Leave it to us to cause a kerfuffle just before the elementary school spring concert this Friday! My daughter, who's seven and in first grade, is in tears because we, her parents, asked her to modify a movement in her performance and the teacher's response was for her to just do as she's instructed (as reported by our daughter and taken with a grain of salt) because "I'm the one that's teaching here."
No doubt that countless other people the world will be subjected to school childrens' earnest performances of Waving Flag
(the Official World Cup Theme Song) for years to come. This year it's our daughter's class' turn to perform it on Friday night, wearing heritage costumes and of course, waving flags. We're in Canada, but she's chosen to feature the Scottish part of her heritage and will be kilted up and waving Saint Andrew's Cross
. We live in Toronto, and her school is gentrifying, while still very
multi-cultural in its makeup, but for the sake of representing this visually with a wide variety of flags, more obscure choices have been encouraged, hence her choice though I'm aware that the Union Jack is more common today.
They've been working on this for weeks. It's supposed to be a secret, somewhat, so that parents will be surprised and hopefully pleased and not sick to death of the song before the show - but she was practicing it the other night, and I noticed her doing a movement with her little 6" X 9" stick flag, where she swept the flag in a large circle, and at the lower part, the flag was dragged along the floor.
I corrected her, explaining to her about flag etiquette and protocol and in keeping it simple told her that if at all possible, flags should never touch the floor. I suggested that she could do the movement as best possible without that part.
So, she tried that today - and was corrected. Now she is a sensitive soul - but knowing her lovely but firm teacher, I can imagine that after a chilly, rainy day with twenty kids and a few who are live ones on a good day, the teacher may have sounded a little sharp. But what came home, in between the tears and blubbering was that the teacher required her to do it even after my daughter tried to assert that she knew it was wrong because her mommy checked
, and was yelled at, with, as I'd said: "I'm the one that's teaching here."
So, while I'm sure that there has been some disrespect to the various stick flags already - though we carried ours carefully in, I've seen them being walked down the hall all bundled in a tote bag - I'm not sure how far to push this. But I'm pretty sure sweeping flags along the floor is on the other side of the boundary I have in regard to this matter.
I was raised with flag etiquette as part of school and Camp Fire girls and as part of my family upbringing, and this really rankles me; my Canadian husband agrees that it's not right and wants her to do the right thing too. We do get that there will be some errors made, because kids are kids and stuff isn't perfect and it's enough to hope that nobody loses an eye with the little wooden sticks. But I am pretty sure, unless convinced otherwise, that not dragging flags on the ground for the sake of a Spring Concert dance movement is a hill I'll willingly mount with my husband beside me in making sure our daughter does what's right. That is, if this is as big a deal as I'm making it out to be. So my question: Is it as big a deal as I'm making it out to be?
This brings me to: I happen to be hosting a committee meeting tonight for a few parents at the school, and they're reasonable people that I like and trust. I'll be running this past them. Do I rally the troops?
And then, considering the consensus: Do I confront the teacher first, knowing that my child tried to advocate for herself and was shut down, or do I go directly to the Principal? Do I print out pages from the most authoritative sources and march in there? And in that case what would be those sources? I could, perhaps, go to the extreme of pulling my kid and thus devastating her temporarily - or I could require and assert that my kid do what we believe is right, despite what the teacher said and risk animosity...
Or, do I say "Eh, well, it's just the Spring Concert and nobody else seems to care but me" and let it go?