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A gripe about a co-op class

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My fifth grader is taking a class our homeschool co-op (where classes are taught by teachers, not just "moms," and we pay for each class directly to the teacher) where they study a part of U.S. history and build LEGO scenes about it. Each student is responsible for a 10 minute presentation during the semester where they talk about a period of history and the rest of the class time is spent constructing models and scenes. (She chose Native Americans as her topic.)

Anyway, this seemed like it'd be the class she'd love the most, but after her first class last week she was pretty bummed about it. When I pressed her for more information, she said that it was partly because the teacher had brought her toddler and her infant (in an ergo carrier) to class with her and was spending part of the class time corraling the toddler (who at one point got an Expo marker and drew on the wall) or taking care of the baby, and also just didn't seem to have good control over the class. I can vouch for that last part because I was next door helping my son in his sewing class, and we could clearly hear that class through the wall. They were rowdy.

There have been other teachers who have small children, children who are too young for the class the mom is teaching, and so those moms get someone else to look after their little ones while they teach. Since they are being paid for this, it makes sense to me! So I emailed the co-op admins and explained my concern. They got back to me later in the day and said they agreed and had spoken to the teacher about this. The teacher had some excuses about how there were kids in there who were supposed to be in a later class but for whatever reason had to come to that one, and she said she'd find someone to watch her younger kids during class, and they thanked me for letting them know. I mean, this woman is getting paid $60 an hour to teach this class; she could at least spend the hour focused on teaching the class. I'm really surprised that anyone would even think it's okay to bring babies to a class you are teaching.

Then what really irked me, this lady and I are in a private FB group together. She was complaining in there about her child being "kicked out" of the class! Kicked out! The class is for 5th-8th grade kids and her child is not even two years old. She also said, "I just think this child is going to have a hard time learning anything from me this semester. They want instruction, and I have a more Montessori approach." Ugh... I hate it when people throw up the word "Montessori" without knowing what it means. Yes, Montessori includes mixed-age classrooms, but most typically those are mixed ages in a range of three years - like preschool & kindergarten together, or grades 1-3 together - not toddlers with middle schoolers. And even in a Montessori classroom, the teacher teaches and has control of the classroom. It's not chaos.

Ok, end of my vent!


Have any of you ever had an issue with a co-op class?

by on Sep. 21, 2013 at 11:42 AM
Replies (11-20):
ballerina.2006
by Member on Sep. 21, 2013 at 10:10 PM
How aggrevating! I did loose co-ops last year and had problems- and they were free
Anna92464
by Member on Sep. 21, 2013 at 10:38 PM

Oh, that would definitely annoy me.  Montessori?  LOL........There is nothing Montessori about not being available for the students or not creating a good learning environment, or accepting that much money and to teach a class and not behave in a professional manner.

sha_lyn68
by Bronze Member on Sep. 21, 2013 at 11:58 PM

So she pays no fees to be a part of the co-op and has zero overhead expenses?

Quoting hipmomto3:

The class costs $60 for 12 weeks. There are 12 kids (were more last week, but supposedly the cap is at 12 and it's full), so yeah - she's getting $720 for 12 weeks = $60/week. Or $1 a minute. :) 

We've done less-organized co-ops in the past and while they have their merits (they were way cheaper - more like $50 for our whole family per semester), there were also a lot of moms kind of flaking out, or classes being taught by people who weren't really 'experts' in any sense of the word, in that field. These classes at this co-op are taught by people who have some kind of experience or expertise. The choir and piano classes are taught by a woman with a degree in music, for example; the sewing classes are taught by a woman who has run her own seamstress business for twenty years, that sort of thing. I know this particular teacher has run a Lego club for some time, out of a children's store she owns (selling cloth diapers and stuff). 

I understand different approaches and philosophies, but professionalism should exist no matter what your teaching philosophy is. If you are being paid to care for others' children (ultimately, that's what it is) - you don't presume to bring your own children along as well. If I had a job teaching in a public school, I wouldn't think it would be okay to bring my trio into the room with me. :)


Quoting PurpleCupcake:

$60 an hour? That's insane!

She is doing a job. Jobs don't let you bring your toddlers to work with you. 

Her logic is flawed and I would have concerns about her teaching my kids. 




hipmomto3
by Bronze Member on Sep. 22, 2013 at 1:33 PM
She pays for her own children to take their classes, but she as a teacher doesn't pay anything. She does provide the Legos during class, but she already owned those because of her business (other teachers also have to bring in things they own - like the sewing teacher carts in six big sewing machines, the PE teachers brings balls, cones, & hula hoops, etc).


Quoting sha_lyn68:

So she pays no fees to be a part of the co-op and has zero overhead expenses?

Quoting hipmomto3:

The class costs $60 for 12 weeks. There are 12 kids (were more last week, but supposedly the cap is at 12 and it's full), so yeah - she's getting $720 for 12 weeks = $60/week. Or $1 a minute. :) 

We've done less-organized co-ops in the past and while they have their merits (they were way cheaper - more like $50 for our whole family per semester), there were also a lot of moms kind of flaking out, or classes being taught by people who weren't really 'experts' in any sense of the word, in that field. These classes at this co-op are taught by people who have some kind of experience or expertise. The choir and piano classes are taught by a woman with a degree in music, for example; the sewing classes are taught by a woman who has run her own seamstress business for twenty years, that sort of thing. I know this particular teacher has run a Lego club for some time, out of a children's store she owns (selling cloth diapers and stuff). 

I understand different approaches and philosophies, but professionalism should exist no matter what your teaching philosophy is. If you are being paid to care for others' children (ultimately, that's what it is) - you don't presume to bring your own children along as well. If I had a job teaching in a public school, I wouldn't think it would be okay to bring my trio into the room with me. :)



Quoting PurpleCupcake:

$60 an hour? That's insane!

She is doing a job. Jobs don't let you bring your toddlers to work with you. 

Her logic is flawed and I would have concerns about her teaching my kids. 






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LongBeachLiz
by Member on Sep. 22, 2013 at 2:01 PM
So far I have never run into anything like that. I have loved every single class. That class sounds amazing. It's unfortunate about the teacher though.
KrissyKC
by Silver Member on Sep. 22, 2013 at 3:10 PM
1 mom liked this

We have really enjoyed our involvement in the one we are in.    My kids go to choir, on field trips, etc... with the other families.  

There are a few moms that I have heard on our forums and such rant and rave about certain issues in the group, and I turn a deaf ear to them.


To the OP:  You handled it very well, and I would have done the same.   It's terrific that you took your complaints to the leadership and then venting in here where that teacher isn't known, and then I'm sure it will be over and not carried with you.  I hope that teacher can focus on her class now.



Quoting mem82:

I am waiting for the younger kids to get a bit older before trying a co op. They seem...scary and drama filled. LOL



AutymsMommy
by Silver Member on Sep. 22, 2013 at 3:25 PM

Even in a co-op where money isn't exchanged for teaching, bringing much too young children to class with your is a bad idea. Ours has a nursery for that reason.


Quoting jen2150:

I have had issues but on the opposite end. I run a local co-op. Getting moms to volunteer has been quite a challenge. I only have one mom helping me teach. Co-op classes take a lot of work. They are also one of favorite parts of homeschooling. I have met so many incredible homeschoolers. I love planning large classes for other kids. It gives me the opportunity to plan classes that require more kids in order to make it work. I also love seeing my kids exchanging ideas and working with other kids. I have learned so much from teaching others. Also in your situation that is uncalled for. It depends on the type of co-op. I belong to both kinds. I run a mostly volunteer co-op. I would expect a mom to step in and help but not in one you are paying a fair amount of money.



I am a Home Schooling, Vaccinating, Non spanking, Nightmare Cuddling, Dessert Giving, Bedtime Kissing, Book Reading, Stay at Home Mom. I believe in the benefit of organized after school activities and nosy, involved parents. I believe in spoiling my children. I believe that I have seen the village and I do not want it anywhere near my children. Now for the controversial stuff:  we're Catholic, we're conservative, and we own guns (now there's no need to ask, lol).             Aimee















Knightquester
by Bronze Member on Sep. 22, 2013 at 3:45 PM

If I'm spending $60, then I would withdraw my child from that class and ask for a refund if the issue persist.  If it doesn't I would still not take another class from that teacher, she doesn't seem mature and professional enough to be teaching my children.

The teacher sounds like she's begging for sympathy from others and all she's managing to do is taint her reputation more through her complaints.  Good job writing and expressing your concerns to get the matter resolved, hopefully the teacher won't repeat the situation again.

Knightquester
by Bronze Member on Sep. 22, 2013 at 3:56 PM

I think it depends on where you live and what type of co-op it is when it comes to the right group to join.

We have so many different types of groups near us.  For younger children the more academically inclined types aren't always the best, especially if the child isn't the type to sit still, listen quietly and behave for long periods of time.

The more relaxed groups that do park dates, projects and field trips for mixed ages are what you might enjoy.

One group we are a part of recently did the Mentos and soda experiment at a local park.  You had 60 people that attended, most of which were children of all ages and grade levels there enjoying it.  The extremely young stayed near their parents or were playing on the play system while the more older kids were mostly interested in the experiment and interacting with each other.

Quoting mem82:
I am waiting for the younger kids to get a bit older before trying a co op. They seem...scary and drama filled. LOL
kmath
by Silver Member on Sep. 22, 2013 at 8:35 PM

Wow, I would be irritated as well.  You are paying for your child to learn something not watch a baby and a toddler.  I hope that the class gets better and your DD enjoys it.

Our co-op is pretty new and it is just a few moms that get together and have the kids do presentations on the theme each week, then a facilitator brings in stuff on that theme.  I am in charge this week and we are doing Space.  It is fun, but most of the kids are pretty young.  DS is the oldest one there.  I wish we had a co-op with classes like the one you mentioned, that would be pretty cool!

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