Posted on | August 6, 2015 | 7 Comments

The past two mornings have ended in tears.

I should be more ashamed that the tears were mine, not J’s, but alas… I am not. Because I’m just full on overwhelmed by public school.

It’s not just the no talking or the newness. It’s not the uniforms and the drop off. It’s not even the pick up line. It’s just this feeling that I have no idea what is happening or why it is happening at any given point of the day. I’m not sure why someone decided teachers needed to cram so much into the school day that lunches were reduced to 20 minutes and recess became nearly obsolete. I’m not sure who decided our schools needed to be responsible not just for educating but also for moralizing, feeding, parenting and everything else. I’m just not sure who came up with this new structure that has stripped away any remnants of the public school system I was in waaaay back in the 80s and 90s and replaced it with this detailed prison-system day that gives our teachers little to no room for creativity or excitement… or fun.

School was always fun for me.

Thus far, J has come home every day a little sad.

Thus far, I have left him there a little sad.

On top of all the newness, I’m now consistently late to work because J is terrified of the cafeteria in the morning and begs to not have to go there. Which means I have to figure out a way to drop him off at 8:30 and arrive at work at 8:30. I’ve placed several calls to Emma Watson for advice, but she’s totally ignoring me.


I don’t know how to do this, guys. It’s so stressful and so overwhelming. And the sloppy edges of all this school-stressed-ness are oozing out in pools and leaving me emotionally bankrupt for all the rest that life has to offer. Is this our life now? This constant push/pull/struggle of putting on uniforms and tucking in shirts and prodding him out the door and into the world of school that is nothing like what I remember… that is nothing like what I hoped and wished for my child.

Don’t get me wrong… this isn’t a school issue. My son is blessed to be in what I consider the best school in our district. This is an actual system wide problem and I’m suddenly all too aware that there is absolutely no way we can adequately educate our children in this type of environment. The fact that children succeed coming out of public schools anywhere in this nation is a testament to the teachers they have and the probable overtime that the children, teachers, and parents do to make it work.

Because something is decidedly broken in the system when both the parent and the child begin and end their days in tears.


7 Responses to “Overwhelmed.”

  1. Alena
    August 6th, 2015 @ 10:47 am

    Okay – BREATHE.

    To be honest every first time K-parent has had moments of complete panic about letting a school system “raise” their kids in this decade. Schools have a bad reputation but this is where you need to trust the village because most villages aren’t hurting your child.

    I read your post twice and wanted to offer an alternate view point:

    Longer than 20 minutes for an elementary school child to eat a meal is going to give way to chaos. I don’t really remember much about lunch as a child, except the one time that I argued that Santa was real and I can’t understand why this is such a vivid memory. I doubt lunches were very long, because a room full of children with nothing left to do because it doesn’t ACTUALLY take longer than 20 minutes to eat a meal is just going to lead to trouble. No matter the decade.

    Schools take on a lot of the life coaching and moralizing because they see our kids for more of the day than we do and they’re responsible for teaching them how to be in a classroom full of their peers. And that’s a lesson that they will need not only for the next 13 years but beyond to college and working in an office with others. Even daycare, which is based mostly around play, is not same. They can and do teach my kids in a way that I absolutely cannot – partly because I don’t have the educational training to know how to teach my kids certain skills, but also because I lack the patience.

    We had a really poor fit for a teacher last year – I went off to close friends often about what a bad experience it was having a teacher that was a horrible match for my free-spirited and big personality teacher. And then at the end of the school year she sent me an email that made me see that it wasn’t that she didn’t get my daughter, or that she didn’t love her and see all the great potential in her, but her job was to teach her how to focus that intense spirit in a way that was productive and not a hindrance to her peers. That’s a big task to have for many students – whether it’s in the lunch room making sure that all kids (especially the most distracted) can eat a meal in peace, or in the classroom working together in centers for projects. We all think about how this way of doing things may ruin or break our children – not considering how these rules are in place to help all the children.

    Sophia had a rough year last year, she came home with notes outlining the trouble she’d been in nearly more days than not. I cried a few times when she told me she didn’t think her teacher liked her – but at the end of the year my child wasn’t broken. She was a little more mature, which I have the teacher and time to thank for that. She loved her teacher and considers her teacher from last year to be her best friend. Maybe this year she will listen during lunch and not talk, instead of pairing up with a trouble maker and interrupting other kids lunch time. Maybe this year she will take turns letting other kids read the line instead of wanting to be the kind of fierce personality that wants to do it all for everyone. Maybe this year she’ll be able to focus her big huge personality in a way that allows other kids to let their personality shine too – because that’s the task that we give to schools.

    It’s about more than just our children – it’s about all the children.

  2. Mark
    August 6th, 2015 @ 10:52 am

    Yes. You are right on this one. 100 percent.

  3. Maggie
    August 6th, 2015 @ 12:53 pm

    Oh I hear this loud and clear. Unfortunately, I feel like every parent of a first time kindergartener (in public school, both of mine have gone to public school so I can’t speak to private school parents) has a similar revelation. Oldest is 12.5 and going into 7th grade and I still remember feeling overwhelmed and a sad at what school has become for all of our kids – too much pressure too early, not enough time to run around or eat, etc. Youngest started K last year and it was marginally better in that I knew what to expect, but it was still sad to see her transition. ANYWAY, all I can offer is a promise that it will get better – not the pressure on teachers to cram in a ton of crap, and the not enough time for lunch or recess because I guess as a society we’ve decided that’s fine (?) but your son will adapt and there will be good things about school, and it will be ok.

    The drop off thing will get better too once he gets settled. But I won’t lie, that straight up sucks while it’s going on. I had to have a conversation with my boss about the situation (she doesn’t even have kids so that wasn’t the best) and get some leeway in my hours for awhile. It was an added stress that I could have done without. 🙁

  4. Law Momma
    August 6th, 2015 @ 2:55 pm

    Alena: I get what you’re saying. And I’ve always been a huge advocate for the public schools. But I still think that what they have become is something different than what I’d like. Yes, it’s about all the children. But it’s also about MY child. And we can’t expect all children to be exactly the same without crushing some children’s spirits in order to raise up another. And I just don’t think that’s how it should be. It should be about bringing out the best in all kids… no matter what their best is. Making my son feel bad doesn’t help make another kid feel good. It just makes mine feel bad.

  5. Haley
    August 7th, 2015 @ 7:11 am

    The first weeks are always hard. It’s a huge adjustment and everyone’s exhausted. Hang in there

  6. Haley
    August 7th, 2015 @ 11:51 am

    Also- do you read the blog babyrabies? She went through this with her oldest (I think it was last year) and was really upset and looking into homeschooling, moving, etc and at the end of the year updated that everything turned out great and they ended up loving it

  7. The Many Thoughts of a Reader
    August 8th, 2015 @ 10:06 pm

    Ugh. I am a newly quit public school teacher. The moralizing and raising of children basically happens because sadly it has NOT happened in a lot of homes. Common courtesey and freaking manners or hell a YOU DONT GET YOUR WAY ALL THE DANG TIME has not been taught to a lot of people. It’s about taking turns, it’s about not getting what you want/need at times because someone elses needs may be bigger than yours. The amount of crap expected out of kids academically at younger ages kills me. It’s not appropriate.

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