Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Guest Blogger...Kristin

Hey peeps! It's Kristin from A Teeny Tiny Teacher. I'm excited to be over here as a guest blogger for Gladys. I've only done this once before (that I can think of) and I hope you'll stick around to read what I have to say.  :)

I'm here today to talk about the Culture of My School.

Stop!  Don't exit out.

I don't mean it in a scientific or sociological way. Well, maybe I do, but that would be completely accidental because I don't understand what any of that means.

Here's what I do know.

We have helicopters EVERY MORNING BEFORE SCHOOL.

Sad, but true. We have what we like to call "Helicopter Parents".

Do you have them at your school?

They're everywhere at my school. And they hover for inordinate amounts of time.

I've taken an informal survey of goings-on at other schools to see how we compare. Well, that's not entirely true. But I have asked my twin what goes on at her kids' school. And it is the complete opposite of my school. In fact, her school has a STRICT NO FLIGHT ZONE.

Whereas, at my school, we have an Air Traffic Control Problem.

Truthfully, most of my kids get dropped off at school. Then they walk down to the playground where they are supposed to line up.  This is good. This is called following the school rules.

However.

I do have about five or six kids who don't get dropped off.

Instead, the "Helicopter Parents" hover with their children around our library. Which is at the top of the ramp that leads down to the playground. And it also happens to be right near my classroom.

Several things happen during this time. Running. Playing. Knocking on my windows. Peeking in my windows. Yelling at me. Recess-types-of-things except that the kids are not on the playground.  They're by the library and my classroom. Don't you just know that I look forward to it every morning? Just warms my heart to be running around my classroom like a chicken with her head cut off only to be interrupted by knocking and "I SEE HER!! I SEE HER!  SHE'S IN THERE!" outside my windows. LOVE.

The helicopters hover until the first bell rings. Then they hug and kiss their child. They might hug and kiss their child again. Then they send them down to the playground.

Second bell rings. That's it. Second bell means school has started and you'd better be in your line.

SCHOOL HAS STARTED. Granted, we're not in our classrooms yet, but school has officially started.

Do the helicopters fly away?

No. This is the CULTURE OF OUR SCHOOL.

I walk my class up from the playground, and lo and behold, we are now spontaneously the main attraction in a PARADE. The parents wave and blow kisses as if they haven't seen their child in forever.  Little toddler siblings come running over and weave in and out of my lines, trying to find their big brother or sister so that they can hug them just ONE MORE TIME. Parents continue to hover and also try to get in one more hug.

It is not until every last kiddo has entered my classroom that the helicopters slowly rise and slooooooowly fly away. And, sometimes, not even then. I have to close my door first. That tends to signal THE START OF SCHOOL more than that pesky bell.

People, this happens EVERY.SINGLE.DAY.

The other grade level teams feel sorry for us (the first grade team) because our classrooms are directly in the flight path. We've complained  discussed this with our principal, but nothing happens.

It's the CULTURE OF OUR SCHOOL.

For the first time EVER, I put a little note in our weekly newsletter.  I made mention of the fact that we are in our last trimester and preparing for second grade. And that parents should "consider" leaving campus when the first bell rings. You know. To foster independence and all that. I think it sounded good. And non-threatening. It's not as if the helicopters are under attack.

After that newsletter, I'm down to just TWO hovering helicopters.  They either a) didn't read the newsletter which is an often occurrence or b) considered leaving school when the bell rang and decided against it because they feel they need a daily parade in their lives (although this one has no marching band, unfortunately).

Meanwhile, my twin's school has strict policies about parents just wandering around aimlessly on campus. Safety risks and all that.  Stranger Danger.

Not us. We just open up the gates and allow all aircraft to come on in and HOVER. After all, it's a free country.

Does this happen at YOUR school? Do you have a helicopter problem? Am I alone in this? I'd love for you to comment so we could discuss this. I'm not one for being alone in a dilemma - I need company.

Disclaimer---I love my parents. I couldn't get through my school year without them. It's just this before-school-helicopter-hovering that is DRIVING ME CRAZY. Just saying.


Thank you Kristin, for your fabulous post...of course now you have me thinking about the culture at my school...hmmmm. 

32 comments:

laughinbrunette (Jennifer) said...

Seriously...that would drive me nuts! I would end up saying something...and sounding like a word that rhymes with witch. Our school is a no fly zone- safety, etc. If you are anywhere on our campus, you have to go by the office and get a pass...and they try to prevent any small fly by-s... Of course, I have parents come and participate in class events and help...but it is on my terms and when it is appropriate. But then, that is just me. I am a bit of a control freak. (nahh....who woulda' thought that??)
Jennifer

First Grade Blue SKies

Miss Squirrels said...

We are also a no-fly safety zone- UNLESS you go to the office and get a visitor's pass...which people will do. They will stand in line to sign in, just so they can walk their children to their classes, unpack their bags and get them started for their day.
The minute children get out of a car or off a bus, they are in the building- so this eliminates some HOVERINg....but it's still there.

Staci

Reagan Tunstall said...

We used to be a helicopter school but with new admin we are now a NO FLY ZONE!
Parents got upset. Teachers got happy. Students didn't seem to notice. Parents are learning that we want safe, happy, well adjusted students and teachers. It isn't personal. We just have HUGE academic and safety issues that are more important then making a few people upset. Hopefully in the long run they will understand. It is better for their child to learn that independence from the beginning!
ok stepping off my stool now!!!
Love you both! Two favorite ladies in one post!!! NICE!

Ashley said...

At my old school, a K-2 building, parents would literally walk with their children down to the classroom, help them unpack their backpack, take off their coats (and in winter coats, hats, boots, snowpants, etc.), and walk them into the classroom, taking their folder and lunch for them and placing them where they need to go. Occasionally, the parents even helped students open breakfast. Ridiculous is all I can say! I taught first grade, where they need to begin to be independent. And it drove me nuts to see second graders walk by with parents! It is time to loosen the handhold a tad! This year, I have heard they have a gate keeping parents from coming in. I wonder how well that is working for them?!

Ashley
Live2Learn

Mrs. Smyth said...

I COMPLETELY understand ;) During the first week of school, we actually have the PTO moms and many of the upper el staff int he hall body-blocking parents. They are mostly kinder parents. I'm not sure first grade parents even know where the kids line up! :) The magic fades quickly when they know they will be shoo-ed by caring mom's "who have been there". It saves the kinder teachers from being the bad guys. Since moving to 1st, I only see parents when the volunteer or their child forgets their boots in the hall.
-Michele
New Adventures in First Grade

meadowt said...

I will have to say that this is not acceptable behavior at my school! We have a wonderful office staff that keeps parents at bay!! I don't know how to have put up with that all year!
Barbara
happyteachingfirst.blogspot.com

Jess said...

At my school the parents are allowed inside and they hover around the room. They want mini conferences in the morning and are similar to the parents you describe. I'm glad others have helicopter parents! Love your guest post!
Rambling About Reading

Jen R. @ The Teachers' Cauldron said...

ha!! We have a few helicopters too! We serve the kids breakfasts, and usually that's when we can get rid of them...although some parents take some training! lol

Tiffani Mugurussa said...

I too have helicopters in my room Last year it was a HUGE problem. This year was going fine until after winter break now more parents seem to stay. I have two arrival times 8:15 and 10:00 it is the 10:0 parents that stay. They walk their kids into the room, help them put their things away then sit near them on the carpet. until we finish the whole attendance calendar and pledge routine. They talk to their kids, hug them, wipe their noses. Some even bring in their strollers down my hallway right into the room. I never know if they are there to watch me or their kids. I used to think they wanted to know what we do being that there is often a language barrier, but now I don't know. I have a very rowdy morning group and I think some are worried about their kids safety. I can't blame them. with 32 kids- I'm worried too.

Jill said...

We have the total opposite! Our official supervision time starts at 8:00 and school starts at 8:10. However, when I get to school around 7:35, there are already parents dropping their kids off to just hang out around school unsupervised. It is strange.

On the first day of school, the parent club puts together a little breakfast thing for the new Kindergarten parents so they can hang out in the school building but not hover over their kid. I think it's cute!

Marvelous Multiagers!

Traci said...

We have helicopters .... helicopters that carry their offsprings backpacks, hang them for them, put the lunch in the lunch bucket and put on and take off their jackets for them, too. One particular helicopter thinks it's mighty fine if her offspring runs, jumps and altogether plays on THE TOPS of tables in the quad. Makes me insane. No matter how many times I remind both of them that this is COMPLETELY unacceptable it still happens. Our admin. insists that all parents sign in prior to entering the campus {combat stranger danger}. Our helicopters have absolutely no problem doing that... each and every day they sign in and hang out. They are there through breakfast (which starts at 8) until school starts at 8:48... they do not leave until the last child goes through the classroom door. I only have 2 helicopter parents ... the others belong to other 1st and 2nd grade teachers.

My own children would have died if I hung out with them when they got to school.
Dragonflies in First

Klinger Cafe' said...

You should build a wall like we're going to, and put signs on ALLL the doors that say "you must check in at the office first" This works wonderfully at keeping the helicopters and terrorist at bay. Because helicopters and terrorist of course read and adhere to all signs and and tin walls. Sarcastic laugh inserted here. They of course are the ONLY ones that DON'T.
Tammy


First Grade @ Klinger Cafe

Ms. Chrissy B said...

Yeah, that would make me crazy, too. We don't have that problem (anymore) because of our safety policy, and the coaches who have morning duty and stand in the hallways and send everybody outside if they're not supposed to be there. That's helped.

We have other culture problems. Like parents who seem to not remember they have kids. And don't pick them up from school. Or sign their homework agendas. Or answer the phone when people call them.

You cant win lol
Buzzing with Ms. B

diditeach said...

Too, too funny ! We are DELUGED with helicopters, both before and after school and it drives me crazy every day. Interviews every morning if one catches your eye and then you can't get away. This is Canada with sub zero temps and they just keep talking and talking while I stand there freezing and nodding. Reading what others go through at least makes me smile at the madness :)

Jenn Bates said...

That sounds SO annoying!!!!! We have parents all over the place! One comes at recess and interferes with the discipline if her son. A grandpa comes and FEEDS his 4th grader! Seriously, holds the food to his mouth to ensure he eats. CRAZY TOWN!
Jenn
Finally in First

goofytortuga said...

We used to have helicopters, but then we put in a no helicopter rule for safety. I do see a 4th grade parent daily bring her child's backpack to the door of my neighbor's class.

Our K was really bad, they used to call it the zoo, because the helicopters were not allowed on the K playground, so they would stand outside the gate. The K teachers say something to the parents after 2 weeks (our no helicopter rule was put into place in the middle of the second quarter).

Mrs. Nunley said...

Our school has a no fly zone, but there are always those helicopters who don't think the rules could possibly apply to them. These are also the helicopters of the kiddos who don't follow rules for the same reason!

I really feel for you...your mornings with helicopters flying by, and peeking into your windows would quickly push me over the edge! Can you get blinds?!
-Megan

First Grade Magic

Jodi said...

We definitely have a NO FLY ZONE!! Kindergarten parents are allowed to walk their child back on the first day only and after that, they are strictly cut off. No adult even walks in the doors to the cafeteria without signing in at the office and getting a really bright yellow visitors pass. Then we have teachers stationed in the halls to make sure no parents go back. If we ever see an adult without a pass anytime in the building, we are to stop them and call the office. The administration has even been known to send in "fake" people to make sure we are following this procedure.

Jodi
fun-in-first.blogspot.com

Jill said...

After my comment yesterday, I have to revise what I said.... I had a parent just hanging out in my room for like 10 minutes this morning! Helping her kid take his boots off, hang his backpack up... um, we have been in school now for 129 days. What do you think he has been doing the other 128 days when you didn't help him get ready to start the day???

Marvelous Multiagers!

Christina Bainbridge said...

We have a rope up across our hallway blocking access when it is unwanted! :) It helps... and seems a little crazy now that I'm telling others about it!

Christina
Mrs. Bainbridge's Blog

Sandy said...

Great post!!! I had helicopter parents my first two years if teaching (which was REALLY overwhelming because I was just trying to get my feet under me!) And to have them there, watching and judging ALL the time was awful. Not to mention the poor kids- and I taught 4th grade! Yikes!

Buggy In Kindergarten said...

Okay... so I feel like my comment is about to make me sound really dumb... but I gotta ask anyways. When you say "helicopter" do you literally mean "helicopters"? I realize that schools are different all over... but thats completely different than I could have ever imagined.

If you are just talking about parents who hover, I think our school is really good about this. Although our principal does let parents come in, I usually do not have too many parents come in. Atleast not this year. LAST YEAR, I had a parent who came in at the beginning of the year and was feeding her child breakfast, putting up their backpack, folder, etc. Finally the principal stepped in and told mom this was not appropriate. Thats when older sister started walking him down to class every morning before heading to her class.

Katy said...

I have a particular helicopter mom that can not let go! After encouraging her to let her son be independent and walk down the hall to the classroom each morning, she still seeks in and walks him down the hall trying to avoid me. It has been a long year with her. :)

Katy said...

I have a particular helicopter mom that can not let go! After encouraging her to let her son be independent and walk down the hall to the classroom each morning, she still seeks in and walks him down the hall trying to avoid me. It has been a long year with her. :)

Kim said...

We have a few helicopters at our school, and they band together to walk ALL their children to their classrooms . . . looks like a mini-mob scene headed down the hallways EVERY morning. Of course they sign in and get a visitor's pass in the office first, but then they begin their daily rounds - starting with the older children and working their way down to the kindergarten kiddos. I have one helicopter who walks her child in every morning . . . helps him unpack, put his lunchbox and folder away, then walks him to his table and helps him get seated. All the while, talking to him during the pledge, morning announcements, etc. Drives me CrAzY!!! Up until about 2 weeks ago, he would cry and attach himself to her leg when she got ready to leave - I tried compassion, pulling him off, and telling him his mom would stop walking in with him if he didn't stop treating her that way every morning (which she nodded and said "that's right" to, but apparently didn't get that the message was as much for her as it was for her baby, I mean child. This week I started ignoring them ... just pretend I don't even see them and focus on the INDEPENDENT, normal first graders :)

Meridith said...

My 2nd year of teaching I had 2 helicopters that would stand by my room every single morning and we had a no fly zone rule. They didn't care. They were above the rules and by god you didn't interfere with them. Now we have strict rule but I have 1 parent that gets a pass to the nurse and comes down to talk to me even though she knows she isn't supposed too. I finally complained to my Adminstrators and she stopped it. She can't even go visit the nurse anymore because she abused her privileges.

Basia said...

This year I have a different sort of opposite. Uninvolved parents. Parents leave their Kinders at the library and we pick up our kiddos their. But I rarely see parents and do not connect, even conferences are poor. This year I would be blessed/happy to have SOME helicopter parents. Your blessed they ARE involved.=)

Staci said...

This made me laugh, Kristin. I take my oldest (4 yrs old) to story time at the library and we call those parents that never sit down and stare at their child through the small glass window on the door helicopter parents- haha :)
-Staci
Let's Teach Something

AthenaPhoenix said...

We let the helicopters fly until after Labor Day (we start school in early August). Then we have Independence Week where we stress that we are teaching independence and responsibility and their sweet little darlings WILL make it to the classroom. After that week, they are grounded to the entrance and not beyond.

Mrs.Cook said...

Kristin,

We have that same thing! We have a "policy" that no one can come down until 7:55 even though school starts at 8:00 we even have a temporary wall that was pushed aside so many times they don't even put it out any more! You are not alone! I put a note on my door and stated the time but then the hover parents would knock on the door!!!! If you come up with a solution I would love to hear it!

Ashley

http://firstgradesmartcookies.blogspot.com

kris-pinka said...

Our school was the same way until there was a shooting a mile away and we as a staff took an anonymous vote and over 90% said they would like them closed for safety. This was after teachers did research and found crime statistics and found out how many registered sex offenders lived within a mile radius.

Corinna Gandara said...

Wow, I thought my school was the only one with this problem!! I used to have parents walk their child into my class unpack everything, put their homework in the basket, go to their seats, clean out their desks and even start their morning work for them!! This is common throughout our whole school, there is no way to stop parents because our school is all portables(Hawaii). I finally wrote a letter and sent it home on the very first day of school asking parents to drop their students off at the door. If they needed to talk with me they could set up a conference time, call me after school or email me. Needless to say I am a very unpopular teacher with parents, lol!! But, I smile as my class begins the day quietly while I see several parents hovering in the neighboring classes!!

Corinna
Surfin' Through Second