Dear Fifth Grade English Teacher

I sincerely hope, and highly suspect, that my daughter was not rude when she disagreed with you in class today.  You know, when you said we live in a democracy and she raised her hand and said, “But we pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands.  We actually are supposed to be living in a republic.”

You’ll have to forgive her.  You see, she was home schooled up until this year, and the curriculum we used?  Actually taught her the difference between a democracy and a republic last year, in the fourth grade.  It also taught her that the founding fathers feared that the republic they gave us would degenerate into a democracy.

Too bad none of your public school teachers or college professors ever taught you all that technical mumbo jumbo.  I mean, obviously they didn’t since you told her and the rest of the class, “Oh, a democracy and a republic are the same thing.  They are synonyms.”  But maybe you were just sick that day.

I’m not quite sure now what I am going to say to you tomorrow at parent teacher conferences, or if I am just going to avoid you altogether.  Really, I don’t want to avoid you since, you know, we are in the second quarter now and L~ is working on her first writing assignment for the year.  Don’t get me wrong, you’ve been fantastic with the worksheets and all the artsy craftsy book “projects.”  Too bad I couldn’t give a rat’s behind if my child learns how to recycle shoe boxes into pointless clutter (I believe you call these “dioramas”).  I would much rather she learn how to write better than she currently does.  I think we need to talk about that.

Perhaps you could assign the class a paper on the differences and similarities between a democracy and a republic.

Just an idea.  You might find it enlightening.

12 thoughts on “Dear Fifth Grade English Teacher

  1. Nancy

    IMHO, you should definitely bring up the republic/democracy matter with the teacher. It is so very important for all the children to learn the difference, and if she doesn’t know someone has to enlighten her. I suspect you could do a mighty fine job.


  2. Christina

    Oh dear. This teacher had no idea what she stepped into… and sadly also has no idea that you (a homeschooling mom) are far more qualified to teach than she is. I’m not surprised she didn’t know the difference – I can tell you we never learned such things in teacher college. (mostly I learned how to read Dr. Suess books aloud and play with math manipulatives. Seriously.) Best of luck with the conference, I sincerely hope she is open and receptive to your concerns.


  3. O.M.W. Unbelievable. I mean, really? They’re synonyms? Really? She would have had to have missed every single government class she would have been required to take…not to mention English classes…in order to spew out that answer. Good grief.
    I would definitely bring it up. That being said, I’m not exactly sure how to phrase it and remain respectful…I mean you certainly don’t want to do anything that would cause L~ any trouble in class. But maybe some reading material would be helpful for her?


  4. liloladenvers

    Maybe you could get her to read your blog. You give every possible excuse she could use for her complete and total ignorance. (Sorry about the redundancy.)


  5. Not that you asked, but I think you should send the letter. It’s well-written, thoughtful, and informative. As a matter of fact, I think you should send it to the English teacher, too. I mean, really, what are they going to do?

    Remember when I was naive and left comments about how nice and wonderful public school has been to my girls? I’m over it. I traded email with Susie’s Civics teacher all last week because…get this…he and the other Civics teacher decided to give the state required Constitution test BEFORE teaching the material (ch. 6, 7, 8, 9, & 10 in the text)because they didn’t want the students to have to ‘deal’ with it at the same time as final exams. So, Susie got a study guide on Tuesday, the teacher gave the answers in class on Thursday, and told the kids to study over the weekend. He gave the test on Monday and on Wednesday they started chapter 6. How bassackwards is that? I even copied the principal in on my complaints and got…nothing. I’m ready for a conference. OY.


  6. I agree with Chris! And as a fellow teacher, one of my BIGGEST pet peeves is teachers who worksheet/shoebox their students to death!!! I can’t wait to hear about the conference!


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