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Type-A Twitch – Part 3, Permission Slips

April 23, 2008

Aside from the disorganization of the movie field trip, and the play and practice scheduling, the field trip forms this year are killing me. Seriously.

The most recent field trip “issue” happened right after Daphne came home from a few days of Outdoor Education. The kiddos left on a Monday and came back on Wednesday afternoon. They were exhausted. The spent the whole three days getting back to nature, taking hikes, learning about astronomy, doing ropes courses, talking wilderness survival lingo, bunking with their friends, and staying up way too late.

And the preparation it took for this deal? Unbelievable. We had to go to a mandatory parent meeting two months ago and we’ve spent what feels like every waking moment since then looking for all of the things Daphne would need to pack in order to go–wool socks (multiple pairs of them), snow boots (long after snow-boot season), new sneakers, and the gazillion pairs of gloves we’ve purchased in the last six months but couldn’t find. We shopped, we searched, we compromised and bought some cotton blend socks because wool were long gone, we cursed the number of sporting goods stores out there with no snow boots left. We finally got it all packed… and on Monday when we dropped her off, we breathed a sigh of relief.

Needless to say, when they all finally returned on the bus on Wednesday, and we could get her a little early from school and just hang out with her, we were excited for that. My Hubby picked her up and they went out for some one-on-one time at a local restaurant, just a Daddy/daughter date. It was nice. She told him all about her experiences and, though she was tired, she had a blast. As My Hubby conveyed all of this over the phone later, it sounded like everything had gone just as expected. I thought the school had redeemed itself.

Then? At 8:00pm, as we were all snuggled on the couch, winding down from long work days, long school days, and full bellies, Daphne made an announcement.

“Oh yeah. Did the assistant principal call you?”

“Um, no,” I replied, immediately wondering what on earth the assistant principal and I would need to discuss. Daphne is a star student with zero in the way of behavioral issues at school. A thousand things ran through my mind, but I couldn’t make any of them fit. I looked at My Hubby. He shook his head, too. No phone call.

“Well, she said she would because I have a field trip tomorrow.”

“You do?” I asked, incredulous. “Right after you just got back from Outdoor Ed?”

“Yeah,” she continued. “It’s for my Math competition. It’s at a school way down south.”

I nodded.

“And I have to be there at 6:30 in the morning.”


“Oh, and I need a lunch. Let me go get the permission slip.”

I saw the school’s redemption grow wings and fly up and out the window. Seriously? They scheduled a field trip for a bunch of kids that had just gotten back from Outdoor Ed the day prior? And they had to be at the school at 6:30 in the morning? With a lunch in hand? And they didn’t send the permission slip home even the week before? What on earth were they thinking?

In their defense, I know this competition is a statewide thing, so I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt on the scheduling part. I imagine this whole deal had been scheduled many moons ago. But I also know that the folks managing the math competition at our school likely knew about it many moons ago.

Why wait until they have an exhausted sixth grader on their hands to send home a field trip permission form? Especially when somebody has to be at the school to drop Daphne off at 6:30 in the morning? Surely we’re not the only family with multiple kids and two parents working. Do they think that everyone can just rearrange whatever schedule they have to accommodate that? Do they understand that not everyone has a flexible work arrangement like I do? That a lot of folks would have had to submit schedule changes a week in advance?

As I made a mad dash to the grocery store, at 8:30 at night, to pick up stuff for a cold lunch, I wondered what exactly these people were teaching my kids. I appreciate very much all that they’re learning in their classrooms, but I wish the teachers and staff understood that their actions teach our kids volumes, too. If they’re disorganized, the kids emulate that. If they have no concern for the families and their schedules, neither will the kids. If they’re consistently late with things and wreak havoc on our best laid plans, the kids will think that’s normal, despite our best efforts to teach them planning and forethought.

I’m just not alright with that.

Maybe the principal and I need to have a little meeting.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. April 23, 2008 6:59 am

    It does sound as though things are way out of hand with this school’s lack of organization. Maybe a meeting with the principal would do some good. At least it would focus some attention on this consistently late, disorganized, devil-may-care attitude that produces such mayhem.

    If you don’t say something…who will?

    You’re right, the kids will emulate what they are taught…it goes far beyond the academic.

  2. Tulip Girl permalink
    April 23, 2008 7:48 am

    Ditto on my last comment regarding this school…

  3. April 23, 2008 9:47 am

    That is crazy. I know some schools are overcrowded and/or understaffed, but still – this kind of thing is beyond ridiculous.

    My sister is scrambling to catch up: her 6 year old daughter is going to receive an award for an creating an awesome Earth Day poster. She is being honored at City Hall next week. No one called or told my sister, she found out while digging through her daughter’s bag. When she called the principal, he told her, “Oh yea, we would’ve contacted you next week.”


    P.S. The school is Pre-K and Kindergarten only.

  4. Kelly permalink
    April 23, 2008 1:47 pm

    Ouch! I would have been one crabby parent getting late notice like that. I would definitely contact the school because if nobody says anything…. well, silence is agreement.

    My kids’ school has always been very organized with field trips so I am feeling pretty appreciative after reading these posts. My daughter’s fifth grade teacher is the QUEEN (more like seargeant)of field trips. The class has had a lot of very educational, really awesome field trips. But if you volunteer, and EVERYONE will, you had better be prepared for Mrs. A’s field trip boot camp. She has a list of students assigned to each parent, a list of behavioral do’s and don’ts each parent must enforce, has every detail planned right down to the minute, and even has bathroom breaks planned in. No deviations allowed! In fact…. tomorrow they go to a battlefield site and its museum. Today in class they compiled a list of questions that need answering while they are there. I’m not going on this one. I was at the last one to the water department and waste water treatment plant(lucky me) where….. knowing it would get loud in the plant, she carried around ,and used, her bull horn to keep order! I wish she would have remembered face masks for the smell!

  5. April 23, 2008 3:03 pm

    Oh sakes, don’t you just hate that?!? I really resent the whole “lack of planning on your part just made an emergency on my part” kind of thing. Seriously…it’s like my lame-o lab partner at school. I’m 37 and am used to having a VERY ORDERLY and SCHEDULED routine. Put a wrench in and I just might bite your head off!

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