I am really ticked off at all the dentists, doctors, etc. who expect us to pull our kids from school in order to schedule routine appointments. What kind of message does this send to our kids?
I took my kids to the dentist this week for a cleaning. Afterwards, they wanted me to schedule the next appointment, in six months. Fine, we do this all the time.
In the past this was easy because we had a different school schedule that gave us periodic time off during the school week, so we always scheduled it for those days so as not to miss any lesson time. However, the school's schedule has now changed. We now have early release on some Fridays, but of course the dentist doesn't work then. Heaven forbid he actually work a normal work week like everyone else in the world.
So fine, I ask about apppointments after school. Oh no, the dentist doesn't stay late. Heaven forfend he might be inconvenienced at all.
No, no, instead, he basically expects kids to MISS SCHOOL in order to get a routine dental cleaning.
Never mind that he just hired another dentist to lighten his load. He could have her work some later hours......but no. That's far too much to ask.
No, instead, they have to send the message that school is unimportant, that everything else in the world takes priority over learning, that his precious time is far more important than mere education.
Well, I find that totally unacceptable. School is very important, and it's very difficult to make up missed classroom time. Sure, you can get any assignments missed, but any teacher will tell you that it's JUST NOT THE SAME.
You just don't "get" it the same way if you don't hear the teacher's lecture or get to ask interactive questions right then and there. If there's a science lab or a special hands-on learning activity, that kind of stuff simply can't be made up. And frequent absences makes the teacher and the kid's jobs SO much harder.
Now, some absences are just going to happen. It's a rare kid that doesn't ever miss school. And dental emergencies happen, or sometimes there are other circumstances that dictate having a dental appointment during school time. Sometimes it just can't be helped.
But these absences should be kept to a MINIMUM and they shouldn't be for some routine thing like a cleaning, for heaven's sake.
It makes me just furious that basically, I have almost no choice but to have the kids miss school in order to get their dental cleanings. To minimize this, I always schedule one for the summertime, but you simply can't expect everyone to have winter and summer cleanings. Some are going to have to be in the spring and fall. Why can't there be some appointments available outside of school hours?
And what about parents who work outside the home? I do, but I work part-time and my schedule is fairly flexible. I can make dental appointments and doctor appointments work if I must....but what about those parents who can't?
Some parents simply cannot take time off for things like dental cleanings. With this dentist's practice, they'd be out of luck. They'd have to take personal or vacation time in order to get regular dental cleanings for their kids.....or their kids would have to go without. In fact, I'd bet that's one of the barriers for getting regular cleanings and dental care for many kids.
In the end, I made an appointment for the last time slot of the dentist's day, one where we won't have to miss school if we RUSH off right at the end of school......but I will have to do this multiple times in order to get all my kids in. It's not a short drive, so this is no minor inconvenience. I could make only one trip if I was simply willing to ditch school and schedule earlier in the day....but what does that teach my kids?
I think good dental care is important....but I don't think I should have to sacrifice my kids' learning for it.
You would think in particular that a pediatric practice would have at least some extra hours appointments available.....but no.
I communicated my displeasure pretty clearly to the receptionist and asked her to pass it on to the dentist in the strongest possible words.
I have to say, though, much as I like this practice otherwise, I may just have to find another dentist over this issue.....one that offers enough appointment times that missing school is not our only real option.
Hopefully there are still some dentists out there that don't keep banker's hours and expect their own convenience to supercede everyone else's learning and school and work commitments. I sure hope that there is, because child #3 is going to be needing braces within a year or so. I simply could not countenance taking him out of school that often.
What do you do for dental appointments for your school-aged kids, assuming they are not home-schooled?