Am I just stupid or am I too dumb to figure it out?
I try, oh, how I try..
It’s the end of the year. We’re coming up to Christmas concert season. I’ve been asking Rebekk what she’s been practicing for the concert and she’s answered, “I don’t know.“
Well, it’s gratifying to know that eight year olds today aren’t any more expressive than they were back when I was eight, right?
Well, no biggie. I’ve known for a while that the concert at my kids’ school was scheduled for tonight.
The downside: I’ve been going full bore at work trying to get a client set up and happy before Christmas so I can get out of town for a while after Christmas. I’m putting in longer-than-usual hours and forgetting any aberrance outside of my regular schedule. Yeah, there’s been a couple of balls dropped that wouldn’t have happened at a normal time.
So I put out an extra effort to ensure that I left work on time to get home, get the car and my Lady-love, and head down there with plenty of time to get a seat instead of being wedged up against the back wall again as I have the previous two years. A quick scan of the web page to check the time and I’m off:
Dec. 21 - Last day of school; Christmas Concert 7:00 - 8:30 pm; Winter Break begins - return Monday, Jan. 8, 2007
Coolness - I have enough time to be down there half an hour early. Notice there’s even less chairs out than last year. Find a spot. Sit down. Read the pamphlet. Lots on the Grade 5’s through 9’s, nothing on my daughter’s class. Nothing on my son’s class either. That’s….. curious….
Go to the office. No one there. Walk back to the gym, and I see the principal. That’s when I get it confirmed, only Grades 5 through 9 are having a Christmas Concert. My daughter will have a spring concert. Sometime in the spring, I gather.
There is a certain sense of logic here. Note that I said above that the past two years I was plastered against the back wall with the mayhem that was a full school Christmas concert. Halving the school means more tolerable seating arrangements for viewing. Breaking it down into Winter and Spring concerts has a definite appeal from a logistical standpoint for the teachers and organizers. It sucks if you’re one of those that has to see their kid perform a Christmas program, but I’m an ol’ Humbug and I’m more interested in seeing the kids put on a performance. Being a big fan of what their band teacher does, I’d rather see him do something amazing with the kids and have them do something really cool and creative as opposed to another ho-hum Christmas play no one in the back can hear in the first place.
My beef lies in the realization that I’m not at the school on a day-to-day basis and I’m simply not “in the loop” of details that get taken for granted. It’s great that everyone at the school knows the Grade 5 through 9 classes are doing the Christmas concert this year, but I’m not at the school!
On the upcoming events, it’s listed as the Christmas concert. I thought I was covered. After coming home in frustration from feeling like an afterthought, I discover my mistake.
Open the monthly pdf newsletter, and right there, in plain sight, at the top of the right hand column of page 3 of a 5 page document (page 4 appears to be blank and page 5 is a standard CBE boilerplate page) in plain type.
Winter Celebration of the Arts
[non-descript photo of a Christian choir with festive decorations behind them]
Everyone is invited to attend the Celebration of the Arts of students in Grade 5 - 9 Complimentary Courses. This will take place in the gym on December 21st from 7:00 to 8:30. Please come and celebrate with your sons and daughters.
Ah. I need to open the pdf, scroll to the penultimate paragraph of meaningful content, and although I don’t really know what “Complimentary Courses” consist of, I can certainly figure out that Grade 5 - 9 will likely exclude my children and by association understand that I probably wouldn’t have to exert too much energy to watch my children perform a concert since they won’t be there. Probably.
My priorities don’t appear to match the priorities of the newsletter.
So I pose a question: What do non-custodial parents have to do in order to stay in touch with their children’s schools so they can be informed with the events they consider significant? How does a non-custodial parent balance relentless questioning without becoming invasive and disruptive to the school environment? How about from custodial parents: Do you drop the kids off and pick ‘em up at the end of the day, or do you have a relationship with the teachers and school administration so you actually get contact and regular information?
I don’t get notes and memos sent home from school. Even when the newsletter has news and information, it doesn’t necessarily prove to be inciteful. I’m at wit’s end since I feel I acted as responsibly as possible to stay informed and participate. Yes, I should have opened the pdf. On the other hand, I shouldn’t have to weed out the one sentence at the back of the newsletter to find out what is happening.
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