Diana Toma is an artist and the mother of a pre-schooler and a second-grader who attends a public school in Atlanta, Georgia – a school which encourages parents to volunteer at least 10 hours a year. Before they moved to Atlanta, her daughter had attended an alternative school in Brooklyn, New York, where there was no curriculum, homework, or grades and where the focus was on play. Diana, who hails from Romania, writes here about her experiences talking with her new daughter’s teacher about homework and education.
When Parents and Teachers Work Together, Our Lives are Easier
by Diana Toma
When I went to meet my daughter’s teacher at the new school, I have to admit I was going with some preconceived ideas. Everybody at the Brooklyn alternative school had told me that public schools are to be avoided like some sort of “educational hell on earth.” I was scared to have those opinion confirmed. Plus I was afraid that the teacher would judge me because my daughter was “behind” in many of the skills that the public school students in Georgia had.
When I sat down with her and had a conversation, I was pleasantly surprised that she was willing and ready to listen to what I had to say. I told her where my daughter is coming from. The teacher told me that she hadn’t ever had any contact with alternative schools, and she asked me questions about it and listened carefully to what I had to say. I quickly got that she was really interested in who my daughter is and what methods would work or not with her. After all, that is all I could ever wish from any teacher!