Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing

  Gabrielle started back to school today, her first day as a big fourth grader. She was so excited she didn’t even remember to kiss me goodbye, and I waited until she was out of sight to cry with joy shed a tear because I’d miss her so.

The day flew by, and when she came home I opened her backpack to see what mound of paperwork awaited me. Seems they have cut down a bit this year, and all I found instead was the list of class rules and  procedure. It took me a minute to realize what was so different about this years list over previous ones…This one was THREE full pages long! Whoa! What on earth could be so important?

The teacher has no kids of her own.

Seems like an odd conclusion to come to over a 3 page list, right? It wasn’t the length my friends, but the content. Half of it was not classroom rules, but things that we as parents should be doing at home. Cute, idealistic little ditties like these…


# 14.  Allow your child to help in the kitchen. This will help with their math skills and reinforce ideas like weighing and measuring.

#18. Read with your child every night.

#19. Take your child shopping with you so they can learn about budgeting and counting money.

# 21. (I shit you not) Include your child in conversations, and do not be afraid to use words you feel they may not understand, this will help increase their vocabularies.

Anyone else shaking their heads right now?  🙄

Aside from the fact that I actually do know she has no children, it was glaringly obvious the minute she suggests we should encourage our children to be in the kitchen with us. Trust me, Gabrielle often volunteers to “help” me, and when I do let her, she sits and asks a million questions, second-guesses the way I do things,  spills things, and more often than not ends up fighting with her brothers over who gets to hold the items. The only thing she’s learned thus far is how high she needs to reach over her brother’s head as he screams so he can’t reach the egg precariously balanced in her hand. Will that improve her math skills?

As for the others, I can only assume she has never tried to spend an evening helping with homework, making dinner, cleaning up, bathing and showering three children and getting two of them down as to spend 30 minutes of ‘quality time’ with a child who would much rather be playing her latest Pokemon game. She has been reading on her own since Kindergarten, and has not since expressed a desire for me to read books along with her.

And as far as the taking her shopping, been there, done that, got the t-shirt. It was such a wonderful experience taking three kids shopping that I fully intend to offload them onto said teacher one afternoon so SHE can enjoy the educational excursion for herself.  How do you think the sweet-but-clueless one would do with a 9 year old and very active 4 and 2 year olds for an hour and a half in Walmart?

I’d bet money that one would never again show up on her suggested list of rules! 😉

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15 thoughts on “Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing

  1. Hmmm, yeah, a bit unrealistic me thinks. I had to laugh at the kitchen thing. Yes, she obviously doesn’t have kids, because kids learn how to “help” in the kitchen a lot earlier than fourth grade!


  2. It’s the same all over teachers with no children of their own telling us what we should be doing as parents. Unfortunately as they do not have the parenting experience they cannot see how unworkable their suggestions are.
    I do the supermarket shop on my own, I love the peace & quiet, I dawdle through it taking my time, it is heaven, hell, it’s almost a vacation.
    I’ve tried doing it with the kids in tow but I don’t have enough eyes to look in all the directions I need to, I find things in my trolley I didn’t put there & I’m embarassed & ashamed that my usually well behaved kids have been the kids from hell & demolished a supermarket aisle by aisle. Sod the maths help I’m sticking to going on my own


  3. As someone on the teaching side of things, i sympathize with the teacher a little. Maybe in past years she has had parents who have asked for help re-enforcing what their child is learning at school. I know its hard to believe, but not every parent is hands on. There are lots of parents out there that think kids just learn, that there is no re-enforcement needed, and when they get their child’s report card, they are furious, bitching at why their child has a D in math. I’m here to tell ya that the percentage of kids that learn by osmosis is slim to none. Cut the teacher some slack, you never know where the path she is walking came from…


  4. Just to clarify, I REALLY like the teacher, she is Gabrielle’s student teacher from last year in fact! 🙂 The post is meant to be very tongue in cheek, hope that was clear! 😀


  5. I’m with Sara on this one. That letter could never be written by someone who has children. Voluntarily take them shopping with me? Are you mad? Just stick a fork in my eye.

    If a child is showing signs of struggling in a subject, perhaps then would be the time for a parent to send a note home saying Johnny is having trouble with such and such subject in school…here are some ideas that might help him grasp the subject from home.

    I mean, I certainly don’t presume to tell the teacher how to do HER job until she approaches me with a concern over my child or there is something glaringly obvious going on that I need to step in for. Then I’ll offer some suggestions of ways I think might help her reach and understand my kid.


  6. What’s this about including children in conversations? You mean I am supposed to TALK TO THEM???!!??


    This teacher must not only be childless, but brand new. Most parents had this stuff covered WAY before fourth grade.

    Thanks for sharing. This is incredibly funny!


  7. Just a reminder…not all the parents in the classroom will have it as put together as <i>we</i> think we do, know what I’m sayin’?
    On the flip side…I thought the pointers sounded remniscent of those offered up by my pediatrician’s well-child check brochure for ages 2-3.
    Finally – here would be my counters to the items:
    #14 – not in my kitchen. Mommy doesn’t use recipes, and unless math now has variables such as a pinch and a dash, well my kids lose out on the math lesson. Life skills, however, yes…
    #18 – better yet, by the time they are in 4th grade, he/she should be reading to YOU at night.
    #19 – More like learning socioeconomical politics, like why Mommy refuses to shop at Wal-Mart. Budgeting…what’s that?
    #21 – oh, so completely guilty. My hubs loves to tell the story about the time I used the word “intuitive” to a Sunday school class of 5th graders, and the blank look of confusion that it earned me.


  8. Well meaning, sure….but it almost seems as if she thinks parents are clueless about how to raise children. I feel fairly confident in saying these are already things that most parents do.
    Not sure if the form requires a signature but you should send it back and right “DUH” in big red letters.


  9. I am new to reading your blog, but just after reading THIS LINE:

    “fully intend to offload them onto said teacher one afternoon so SHE can enjoy the educational excursion for herself. ”

    I can say that you have a new reader that will return (anxiously) to see what you have written next.

    … Im off to stalk previous entries.


  10. Oh so I’m not supposed to still use baby talk with my fourth-grader because her vocabulary might not improve? I’ll make a note of that for when my child is in grade four. Sure dodged a bullet there…


  11. All I have to say is AMEN!!! Its impossible to cook with kids in the kitchen. I didnt have a problem letting Taylor go to 4th grade but I did start bawling on the first day when Kyle left to go to 6th.


  12. Oh very funny Sara- at least the teacher still think parents have an impact, though. Sometimes it seems like only the young ones value our input at all….


  13. Wow, you nailed that one. I have a 4th grader (and a kindergartener, a 2nd grader and a 7th grader), and I can’t think of anything I would like to do less than shop with them. Unless it is to let them help me cook. Or maybe walk on coals! I just want to get thru the mundane things in peace, and enjoy the fun stuff with them. We don’t start school until next week, but when they do, watch out! You will not be able to pry me out of starbucks, nor wipe the smile from my face!


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