Monday, February 15, 2010

What Do You Think About This?

Westchase teachers learn a lesson: Say 'no' to mints in pill bottles

What two fourth-grade teachers at Westchase Elementary School apparently thought was a creative way to calm students about to take the FCAT made at least one caregiver fear the teachers were sending a different message – that taking drugs while under stress is OK.

Sandy Young walked into her grandson's fourth-grade classroom last Thursday and saw pill bottles on each students' desk. Her mind raced with questions and thoughts of disbelief.

Young said she immediately questioned Westchase Elementary fourth-grade teacher Beth Watson about the pill bottles, which were filled with pieces of small mint candy.

"She said it was nothing but some mints; it was just something special for the kids, for the FCAT to mellow them out," Young said.
The teachers were just trying to use a creative way to get across to the students not to be stressed with the FCAT writing examination that will be administered to fourth-, eighth- and 10th-graders beginning today, Cobbe said.

"Elementary teachers do creative things to make learning fun," Cobbe said.

The teachers won't be disciplined, and it wasn't their intention to promote drug use, Cobbe said.

"I know that is not the intent of the teachers," Cobbe said. "That is not the outcome they would wish for."

What do you think? Is this okay? Is it promoting a culture of taking a pill to solve our problems? Is it just teachers being creative? What would your reaction be if it were your child?


Brooke said...

You'd think that with extremist "zero tolerance" policies that this wouldn't have been attempted!

Probably inappropriate, but not the end of the world, IMO.

Anonymous said...

It teaches/reinforces in children the idea that they need a crutch to see them through stressful times.

Very inappropriate ... and the teachers should have known better. But we should not imagine that students receive 'good modeling' at our public schools, any more than they do at home in most cases.

Mustang out

cube said...

I thought it was inappropriate, but not surprising considered the state of education in this country. They should've had the kids do jumping jacks instead of teaching them to use a crutch.

Miss T.C. Shore said...

What would the reaction have been if, instead of a "pill" (mint), the students would have been given something that might have actually helped them... specifically a Bible verse that said "Cast your cares on Him because he cares for you." Would that have calmed their nerves? Possibly.

LASunsett said...

Unbelievable. Like we don't have enough trouble getting kids to learn and perform.

Reminds me of the old comedy skit on that show they had in the 80s, called Fridays. This is the one about the pharmacist who take a pill for everything.

Got tough test tomorrow? Take a pill.

Boss riding you at work? Take a pill.

Best friend runs off with your spouse? Take a pill.

Kids acting out and nowhere to turn for help? Take a pill.

Someone you know and love has a terminal disease? Take a pill.

Got a hangnail? Take a pill.

But this isn't the ironic part. That comes with the school systems, themselves. Just let a kid be caught with Tylenol on school grounds and see what happens next.

Chuck said...

Thanks all, good comments. I think there is another underlying issue here.

My kids take the MEAP's, same thing basically. Every year the teachers have the kids all stressed out about this test because the schools get graded statewide based on the results. They teach the kids how to take the test, they talk to them about getting sleep the night before, and they cover what is on the test so that they are prepared. Most districts even have a full time "MEAP's Coordinator" to help the school prepare for the test.

This all really pisses me off to no end. I have even been so mad that I have considered keeping my kids (who help them keep their scores up) out for the tests.

Why am I angry? Because the schools already are staffed with MEAP's coordinators, we call them teachers. If they would teach them what they need to throughout the year they would not have to worry about the tests, it would just be another day. Instead they focus on the test and ignore the irony that the whole thing is supposed to be about education.

Brooke, good point. I don't think it's the end of the world but not appropriate

Mustang, I certainly don't send my kids to school to learn morals

Cube, or maybe learn to read?

TC, positive reinforcement?

LA, it is a societal problem. Have a problem, we have a pill for that.

Z said...

why'd they have to be in pill bottles? that is weird.

And I agree with you about the MEAPS COORDINATORS (why is the teacher not enough?), Chuck..and the pressure. These days, they also have people for the SATs...they tell you what to expect, give practice tests, etc...the huge expectations are more pressure kids don't need.....

Karen Howes said...

Personally, I think the school overreacted bigtime.

I'm actually more bothered by the stupid FCAT and the fact that it stresses little kids out to the point that the teacher would feel she has to do this.

Always On Watch said...

I have no problem with the mints per se. But in pill bottles? Nope, that's the wrong message.

You made a good point about the focus on the tests. Of course, teachers are under pressure that their students perform well. Administration is at fault there as well as in not providing a good curriculum for teachers to implement all year round.

Anonymous said...

Of course Mustang is quite correct... it is encouraging a crutch, Cube is correct, what ever happened to using physical activity to reduce stress prior to the exam??? And I do think Karen has a point, perhaps there is a lot of piling on stress over performance leading up to the exam. Learning used to be a mind and body thing. Strengthen both, try to make it fun as opposed to an exercise in frustration, and the performance improves. If I still had young children, they wouldn't set foot in a public school. The priorities have become totally skewed!!!


Chuck said...

Z, it is frustrating. I can only think "just teach them for God's sake"

Karen, they focus too much on these tests

AOW, I agree it's not entirely the fault of the teachers. It is the parents for not helping their kids at home and attending school events such as parent-teacher conferences, it's the school boards for focusing on ridiculous PC programs instead of the 3 Rs and wasting money on non-education expenses, it's the school administrators for not expecting more of the teachers, it's the state education departments for giving the schools irrelevant material to cover as the model of education instead of teaching kids what they need to be productive in society, and it's the NEA for not showing any concern for eduction at all. Reality is our school systems are F'd up from top to bottom.

HAM, you are dead on. The one thing I can say is there are still a few good districts out there. We looked around and found a pretty good one for our kids.

cube said...

We had to put our girls in Catholic school because the closest public school in our district lost its accreditation. Some of our neighbors lied about where they lived in order to get their kids into other schools. We bit the bullet and paid the private school tuition. Our girls were the beneficiaries.

MK said...

Definite no-no, as it is we have a culture of blame everyone and everything else, we don't need any more.

Chuck said...

Cube, we didn't really have that option but I think our kids have done okay

MK, it's setting kids up for dependency too