I used to be one of those kids. You know THOSE kids who didn’t give their parents a full answer when they asked “What did you do in school today?” Granted, I was more forthcoming than most of my peers probably were with their folks, but I distinctly remember filtering information from them in elementary school. (By the time eighth grade came around, my mom was driving me 32 miles round-trip to school daily so I had no choice but to spill the beans about my day.) I cannot recall why I didn’t tell my parents everything, but I just remember withholding information.
Isabelle’s personality is quite different than mine. This makes me wonder if she’ll tell me everything or nothing. (Remember, I was in-between when it came to reporting things!) If last week is any indication of what’s to come, I have a feeling she’ll tell me half-truths.
You see, last week I sent Isabelle to half-day day camp at the school where she’ll attend preschool. It was my attempt to get her comfortable in her new school building. (Sadly, she won’t be returning to the lovely Waldorf school we went to the past two years since the distance was too great for me to drive while writing a book.) While I was interested in knowing how she coped being in a new place and whether or not she initiated potty breaks (She did… whew!), I also wanted to know what she did. Maybe it’s because she’s three or maybe it’s because of her Apraxia, but I couldn’t get a true sense of what was happening from her. For instance, I asked her, “Did Jeannie read you a book today.”
“Yes,” she replied.
“That’s good. Did you like it?”
“Yes,” she said.
“What was it about?”
“Beards,” she declared.
“Beards?” I asked. (I knew last week’s camp had a pirate theme, but I had a tough time believing the teacher read a book about beards to the kids.)
“Yes, beards,” she replied confidently.
“Hmmmm… do you remember the title, the author, or the illustrator’s name?” I queried.
“No,” she said.
The next morning I asked Jeannie, the teacher, “Did you read a book about beards yesterday?”
“No, I read Talk Like a Pirate.”
“Oh, I said.” I pointed at Isabelle, “she said you read a book about beards.”
I recounted this to my husband who insisted that pirates do have beards, so that wasn’t too far off. Fine, I’ll give Isabelle credit for this one, but I really didn’t know what she read, which meant I couldn’t engage in a conversation about the book with her.
The rest of the week went like this. Isabelle would tell me something (e.g., I played with Robin.) and, if I was lucky, I would find out what really happened at some point (e.g., She played with a boy named Quinn. There aren’t any kids named Robin in her camp group. Apparently Robin, “Wobuhn,” is easier to say than “Quinn.”). This makes me think that I’m not going to have much of an idea about what’s happening in her classroom once preschool starts if the teacher doesn’t send home a weekly newsletter. (Please, please, pretty please let there be a newsletter.) And that’s when I got to thinking… wouldn’t it be great if her teacher tweeted snippets of the school day out to parents? For instance, at the end of a lesson, she could tweet what they did. She could tweet the kids’ discoveries. She could tweet the kids’ drawings. She could even tweet a couple of questions for parents to ask their preschoolers at the dinner table.
But then I came back down to Earth. There is no way that I can walk into my daughter’s new school and demand that my daughter’s teacher tweets with the kids on day one. For one thing, that would be like me telling her how to do her job. Second, it would encourage what could turn into an unhealthy amount of technology exposure to the children. And third, no teacher wants a fellow educator telling her to take on more work when she had a lot of other things on her plate. Therefore, I will keep my mouth shut. But if I ever see a suggestion box, then I think I might put this one in it since it would help me, as the parent of what is shaping up to be a partial reporter, to engage my child at home.