I was so pissed off about that story yesterday that I completely failed to offer some context for it. Hahaha. No wonder I don’t have a million followers!
We’ve been looking at preschools for kidlet for the last 2 weeks. This is exhausting, and overwhelming, and feels like the biggest decision I’ve made this year. I know, I know, SETTLE DOWN. We’re really looking for someplace that is convenient (I am nothing if not lazy these days), that will take his allergies seriously and be able to recognize and address a reaction should a need arise, and that will suit his personality. A few places have felt really right, but I felt it wouldn’t be responsible to stop, and not at least visit the other schools, just in case. (See also: decision making disorder.)
So, yesterday we went to visit the last of the possibilities. I have a handful of friends that have their kids at the school, and it goes all the way to 8th grade, which I like, and off we went. We visited the preschool classroom, the 8th grade classroom, the kindergarten classroom, and as our last stop, the 1st grade classroom. Where we were able to witness the glory that was that stupid-ass story.
It was being told to a 1st grade class by the 6th grade teacher. She was so enthusiastic; all the right demonstrative faces, and she was soliciting participation from the class in all the right spots. The kids were listening with rapt attention. It was really nice to watch. Except for, you know, the whole bullshit story.
I left wondering how the school, which purports to be a forward thinking, liberal school, could use this story so enthusiastically. Our guide said that this story is used as a cornerstone for counting lessons (Anna’s mushrooms in the basket show up in the classroom to be counted), and for something else. (I wasn’t really paying attention at this point.)
And as I thought about it more yesterday I wondered, what would I do if I learned that my kid was being taught this story. Imagine that we DO choose this school, and in 4 years he’s that 1st grader, and he comes home excited about this fantastic story he was told in class; what would I say to the school? Have a conference with the teacher and express my concerns about how kids are being taught to believe people who are different are bad? Seems reasonable, but would it make any difference? There’s no way of knowing, but since I like to be prepared for crappy situations, I guess it’s good I’m thinking about it now.
Also, I cannot possibly be the first parent to be uncomfortable with this, can I? One of the ways I talk myself into doing things I’m nervous or uncomfortable about is to remind myself that I’m not the first person to take the step. So, I assume I’m not now, but…I’d like to think that parents who have chosen to send their kid to this school, and who know about this story, have been, or will be willing to challenge the message it sends.
Of course, I like to hope that people are willing to challenge much of what they see.