“We realize kids don’t want to sit and would rather talk and play when they want to; but that’s not how school works.” So says one teacher in a letter home to the parents of her three- and four-year-old students. In what reads like a cross between a nasty criticism of parenting skills (or apparent lack thereof) and an educator’s wish she had gotten the job she really wanted teaching high school math, the “letter home” quickly became a viral sensation. Why? Because far too many parents are experiencing a rude awakening when their child enters the preschool years. If you thought your high school gym teacher was a fascist, just wait until your three-year-old encounters the pressures of …preschool?
“We made it through a really tough first month with tears, attitudes, unwillingness, not listening, not obeying the rules and especially, too much talking and not enough sitting in seats when asked to.” Lady, get a grip (presuming this is a lady – after all, don’t want to step on gender identity). Do you have kids? Have you ever actually spent an entire day with a three-year-old? One child in her class is still two!
But, it isn’t totally fair to put all the blame on the teacher. She’s under a lot of pressure from elementary schools to get these kids kindergarten-ready: “Preschool is preparation to go on to “big” school and these things are important there, too,” she writes. “We simply can’t say that our kids don’t like coloring and sitting still because Kindergarten and first grade have a lot of coloring.”
What she fails to remember is that her students, especially that two-year-old, aren’t in kindergarten or first grade. They’re in preschool because they are nowhere near developmentally ready for what kindergarten and first grade have to offer.
Nevertheless, she feels it is the parents’ responsibility to start drilling mature behavior into their toddlers. Yep, that’s right: She sent home homework assignments for mom and dad:
Please, work five or ten minutes each day with your child on this and you’ll see improvement. We have seen improvement with several kids already. We realize it’s a fast paced world and parents work, but the adults in the house have to be in charge and help the kids to understand this. Please, talk to your child about the importance of sharing, not fighting, keeping their hands to themselves, and learning to get along with each other. Remind them that once we pick up the toys that we don’t get them back out again, because we are done playing and going on to learning fun things.
Parents in that class would be wise to send that teacher a memo detailing why young children should not be pressured to sit in seats or follow rules to such an insane extent. Or, perhaps a simple note of thanks would suffice, as in, “Thank you very much for ruining my child’s attitude towards school forever. Future therapy bills for his PTSD and Attention Deficit Disorder will be sent to you, care of this address.”