I received this cute little trophy from Karen@Baking in a Tornado. She created this award with her friend Kristy over at Black Sheep Mom. It represents making it through the everyday things that might otherwise break us down. Karen wrote me a message before giving it to me, asking if it would be okay. OK? Are you kidding me? It's a trophy of a woman ready to pull her hair out! How does that NOT scream, "Here you go Michele, enjoy your moment with a trophy of a woman that could be your twin."? Nope. She gave it to me because she is awesome and because with the trophy you are allowed to vent. Mmmhmm. If you live in "Blog Land" you're probably thinking, "Shellybean venting? Oh this is going to be fun!" If you live in my real world and know how I can be, you're scooting up really close to the screen hoping this is not about you. (Don't worry, it's probably not.)
1. Display the Trophy in your post.
2. Write a short piece that starts with this: "I didn't
3. Nominate a few people to pass the trophy on to and let them know it is THEIR turn to vent.
As usual, this is my story to tell. Please do not take offense to the following vent (unless it was you):
I didn't beat-up a few of the "ridunkulously tunnel-visioned"adults at my son's school today. Not that I would, I'm not a violent person. I've had just about enough of the "Haves/Have Nots" business going on in our elementary school right now. Here is one of 3,567 things I'm venting about...
The thing is, I actually taught at this school. For a good chunk of time. I don't know how else to explain it. I was the first teacher that many of the students at the school encountered (I taught Kindergarten.) For the first month, all we practiced were procedures. How to sit in a chair, how to share pencils, how to work as teams, how to enjoy books, how to be kind. That last one was a doosy. I wasn't a strict teacher, but I always felt that my students deserved to feel safe, loved and accepted. I demanded this from each person I met and I demanded it of myself. The reasoning behind this has to do with my childhood and the fact that school was a safe-haven for me. I knew that I wasn't ever going to let a student slip through my fingers without knowing that they mattered; that they were important and respected. If you made someone else feel like less of a person because they didn't have as much money, if you mentioned someone was wearing the same clothes two days in a row, If you made fun of anyone that didn't meet your standards, we would spend another day practicing. "You can't say, You can't play." It was our cheesy mantra, but we lived by it. Teachers after me kept that attitude going. We were a school of equals. Every student was valued.
So you might understand my anger when I say that my son came home last week from school crying. When I asked what was wrong, he didn't want to talk about it. "Did you get hurt? Did someone hurt your feelings? Did you get into trouble? What did you do?" As a teacher, that last question usually gets asked first. Through the sobs he finally told me. "We were in last place. Our class was in last place!"
"Last place for what?" I couldn't think of what he could possibly be talking about.
"Our class didn't raise enough money for the pizza party." he continued.
This is when I figured we'd be having the talk about how it was OK to not win all the time; to take defeat by congratulating the other teams. But then came this:
"Mom! We came in LAST place. Our class walked the track just as hard as everyone! Every class brought enough money for the walk-a-thon except for us!"
All right. "Enough money?" He was definitely exaggerating now. Who would be unkind enough to infer that there was a last place? I'm sure he was just upset that he missed out on a pizza party. This wasn't about how much money an 8 year old child could give, right? We wouldn't embarrass children for not collecting enough money from their parents. No.
Yes, people. That is exactly what happened. I wouldn't have believed it myself until our school newsletter came home. On page 3 (of 4) was a list of every single teacher's name along side an exact amount down to the cent of what their contributions were. My friend's class collected $935.59. My old coworker was slipping at her job. She collected $552.52. It went on and freaking on. Every teacher. and at the bottom of this money tree was my son's class with a meager $139.02. Here's my issue. Did they really need to list the amounts? The classes were also placed in order of the parties they won. Pizza parties to 8 classes. Ice Cream Parties to 13 classes! Pizza and Ice Cream party AND a 1 hour recess to 5 classes. The big winner, who collected $1, 472.23 gets a party at a gymnastics center. I'm pretty sure it was the 23 cents that put them over the top. My son's class and one other class were under the "Thanks" column.
Please don't get me wrong. I am not a sour grapes kind of girl. I'm thrilled that there were winning classes. I'm pretty excited that the new playground will finally be up to code. I'm also sure that there were volunteer parents who worked their butts off at the event. What makes me sick is that someone actually printed this list out, with exact numbers of money, had it go through an editing process and be okayed to print. Why not just say, "Our school raised 17,000 dollars! Thank you everyone! Our top class was.______________We will contact the winning classes!" Nope. Just that list, a calendar of going-ons, grade news, and a list of PTA Thank yous...
Here is another vent. There is never a thank you to the handful of parents who were too busy working two jobs so their child could have shoes to wear to school. There were no thank-yous to the other families who quietly donated to every other fundraiser/field trip/art project this year. I don't think I witnessed one shout-out to the single dad that walks his kid to school everyday (because they don't have a car) so that child can take advantage of the free breakfast program...Are those children less worthy because they have a different home-life? On and on it goes.
I apologized to my little boy. I had to tell him that his class didn't "lose" at anything at school. His class donated 7 dollars per student. That was wonderful! I explained that parents give what they can. That it was in some degree, a contest among them, and not the children.
I would totally give up class parties and Field Day to not have another hard-working, loving, young child humiliated. Oh, and those last place teachers of my son's? They have rocked his education this year. He loves going to class and has made all kinds of forever-friends. His teachers have loved my son and have given him all that they can. There, dear readers, are your winners.
So, no. I didn't beat-up those select few tunnel-visioned adults. I'm nicer than that. I don't know what happened in their past that would make them think that any of that was acceptable. I simply hope that they will rethink patting themselves on the back at the cost of others next time. If you can't work together, you will fail alone. Heck, I learned that in Kindergarten! Or on "LOST". I can't remember everything....
Okay. Breathe in-breathe out. Thanks for thinking of me, Karen. You know I love you. I'm passing that sexy-lady trophy to two man-bloggers! They both have salt-of-the-earth blogs and I honor each of them with this prestigious accolade. Work it, boys.
Slu from Slu's World
Jon from Speaking My Mind.
Happy "Be kind to everyone" day, friends.