May 31, 2012

The Graduation Picture Blunder

Our school uses a nationally known company for pictures. All through preschool we received wonderful pictures from this company. In kindergarten, not so much. I realize in elementary school the photographers are dealing with a lot more pictures within a limited time. Still, you think when you take a picture of a child wearing glasses you would check the shot to make sure the flash isn't visible in her glasses. Overall, though, this year's school portraits were still decent. Unfortunately, when the kindergarten classes did their cap and gown photos for graduation, my daughters got hosed.
I had asked the photographer if he could do a shot of all four in caps and gowns. How cute would that be? He only had three caps and gowns. No big deal. So he did a picture with two and two. The turned out pretty cute. But...... on the day of their graduation, each student was given a nice binder with their graduation picture and diploma. My girls received a crappy folder with a picture of themselves with a sister. Why? The photographer never bothered to take an individual picture of them in their caps and gowns... and no one bothered to tell me.
I was angry, to say the least. They share enough, shouldn't they have something of their own to remember this moment? Why should they have to be left out of this? What kind of photographer, who knows his company puts together this keepsake, leaves out four students? The school secretary offered to sneak my girls in during next year's cap and gown photos, but they'll change so much in a year, what would be the point? My girls all noticed that their classmates received something different and much nicer than they did. Life may not be fair, but is that something you have to learn in kindergarten or because of someone else's mistake? Yes, you could argue that I will face much bigger battles on their behalf, but in some ways, this picture blunder screamed "You will always be seen as an entity and never as an individual!" It just didn't sit well with me. I would have preferred the photographer simply skip the group photos rather than forget to do the individual pictures. Even the teachers were surprised because the photographer told them he would do their individual pictures after the group shots.
Once I gathered my thoughts, I sat down and wrote an email to the company. I was polite but clearly expressed my displeasure. Yesterday, a local representative called me. She was nice and apologetic and invited us to the local studio to do the individual pictures. 
All in all, the session went well. However, I was greeted at the door by a woman who said "In the future, you should make sure you tell the photographer you want a group shot and individual pictures." My response: "Since he was there to take individual pictures, it never occurred to me that he wouldn't take them." She then switched tactics: "I know. When the folios came back and theirs weren't included, I couldn't believe it. I called the lab and they said the individual pictures hadn't been taken." Ummm, I'm sorry, you knew they weren't taken and you didn't call me at that point to come to the lab to fix this?? Imagine what we could have avoided if someone had bothered to fix this from the moment they knew a mistake had been made. Instead, they clearly waited to see if I would complain. (Notice none of that is in quotes. I wanted to say that, but since everyone else was kind to us, I let it go).
I am really glad this company chose to make this right. It shows they see their customers as people and look beyond the dollar signs.

May 30, 2012

Off to First Grade

We had a wonderful kindergarten year. Choosing the full day option proved to be a great decision. All of my daughters are already doing first grade work and one of them is reading at the second grade level. This was the first year that I split my daughters up in school. They were divided among two classes. We could have easily had one great teacher and one not so great teacher. Instead, we had two great teachers. They have different teaching styles, but it worked. One of the teachers is moving to second grade and I'm hoping some of my daughters will have her when we reach that grade!
Kindergarten, of course, didn't come without stress. Homework every night was a new experience for us, but I managed to figure out a routine. Kindergarten also provided our first ER visit for a possible broken bone. One of my daughters was pulled off the playground zip line by a classmate. Fortunately, it turned out to just be a sprain (and the kindergarten classes were banned from the zip line). I'm glad our first broken bone visit turned out to be a false alarm!
Just one week ago we sat through Kindergarten graduation. It was a really cute event. All the kids sang songs and then received their "diplomas." Thank goodness they won't have another "graduation" until fifth grade, because all of my girls wanted to know why we didn't host a graduation party!

May 29, 2012

I'm Baaaaaack (At Least For Now)

Phew! My preschool job has been done for a week and already this summer is hectic! I must say, preschool was a lot of fun. It had its challenges, especially since I was hired to work in a Special Education room and some of those kiddos needed one on one support. Plus, I think I was sick at least once a month, including a doozie of a case of bronchitis during Spring Break. That's what happens when little ones pick their noses and then want to hold your hand! Overall, though, I had a great time. Sadly, I will not be returning to preschool when school resumes. The good news, though, is that I will move into the elementary building and work as a paraprofessional with the mild/moderate Special Education program. I'll miss preschool, but I think this will be a good fit. Instead of worrying about what happens to the preschoolers moving on to kindergarten who still need help, I'll be one of the people helping them!
At the end of April I decided to quit my part-time retail job. Working two jobs (even if they were both part-time) was becoming too much to juggle and really taking away from time with my family. Since I only worked in the morning preschool session, often times I would sub for other paras in the afternoon, which made for long days if I had to work my retail job that night. It was a great decision to quit. For the first time in five years my husband and I are both off on the weekends. It's a nice feeling to have the entire weekend for family time. Plus, I'm not working during summer break, so I'm really trying to enjoy this time with my daughters.
My goal is to get back to this blog, at least for the summer, and I hope that's something I can manage!