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.
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
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.