annoyed

I am generally annoyed today. Annoyed, in general, I guess. Chalk it up to a bad mood and not quite enough sleep. Regardless, this has been bugging me lately, but I will try to discuss without letting my foulness take over. Ahem.

Something about my daughter’s new school has ticked me off repeatedly. I am pleased with the school as a whole. I think her teacher is very kind, and kindness is one of the most important qualities a kindergarten teacher can have. I’m trying to take a laid back approach to deciding how things should be, but one thing keeps popping up.

Rewards.  And selling.  And using the children.

I’m a book fair supporter. I’m a school supporter. I’m a book lover. I’m a future published author. (OK, not yet, really, but you can’t prove me wrong.) I love my children.

It makes perfect sense for me to support the school, the book fair, my children and authors by buying a few books at the book fair. Hell, I’m even donating my time to work at the book fair. I thought I was doing my part.

Then Maggie brought home a paper from the book fair/school. The children had the opportunity to “go shopping” and have an adult help them write down the titles of the books that are on their wish list.

And now I’m left to explain that we aren’t going to buy character books for $12.95 each. Why not? Because that, to me, is a lot of money to spend on something I wouldn’t normally buy for my child that I am being pressured into buying for her because she brought home a piece of paper and now thinks she will be getting said books.

She’s 5, people. Come on.

So today was her class’s shopping day at school. I was to send in her money for whatever we would like to purchase. Except I didn’t. I don’t know if she’ll be the only one not buying a book today, but I’m not biting.

I will look over the books she has put on her wish list when I work the fair on Thursday. If I can stomach either of them, I may purchase one. More than likely, I will purchase a few books, but books that aren’t flashy, branded, eye-candy.

And if it weren’t books, I might not buy anything. I’m the type of person who likes things straight up and honest. Don’t manipulate me. And for pete’s sake, don’t manipulate my child.

If it were the only instance, I would be more likely to ignore it. I am happy to donate money, time and anything else I have to give to worthwhile causes. (Just ask my husband, who thinks I don’t value my time nearly enough.) But don’t tell the class they will get a trophy for the most parent participation. They have no control over parent participation. At least, they shouldn’t.

Don’t reward a class for doing something that is in itself a good thing. That is setting a dangerous precedent. Thank them for participating. Show them that good deeds are not rewarded with monetary compensation.

We collect box tops because the school gets 10 cents (holy hell, my laptop doesn’t even have a cent key anymore) for each box top. That’s a lot of money. I don’t buy products just for the box top, but if it’s something we use anyway, sure, I’ll participate. But don’t reward the children with ice cream for the most box tops. That takes away the value of saving them in the first place.

We donated to the school during the big PTO drive at the beginning of the year. That’s between the PTO and us. Don’t drag my child into it by having a contest awarding a big party to the class who donates the most. She’s five. She doesn’t understand the concept of money, let alone understand she is being used as a means to an end.

I want to be involved and supportive at Maggie’s school.  I want her to have fun, learn and grow without a carrot being dangled in front of her. Is that too much to ask?

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8 responses to “annoyed

  1. It is frustrating. I worked in a school for 2 years. The fundraising “assemblies” amazed me…

    The kids are taken out of class for an hour (which means a hour and a half by the time they put their stuff away and then have to settle down afterward) and made to listen to a fundraising professional (?) and all he talks about is PRIZES, PRIZES, PRIZES!!! Kids…sell 12 magazine subscriptions and get this cool Silly Putty!!! Sell 1,000 and get a Stuffed Animal!!! It’s nose lights up!!! Oh, by the way, take this form home and fill in the addresses of all of your relatives and parents’ friends. We’ll take care of sending out the magazine forms. Just get us lots of addresses and you’ll get PRIZES!!!

    My son was heart-broken that I wouldn’t let him earn a glow stick.

  2. Completely, totally, 100% agree. But I know I will be a lonely hold out when it is time for my girls to be in school.

  3. Brigid: You are not alone.

    We just finished the ginormous fundraiser at my daughter’s school. The school really does need the money, so I was happy to participate.

    Anyway, I don’t think her school is as bad with the incentives/rewards.

    As for the book fair, I will either send a predetermined amount of money (usually $10) and she has to choose OR I just make her wait until I’m there working and we “shop” together.

  4. I totally agree with you. Nick has been asked to sell a bunch of citpass books- he want DH and me to buy them. No. I offer to help in any way I can. I buy extra boxes of tissues and hand sanitizer. I offer to read to the kids. I don’t give in to Nick on purchasing the things that seem to get thrown at us constantly. This doesn’t teach them properly about money and about rewards. Rewards shouldn’t be automatic and instant gratification. I think the reward for most things like good grades or good behavior is the pride in achieving it- not the piece of junk you can win.

  5. Not looking forward to that. For now, things are easy. I’ll need to check back here when it’s time for me to try to teach Yago what you are teaching Maggie…

  6. well, now i am annoyed

  7. Amen. (we ended up with Star Wars and Astroboy.)

  8. Trish (Aunt Trish :))

    2nd Amen. We don’t send money to school for book fairs. They get to look while the rest of the class shops, then later when we are there with them, we buy or don’t buy something. However, 5th grade has changed that. 😦
    We also don’t participate in every fund raiser. One can only do so much. And I don’t feel bad. They get a lot of our money.

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