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Thursday, November 13, 2008

Awana Gone Wrong

I'm going to pull Gabi out of Awana.

One of her friends wanted to start coming, and the friend's dad decided to sit in on the class for a while to see what it was all about. I joined him to keep him company and answer any questions he might have, and it's a good thing I did.

The teachers were unprepared, and kept stumbling through stuff, so the kids weren't engaged. The teachers were then very stern with the kids, and said some pretty inappropriate things.

Example 1: The were doing a puppet show, but the kids couldn't hear what they were saying. Also, they teachers kept messing up the lines. It was awful. Since the kids weren't paying attention, one of the teachers said, "Fine. No more puppet show!" And then went on to name each child that "was naughty," and told the rest of the group that it was those kids that were to blame. Wow.

Example 2: A little girl, probably about 3, had a name that could be pronounced two ways. When she corrected the teacher when he said her name wrong, he got mad, said her name both ways and told her, "same difference, now sit down." That poor little girl sat down totally deflated.

And that's just two examples! There were several other things that happened that had me shaking my head.

It has me deeply concerned. It goes way beyond simply keeping kids in line and teaching them to pay attention and obey.

I remember loving Awana. But the attitude of the teachers can make or break any classroom type of situation. This situation? Totally broken.

The only thing is that Gabi loves it. She's very strong willed and I think a lot of the chastising rolls right off her back because of her personality. And she's all about earning those badges for her vest. It's going to be hard pulling this away from her.

And yes, I'm planning to discuss this with the program's director. He might think I'm being silly, but no child should be subjected to behavior that could damage their emotional well being. And in my opinion, that is exactly what was going on in there.

34 comments:

  1. As a former teacher, I agree, teachers can make it or brake it. Sorry it's not going the way it should be.

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  2. That broke my heart. I wouldn't want Isabella going somewhere like that, either.

    My heart totally broke about the 3 year old little girl :(

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  3. I am appalled! Connor goes to Awana's and loves it. This is his first year because they cannot go until they are 5 yrs old. But, I can't imagine his teachers EVER acting like that. Especially since it is at CHURCH!!! I would have a nice long talk with the director too. I hope it gets resolved so Gabi can continue to go!!

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  4. :(

    I've seen similar things sometimes. When people leave children sitting around with nothing to do it's really unfair for them to punish the children when they get squirrelly!

    Good luck talking to the Director. I've never had much luck with those kinds of talks;)
    Lizzie

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  5. That SUCKS! Is it possible to find her another class?

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  6. Oh, how sad is that! I used to teach piano to children (aged 5-10). I know there are off days, I know there were times when I lost my temper...but this sounds more like a paradigm than an off day! I wish I knew what to suggest. My church does Achievement Days as kind of a girls' answer to Cub Scouts...but the program is very, very new and there are no badges or anything. Lots of activities and crafts and candy, as far as I can tell. (My mother used to lead the troop in our congregation.)

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  7. That's too bad...the teachers REALLY need to get their act together. They aren't following the Golden Rule at AWANA?

    Let us know how things go.

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  8. Wow, that is so bad and so unfortunate. Yes, I would for sure talk to the director, but I would also consider speaking with the head pastor of that particular church as well. He should know about it.

    Are there any other Awana groups near you??

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  9. Oh no. I'm sorry. I would feel exactly the same way. And you are definitely not being silly. That's the kind of thing that the director needs to know about. The attitude of those people was not acceptable. And I'm shocked by their behavior. Not good.

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  10. I'm sorry you're having to deal with these issues.

    When our girls were attending preschool, we had to have several conversations with the director. In seven months, our daughter was bit 20 times...all but one time was by the same child! Finally, we left the school. Two weeks later, the director called me to tell me that they told the biter's parents she'd have to leave.

    Hope this works out for you!

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  11. Did you say Awana was a little like Girl Scouts? I think it's great that you sat in on a class with her but it's too bad the teachers had to ruin it. AND good for you for pulling her out - I wonder if there is another 'troop' (?) close by you could transfer her to?

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  12. If they behaved that way while parents were present I can only imagine their behavior with the children when they knew no one was watching!
    That is SO sad. You go Laural and fight for those kids!

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  13. I LOVE the facelift! Awesome!

    I think that by speaking to the program director, you're doing the right thing. It's really astounding to me that the teachers could behave so poorly in front of PARENTS!

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  14. Aw, sad. I hope they can get it together so more kids don't suffer.

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  15. That does sound bad to me. Isn't horrible when a couple bad apples spoil a happy bunch:-( Maybe you can find her something that she will like just as much.

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  16. uhm not cool friend.

    can we find something else for gabi to do??

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  17. This is so freaking ridiculous! Isn't the whole point of Awanas to help the kids BUILD self esteem and confidence in what they can accomplish?? What the heck? Why are these people involved in Awanas if they dont want to be?? Ew. I'm irritated!

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  18. Hi Laural, I just got here since you changed the layout, and I must say, I love it!

    I agree you need to have a talk with the directors. To teach kids good things and moral teachers need to be a good example themselves.

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  19. It is a good thing that you went in that day. I have always believed (sadly) that there are 2 faces that (unfortunately, sometimes) exist. The ones for the parents and the ones that are real. Parents need to stay involved. I am sorry about that, it is so unacceptable. Kids need a safe place to be, where it is kind and supportive. Good Luck!
    ~Vicki
    PS. I love the new look!

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  20. My mouth just physically dropped open while reading this. I am so glad that you are going to talk to the director because they will never know why you left. They NEED to know!

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  21. I'm appalled! How terrible - having good teachers is so important.

    I love your new design, by the way.

    Thanks for visiting me in Sweden!

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  22. That's dreadful! Belittling children like is simply unacceptable. Moreover, since you and another parent were there and they still behaved like that means that these habits are ingrained and not simply a one day thing.

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  23. What exactly is Awana? Is that like girl scouts sorta?
    At any rate, what the teachers did was wrong and not appropriate.

    How sad for the kids

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  24. Don't blame you one bit...why would adults act that way and furthermore, why volunteer to serve as a group leader if you aren't going to prepare and do the job right. That just stinks!

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  25. That is awful... I think you are doing the right thing. They should be aware of why you are taking her out of the program.

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  26. Oh I cringed just reading those examples... I would have been irate sitting in that room.

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  27. Hi Laurel,

    It's not just an Awana thing, as you know. I had a similar experience with a certain, well, I won't say it here, but let's say a certain "extracurricular activity" of Laura's.

    Good move pulling out.

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  28. Oh. My. Gosh! How inappropriate of that teacher! That totally makes me wince. I'm so sorry that is happening at such a great program. You need to bee-line it to the director...that cannot be happening again.

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  29. That is all so wrong...Glad you are taking it up with the director.

    Just want to let you know that I changed all your info on BATW. BTW, everything looks great over here!

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  30. So sad. . . those teachers must have forgotten that the theme for AWANA teachers is, "Because children are important to God".

    And besides, there is no excuse to treat ANYONE that way.

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  31. That's too bad. I would do the same thing you are doing!

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  32. You are doing the right thing. I would do the same. Get her out of there!

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  33. that's really not ok... are there any other programs around you that are close to what awana is? maybe at other churches?

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  34. I feel really bad for all concerned. It sounds like the teacher is in the wrong ministry. It was awful what happened What are you going to do to correct it besides pull your darling daughter? The leaders really need to know.

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