but this stuff isn't going to sink in by magic.

Learning to write is a *fine motor skill*. It involves writing squiggles on bits of paper until you memorize the sequence of curves and lines. YOU CAN'T LEARN IT BY WATCHING A WHITE GUY SCRIBBLE THINGS ON A BOARD FOR 45 MINUTES EVERY OTHER DAY. It was infuriating to listen to this woman give excuse after excuse as to why she wasn't making her kids do a bit of work ("I am so BUSY!"), knowing what she told my partner on the phone -- accusing her of being unfit to teach, complaining about the 'pressure' to get work done...and the most galling thing is that the mother is an English teacher herself -- totally conversant! Does she remember all the things she went through to learn the language? Well, gee, I guess it's going to be about the same for her kids, huh? YAR!

I gave her the practice packet and told her the straight truth, but there is no way I'm going to get support from her at home. I know this, and it's fine if she wants to spend the money for an education that's going to bounce off her kids. But for her to complain about her lack of parenting is beyond the pale.

...and what kind of English teacher is incapable of teaching her own children the alphabet?

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