We were informed that they visited this upstanding company to learn about their social commitment and their concern with sustainable development and environmental issues.
Cough. Cough. Gag.
I couldn't help it. I couldn't help myself. I posted a comment suggesting that some critical analysis would make such visits more meaningful and educational. I offered a whole bunch of links for anyone interested in further research (many from here).
But, I did not reread my comment several dozen times to be sure that it said what I wanted it to. And I admit, it came out a bit too judgmental. It wasn't as diplomatic as I would have liked (definitely not one of my strengths, as much as I loathe confrontation). I know that teachers work really hard, and I also know that I can not expect the impossible of teachers here in Macondo.
(We have spoken up about some things before, and we have also kept quiet about so much).
I really meant my comments to be...um, helpful? I don't know. I just couldn't let the 'upstanding company' thing go by without a comment.
I may not be engaged in any great activist campaigns or world-changing projects out here in Macondo, but I thought I could at least try to make a few itsy bitsy spaces for some critical analysis. Offer some alternative viewpoints. And object, no matter how timidly, to multinational companies using schools as privileged entryways to bombard our kids with their barely camouflaged advertising.
My comment has received two responses:
- One, from a student, saying that going to the supermarket with his classmates was an unforgettable experience (?). Yup, this is a small town, folks.
- And the other, from a teacher, saying (very politely) that since I had no idea what the objectives of the visit were, I could not really comment on the value of the activity.
On one hand, I know that I am on a different planet. I will say 'ABC', and the only answers I will get will be 'dog, orange, sailboat', or 'dksolw.ddoips' or, in the best of cases, '????'.
On the other hand, I live here, this is the Monster's school, I have to at least try. Right? But I kind of want to run away and never face anyone at the school again. I know, I know, what strong activist convictions.
I am sorry that all this happened a week too late to write up my problem for entry in the carnival of natural parenting. This month the theme was to ask for parenting advice, and I could definitely use some:
- How involved in this do I want to get?
- How can I be diplomatic and critical when dealing with my kid's school? How can I introduce social justice and diversity issues?
- If my son is only in kindergarten, should I just give up on caring what the high school kids are doing?
- Am I crazy to think that we can offer an alternative, critical education here at home while our kids become part of a mainstream, conservative education system (public or private)?
- How can I stop feeling physically sick every time I find myself in a confrontation or disagreement? I would so love to feel confident that I could express my concerns or opinions in an articulate and respectful way and not want to run away immediately afterward. (Yes, just a huge little problem I thought I would slip in at the last minute).
**We have never been thrilled about this school. But, despite our efforts, we have not found anything better, and we have found many that are considerably worse. So for now, it is what it is. He's in junior kindergarten, he's happy, he adores his teacher, he has friends. We will whisk him away from here, to more inspiring educational landscapes, before any major damage can be done.