Dear Mr. New Principal – 5 Suggestions For You

Dear Mr. New Principal,

I know it’s hard starting a new job and that like any new boss you’re going to want to change things up a bit.  But, only one month into the school year you’ve made some real blunders and that’s just with the parents.  So, as an experienced elementary school mother, I’d be remiss to not help you out by sharing my hard-earned wisdom.

Changing Pick Up & Drop Off – This has been your biggest mistake to date (And who’s counting? Oh yeah – me.) Trust me on this – you’re going to get someone killed. Either a child is going to get run over or and more likely a mom is going to use her SUV as a battering ram and repeatedly bash in the back of another mom’s car resulting in death by blunt force trauma. You can’t just announce in the school newsletter that pick up and drop has been radically changed.

First, now that the district is trying to save money on paper and ink and go green all the newsletters are e-mailed. Great idea, but how many moms do you think are really opening up the attachment (and that’s if they can get the thing to open) and reading the newsletter? I’ll tell you – less than ever before. Why? Because the Friday Folder, which used to contain the newsletter, is opened and gone through in the kitchen, by the trash can. As we moms go through the graded papers we toss them in the trash can and save one or two to post on the fridge. We also read the newsletter because it’s in with our kids crap. It’s inescapable.

Secondly, if you’re going to change pick up and drop off some extra effort on your part is called for. How about some signs or better yet how about you dragging your administrative fanny out there in the morning and afternoon. Because this is what is happening. 1/3 of the moms are attempting to following your instructions for the new pick up/drop off as outlined in the newsletter, 1/3 of the moms are dazed and confused or in desperate need of caffeine and still following the former pick up/drop off rules (hey, were all creatures of habit) and 1/3 of the moms just don’t care about the rules and will continue to freelance and do whatever suits their needs best. Double parking, butting in line, honking or my personal favorite leaving their car unattended in line while they go do God knows what inside the school thus creating a traffic snarl that could be covered by Channel 5’s Chopper 1. I’m betting you can see the havoc and danger this is creating from your office window.

My course of action for you to follow would be: To send an actual piece of paper home (I’m sure the PTO would cover the expense) with each child outlining the new pick/up drop off procedure. Each parent would then have to sign in blood that they have read and understand the new procedure.  That paper would then be returned to school and kept on file.  I also suggest that you strap on an orange safety vest, grab some traffic cones from the gym and physically put yourself in the middle of the melee that is school drop off and pick up every morning and afternoon.  Sure, some moms may flip you the bird or even scream at you. But, buck up big guy you can handle it. Remember you are the school’s authority figure so use it.

Class Parties – With all the problems public education is facing I’m a beyond bewildered that you have chosen to focus your time and energy on changing the way class parties are held. No longer is the class party a sacred covenant between the teacher and the home room mom. You’ve put yourself in the middle of the party planning with a “party checklist from the principal.”

Your checklist demanding that educational games must be played like spelling bees and that all crafts must require math made me sigh deeply. But, when you went all Nutrition Nazi on the food that’s when my chocolate high wore off and I became PMS pissed.  Your mandate that only sugar-free, fat-free, carb free snacks can be served is incredibly disingenuous. Let me begin by saying yummy with your suggested menu of sparkling water punch and a cheese stick and celery platter. Let me finish by saying instead of being a huge party pooper why don’t you concentrate your effort on changing the high fructose corn syrup, high fat, high carbohydrate, high sodium swill that is served everyday in the cafeteria and leave the three, count them three, parties that are held during a school year alone.

Fundraising – Guess what Mr. Principal ? We, the parents, don’t really live to fundraise.  We do it because we want to help you and the faculty make our kid’s precious elementary school better. So, when you start sticking your nose into our fundraising practices and suggest better ways for us to do things like the gift-wrap sale and book fair two words for your buddy – back off.  We are volunteers not school employees. We are doing this as a labor of love and just as quick as we can turn our children into little Amway salespeople we can turn it off. Imagine your budget without all the goodies our PTO provides for the school. Can you say no Smart Boards? I’m always looking for a reason to not eternally fundraise and I think you’ve just given me one.

Quiet Cafeteria – You know what gets me, when adults who work with kids forget what it’s like to be kid. No talking in the cafeteria – WTH? If I were a teacher I want kids to chat it up big time, get it all out of their system, so when they came back to class they were all talked out. Yes, I know kids can get loud but volume control is one thing and complete silence is another. And yes, I also heard the reasoning that if the kids talk they don’t eat their lunch.  Really?  Because talking has never come between me and my meal. I’m living proof and have the thighs to back up my claim that it is possible to do both.

Parent Volunteers – Excuse me, we now have to go to a two-hour parent volunteer training conducted by you before we’re allowed to donate our time to work in the school. What parent doesn’t know how to cut out pumpkins or staple together worksheet packets. At middle age we still have most of our fine motor skills in tact. I can understand a quickie tutorial on how to use the new copier that the PTO bought for the school. But two hours of training – how are you going to fill it? I hope it’s not with a Powerpoint of your short and long-term goals for the school because that could get ugly and require some degree of protection for you. You know what’s going to happen don’t you? Hardly any parents will attend the training and that’s means less parents in the school.

P.S.   Be nice to our teachers!  We’ve got their backs.

Thanks for reading Snarky in the Suburbs!  To stay up-to-date on new posts you can go to Facebook, type in Snarky in the Suburbs and click on like.  Take care.

18 thoughts on “Dear Mr. New Principal – 5 Suggestions For You

  1. Anna says:

    Oooohhhhh I went to parent volunteer training. Our PTO treasurer went incredible hulk on a Dad who asked a question. We were then informed we were not qualified to tie a 6 year olds’ shoe for them, that should be left to the teachers who are qualified. And then there was the “no you don’t need to agree to a background check we assume you are a pedophile already” spiel that was followed up by a list of rules of nonengagement between volunteer and student. Which basically were you do not make any sort of contact with a student, do not look at them, do not breath near them, do not hand them the pencil they dropped.

      • Anna says:

        Well the PTO President “lost her voice” and the Principal, Im thinking knew better than to be present for that training.

        In my opinion. The treasurer was the perfect choice for training. Being that she resembled Arnold Schwarzenegger with long hair. You don’t mess with Mrs Terminator!

  2. Nanny O says:

    Looks like things remain the same whether in Nevada or elsewhere!!! What are those principals thinking and where would their schools be without their fabulous PTA’s, PTO’s and PFA’s?…They’d be in a world of hurt, that’s where they’d be!

  3. Bonnie says:

    Well, glad to see that schools in Texas aren’t behind the curve, since your blog is pretty on target with what happens here. I am a retired teacher and believe me, teachers could give principals advice, also.

    1. If some teacher/staff member ticks you off, because of their behavior, then address that person and don’t drag everyone into the firing range.

    2. The teachers/staff members who have been on this campus long before you were moved here, have valuable insights in the things that have been tried and either worked or failed.

    3. Arriving AFTER teachers/staff in the morning makes many people begin to resist your “status”.

    4. Requiring teachers/staff to attend weekly after school meetings that last over two hours is unfair. You might not have a life outside of the school, but others do.

    5. Be visible to the students and staff throughout the day. You need to understand the environment that includes more than just your office which is off limits to most people.

    6. Be fair and understand that staff members are thinking adults who MIGHT have good ideas and solid thinking.

      • Bonnie says:

        Texas isn’t what it used to be. In fact if we didn’t have our Heart and Grandlove here, we would so move. My hubby said North, but I couldn’t handle snow again. My old, broken back doesn’t do well in cold. My old, fat self doesn’t do well in heat. So, here we are. Thanks for responding so quickly. Warmly, Ferret

  4. Lynda... says:

    We had a principal just like this at my son’s school. She thought she was the New Sheriff in Town, but she didn’t realize the PTO was actually a surly bunch of PMS’ing outlaws in capri pants and sandals who were just itching for a gunfight. She lasted two years and now pushes paper at the school district office. Elementary school is brutal.

  5. Kerry says:

    I hear you on the parking. Last year at my son’s school they decided to make things safer by putting a barricade across the entrance to the parking lot with the thought they would only allow in daycare vans, busses, and cars driven by parents with a valid handicapped plate. Awesome. I have seen numerous parents park IN the crosswalk and PARALLEL with the barricade (totally blocking the lot) because that is the closest they can get to the school. While many parents there are thinking individuals there are many who are not. We also have a new Assistant Principal who I thoroughly pissed off last week by accidentally setting off the fire alarm with smoke from the school popcorn maker. Dude looked at me like I am an awful parent. Really, man, because we have a PTO ratio of one parent active for every 100 kids at the school. You can’t afford to be pissed at me!

    • snarkyinthesuburbs says:

      Ha, ha Kerry. I too set off the fire alarm at my kids school. They had to evacuate the school etc. and the firetrucks came. Once it goes off you can’t call the F.D. back and tell them it was a mom wiith a hot plate in the classroom trying to help with a science experiment. About school parking – what is it that makes parents such dip shits?

  6. Katie says:

    I love it!! I’m a teacher and I HATE when the tell the kids not to talk in the lunch room!! We do want them to get their “wiggles and giggles” out.

    Thanks for the laugh!

  7. OH2OR says:

    My daughter’s last school had a SOUND-ACTIVATED TRAFFIC LIGHT in the cafeteria. If they were doing OK, it was green, borderline was yellow, and too loud was red. I’m surprised the principal didn’t walk by and say in a heavy German accent, “Vare are your paypurs?”
    At the same school, they changed the traffic pattern for pick-up & drop-off at least THREE times in four years! We have the same issues with pick-up & drop-off at the new school…
    Thanks for your great posts, keep them coming!

  8. CathyC says:

    You have the principal from hell. You do. He sounds almost exactly like my boss, but worse because at least my boss does not work with children. But go ahead and ask him his grand-daughter’s name. He takes a while to remember it. Really.

  9. Manic motherhood says:

    When my son was in middle school, they were not allowed to play at lunch or break. Seriously, the rule was that you had to SIT quietly during break or lunch in small groups. Ridiculous as it sounds, violating the rule got you detention or even Saturday school.

    Now the high school is different. The principal was an Olympic athlete and wants the kids to move around:) also? Once the kids get to high school, parent participation drops, so you are treated like a goddess for helping out. Last year I drove the tennis team to games and they pitched in for a spa gift certificate 🙂

  10. Christine says:

    Do Our kids go to the same school?? CRAZY. But our 2 hour “training” consisted of a very outdated video about workplace sexual harrassment. In elementary school, really?

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