I was just getting the hang of being a parent. My son was three. He could talk and somewhat dress himself, and I thought: “it’s smooth sailing from here on in, baby!”
And then, it was time to register him for school in Junior Kindergarten.
I discovered a whole new pile of things to worry about that I never even thought about before. What was going to happen with his food allergies; what was going to happen with his meds? What if he had bullies? Was he potty trained enough? Cause sometimes he still had to be reminded.
Things were made 1000 times more nightmarish by articles in the paper. We’re talking things that I wouldn’t have been able to hallucinate while in the middle of a spiritual quest out in the Mojave Desert after a 5 day fast in a sweat-bath. Six-year-olds are getting hit with lawsuits and restraining orders for sneaking kisses with girls! Teachers in the states being “naughty!” People still fighting over whether Pluto qualifies as a planet!
Surviving the next 13 years suddenly looked like an uphill battle.
I pored over the standardized test results of all the schools within spitting distance of my district. My husband’s pessimistic opinion was, “the test is useless. All they do is teach to the test.” And my response was, “So what. They all teach to the test. So I may as well find one that teaches it well!” Because I worried. At the age of 4, my son read well past the level of a child in second grade, although his comprehension took a hit sometimes with more complex subjects and when there were fewer pictures.
We’re insane like this. As moms, we all have varying opinions on how smart we want our kids to be. We worry that if they’re too smart they’ll have social problems, but then all moms will also universally agree that they don’t want their kid described as “not the sharpest crayon in the box.”
Me, I’m aiming for raising my own version of Calvin.
We study teachers like a 10-year-old studies an ant with a magnifying glass. As parents, we want to do right by our kids because in the haze of adult amnesia, what invariably we do remember about being a kid is either the best stuff ever or the worst. We all had those teachers. Some were absolutely, incredibly awesome and had a huge impact on our lives… or we remember them with vivid, excruciating detail for less pleasant reasons.
Since I’m S-M-R-T like this, I didn’t realize that the Ontario College of Teachers actually makes it easy for the public to read up on your kid’s teachers. Teachers in publicly funded schools in Ontario must be both certified to teach in the province and be members of the College, which both regulates the profession and acts as a portal for the public.
You can search for your child’s teacher and see their record; it gives you the teacher’s whole education history even including special classes the teacher may have taken to update their education! You can see their professional standards that they ask member teachers to adhere to, find out how to file a complaint if you have a concern with a teacher, find out about their public awareness initiative, and sign up for their quarterly newsletter to stay up to date on news about teacher licensing, education and other things of importance to the profession that impact you and your children.
And now, with my son about to graduate Kindergarten and head into the first grade in the fall, I can stop worrying quite as much about finding out who is responsible for all the things he’s learning. There’s an easier way to look it up.
Disclosure: I was compensated by the OCT in exchange for this post, but no word of a lie, when I was asked if I knew I could look up teachers online, I was like: YOU CAN?! So I was happy to go along with participating in the public education awareness campaign. I learned something that could have saved me a huge headache, and now you can learn from me and save your aspirin for other headaches, like trying to teach your know-it-all kid to tie their shoes.
I had no idea that was even a thing. I don’t think we have it here either, but it would be great if we did. As a homeschooler, I understand looking at the tests, trying to decide what to do, what to teach, etc. There is a difficult balance. So nice that you can look up your teachers (when they aren’t you)!!
Foxy Wine Pocket says
Wow. That’s a pretty impressive service. I wish we had one like that in California.
Drama Queen's Momma says
I think it is GREAT that you can check up on teachers so easily! I don’t think we have that here in the U.S., but now I want to check into it! Also, I can relate to all the “fears” that go along with choosing the “perfect” school for your “perfect” child! I did all those things too…found the perfect school and sent my overly intelligent child in. It was perfect…until the school’s principal retired and a new one came in. Big downward spiral. Needless to say, I am glad that I only have one child left in that school (one is now in high school and one is entering junior high in the fall) and I will be starting the search for “perfection” all over again this next year, so when my sweet, little, baby girl, Brennan starts kindergarten in a year, we can worry all over again! 🙂
Kristen Mae of Abandoning Pretense says
I wish we had that here in the US. It would never pass though, there would be such extreme opposition. Don’t even GET ME STARTED, Anne. 😉 xoxo
Food Retro says
Chris G says
Wow, I had no idea. Being the father of 3 I have had all the same worries. Its nice to know you can get a glimpse into who is teaching or kids.
Food Retro says
Wow, three’s a handful! Hope the information helps 🙂
WriterMom Angela says
Wait…Junior Kindergarten?? Is that what the rest of the world calls Preschool?? Registering kids for school is always an anxiety ridden thing for me, year after year!
Food Retro says
Haha, it may have been that way before Angela, but Kindergarten (junior and senior) are full on school at my son’s school! There’s a lot of play based learning, but the kids are taught reading and writing, rhyming, basic math, and our teacher has been doing artist studies with them, where they mimic various styles when they paint! My son knows what pointillism is! It’s crazy!
Jenn @youpinspireme says
I worked in a Registrar’s Office in a university that has a teacher’s college. Um, I KNOW that there are some FREAKING AMAZING teachers out there, because I’ve had a LOT of them. But…based on my interactions with hundreds of prospective teachers… heaven help me, I want to homeschool my child. I’m gonna bookmark the links above, though, because I know I’ll want to check into the teachers when I DO send him to school in 3 years. 🙂
Lesley Donaldson-Reid says
Some really helpful info! I’ll add in the TDSB special needs report: http://www.tdsb.on.ca/Portals/0/Elementary/docs/SpecED/SpecED_EducationReport.pdf.
However it doesn’t tell you the amount of fighting you need to do to get support (each year!). I also suggest parents join their school’s parent council. It raised my awareness about the school’s needs and helped me shape its community.