Sean’s first grade school year is about over and, for the most part, it has been a good year.
Nothing has happened over the course of this year which has made me regret my decision to put Sean in public school. Which is kind of surprising to me. I thought there would be something.
So, it looks like we’ll give public school a go again next year. I say “looks like” because if there is one thing I’ve leaned as a parent, it’s that anything can change at any minute. The minute I make a decision and plant my feet, it’s highly likely that something is going to change to make me look foolish.
At the beginning of the school year, I wrote about how our plan all along, from the day he was born, was to put Sean in private school. But a few weeks before school started we we had not fallen in love with any of the private schools we researched, so we enrolled him in the local elementary school by default. But not without some trepidation.
One thing that is important to me is that Sean learns how to behave appropriately in public and I wanted a school that would reinforce what we do at home, which is not tolerate uncivilized behavior. And it seemed to me, at the time, that a private school would do — could do, would have the freedom to do — a better job in this regard. While Sean is a pretty good boy, I figured that in public school I’d be dealing with the influence of a population of people whose values and parenting philosophy may not necessarily align with my own. Whereas at a private Christian school, that’s really what you are paying for – people and an administration whose philosophy aligns with yours.
Last April, when we were looking at private schools, we attended an end-of-the-year show the kindergarten class at a particular private school put on for the parents. The admissions counselor invited us suggesting that it might give us a feel for the school. And boy, did it. The children stood on risers in their cute little uniforms and sang a variety of songs. Each child had a line to say or sing and it was apparent that they had worked very hard all year on the show.
Unfortunately one little boy in the front mugged and waved and danced around, and shoved and stage whispered to the the kids around him, and was just generally disruptive and acted liked
an ass a spoiled brat. This went on for the entirety of the 45-minute show. He ruined the program for the other kids and their parents. Perhaps his tuition-paying parents thought it was cute, I don’t know, but I thought it was terribly unfair to the other kids that no adult stepped in and put the skids to his antics.
Is it unthinkable that a 6-year-old boy would act up and be silly? No.
Is it unthinkable that at an adult would not correct this child? Yes.
Had that been Sean being so disruptive, I would have yanked him off the stage by the ear with the intention of inflicting upon him the maximum embarrassment one could possibly experience. And because I’m just that crazy, I’d probably make him stand up and apologize to the entire room after the show thereby decreasing the odds that it should happen again. I am a mom who means business when it comes to courtesy.
When the evening was over, and not a minute too soon, I asked Sean what he thought about the show. He shrugged and said it was nice but he noticed that the boy in front was being bad. I told him I was glad he noticed that because if he ever did anything like that, I’d yank him off the stage so fast his socks would be left behind wondering where he went. He found the imagery amusing, but he got my point.
After that event, I was soured on the school. That not one adult corrected this child — not a teacher, not the kid’s parents, not an administrator – indicated to me a top down philosophy that I can’t abide. That sort of thing ought not slide and I wasn’t going to pay money to a school which allows it. I don’t buy the whole “boys will be boys” thing.
And then soon after it was August, and we put Sean in public school, and now it’s April again. (sigh)
I thought back on that end-of-the year show when Sean’s 1st grade class presented their musical program for the parents this year. And to be honest, I was expecting a fair amount of bad behaving kids. For one thing, there are 100 first graders, so the odds of bad behavior rises exponentially just by the numbers and – I just have to say it – its public school. You might just sort of expect less in the behavior department for a variety of reasons.
But you know what? Not one kid misbehaved. Not even a little.
Paint me surprised. Pleasantly surprised.