Recently I also joined the parents with schoolchildren. Last year Stefan started class 0. I chose a school that is close to home, of course, and which happens to be one of the top schools in Bucharest. Although I had another school in the area on the list, I decided to give it here, because many of his kindergarten colleagues were going to go here as well. We thought he was a smart boy, but he gets bored quickly and being the top school will keep him active.
What I did not know is that this school comes with absurd pretensions. The first year, the preparatory class was a recapitulation of the knowledge acquired in kindergarten, and with the pretension that the little ones could read PERFECTLY. On top of that, I knew I was going to school for that, to learn! But, it looks like I was wrong. Stefan knew how to read but he read very slowly and did not understand what he was reading. After a few insistent messages from the teacher, I said ok, let’s get to work. So, we started reading a page from his storybooks every day. After a few days I noticed with amazement that the sound groups were not taught at school: ce, ci, che, chi etc, and after asking this question to the teacher I received a very casual answer such as: „No, no they still learned them, but with a little help I am convinced that they will manage! ”. Ok, let’s understand that it was a pandemic, that it has been half a year online, that it has been difficult for both children and teachers and parents need to get involved and provide support. Thus, by the end of the holiday, Stefan could read fluently and understand what he had read.
The preparatory class ended successfully, overcoming the small obstacles and I reached the first grade. Here we start another fun. Children will learn to write with a pen and will have homework. Okay, okay, it seems normal so far. What does not seem normal to me is that, again, no one showed the children how to hold the pen correctly in their hands, so that they do not scratch the sheet with a pen and it is difficult for them to write. Again, I said to go beyond this moment, to understand that the pandemic imposes limits, and I showed him, through emails, phones and contracts how to do this. The child was amazed at how easy it can be to write when you hold the pen in your hand. The moment I was shocked and wondered why he was still going to school!
After the first week of school, accommodation and recapitulation and homework began to arrive. Themes, over themes, over themes…. Why? Because the school has a lot of children enrolled, several classes were held so that they could all receive them and so the hours were reduced from 50 minutes to 35. 35 minutes ????? What can a teacher teach, no matter how good it is, and how much can the children retain, no matter how attentive, in 35 minutes? This of course translates into several homework assignments, to be able to keep up with the compulsory school curriculum, to go through all the subjects. Of course, the discussions between the parents, the complaints and the grievances started and I decided that it would be best to have a meeting with the teacher to reach a common denominator. However, at the meeting, no parent was dissatisfied with the time spent by their children doing homework (at least 2 hours a day, after school), but we assumed that we chose a top school, with pretensions. I’m sorry, but a top school means well-trained teachers and teachers who know how to approach children, who know how to teach the subject in an attractive way, so that children retain as much of the class as possible. A top school means that it assumes the training of children at the highest level, not that it accepts a number of children far beyond their capacity and shortens their learning time. At the moment, I consider this school to be top notch because the children are very intelligent and their parents support them at home with after-school, meditation or their own homework and iron discipline. Or it doesn’t seem normal to me!
It doesn’t seem normal for a 7-year-old to be stressed that he doesn’t have time to finish homework for the next day!
It doesn’t seem normal for a 7-year-old to not have time to go out, play, or enjoy other extracurricular activities.
It doesn’t seem normal for parents to teach their children at home what they should learn in school! This forces parents to work less, or work at night, or get help from relatively young grandparents who still have the strength and patience to do homework with their grandchildren, or to make more money so they can send the child to meditation or after. -school. Why?
Why does a „top” school take credit for the work of the children who study there, or of the parents who invest time and money in their training? Why is the right to education now a privilege for those who want to go to school and learn from school what they normally should? Where are we going?