Date: January 11, 2020 04:22PM
My wife taught in Utah prior to her law school graduation. She found it difficult to get parents to contribute anything. It was most frustrating when the requested item was a leftover container from some common household product that anyone should have been able to procure with sufficient notice. It would have been a real hassle for my wife to gather thirty-two of the items - whatever they were - but it should have been no big deal for each set of parents to come up with one of such an item. Even if it was a product their family didn't have or use, with a month's notice and sufficient hype, one would have thought that all but a few children would have brought them. I don't remember all of the items she requested, but I remember that she needed one two-liter soda bottle for each child for some project, and she needed a cylindrical container for each child so that the children could make drums.
With the two-liter soda bottles, in my wife's first year of teaching, by the day before the project was to be started, just under half of her thirty-two kindergartners had brought them. We don't drink much soda, and what we do doesn't come in two-liter bottles because it goes flat too quickly for my wife's tastes, but my wife went door-to-door in our apartment complex to solicit another dozen bottles or so. If my recollection is correct, my wife had to buy four two-liter bottles of soda. She poured the contents down the drain because neither of us wanted to drink it. In retrospect, I feel embarrassed for my part in this drama, because we were quite poor at the time, and I gave my wife a bit of he!! for having spent over five dollars on two-liter soda bottles. (After the first year, my mom, sisters, and and sisters-in-law collected the items my wife needed for her classroom.)
For the drum project, it should have been really easy. Each child needed a cylindrical container. It could be a recycled oatmeal box, formula container, shortening can, coffee can (more about that one later), ice cream carton - basically any rounded container with a flat top and bottom that was large enough for the child to strike the surface. Three of my dad's old Metamucil containers were used. The containers didn't really even have to be round. One kid used a large Hershey's Cocoa powder container, which reportedly worked fine.
One snooty Molly (this was in Utah County; my wife, with her Cuban coloring, stood out like a sore thumb, and some of the snobbier mothers were less than thrilled with the idea of their children being in her class) actually said to my wife that the children should not need to bring in their own containers; she (my wife) should just bring her own empty coffee cans. The lady made some sort of slur about Cubans and their excessive love of coffee. For the record, Jillian has consumed the better part of one cup of coffee in her entire life. It gave her such a severe case of vomiting and diarrhea than she never cared to drink it again. At that point I was in just my second year of medical school, which is before the really crazy medical school hours begin. I didn't discover coffee until Year 3. At that point, despite Jillian's nevermo status and my jackmo status, there had never been as much as a single can of coffee in our apartment, at least in the time we lived there.
Collecting two dollars per child for the class party was even worse. Several mothers told my wife their children were exempt from contributing to class parties because their children were eligible for free lunches through the federal lunch program. The very neediest families, my wife said, were usually the very first to contribute. The ones who gave my wife the most resistance in terms of either funding class parties or providing items for projects were typically stay=at-home moms whose husbands were students at either BYU or UVU.they were mostly living on student loans, and they probably didn't have tons of cash to spare. Had I been in their situation -actually I WAS in their situation - I wouldn't have produced the two to six children most of them had until I was finished with school. I certainly wouldn't have expected my children's teachers to come up with the supplies they needed or to fund their share of class parties.
My wife said that had the children been older, she might have considered allowing only those who brought their two-liter bottles, cylindrical containers, or whatever was needed, to do the projects, and possibly would have considered not allowing the deadbeats to partake of party food, but that's not something most teachers would do to really young students. They would never understand, and it certainly wasn't their fault.
We understood that most of my wife's students had multiple siblings in school and that all of the teachers were making some demands. That's one reason my wife always made requests for any items she needed well in advance, and why she announced the requested fees for class parties at Back-to-School night and in a written communication sent home the first week of school - so that, if necessary, they could plan their budget to accommodate the two dollars per child.
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/11/2020 04:28PM by scmd1.