Writing my way through the school year!

Archive for the ‘Parent Accountability’ Category

Wanted:A Great Year! Teachers and Parents Working Toward the Same Goal!

Every year, at the beginning of the school year, I send this form home. I ask my parents to fill it out in their interest of learning what they want from their child’s teacher. What can make this a great year for their child? I always get a handful back, read them, and try to be conscious of living up to reasonable requests throughout the school year. READ MORE…

Parental Support and Involvement: Should Teachers Just Make Do Without It?

More and more, the buck seems to start and end with teachers.

 

We seem to be the only ones held “accountable” for all that goes on in our classrooms, and it is frustrating!

 

It’s become the norm to send a child to school and hope for the best.

 

I have done what I need to do as a teacher to get parental support, and then some. READ MORE…

 

 

 

 

 

Productive Parent -Teacher Conferences: A P/T Form That Helps!

Year after year, I have tried to find a way to make my conferences more productive. I had attempted to find a way to share information with my parents so they had a clear understanding of where their child is. I had always felt frustrated, when after a parent had gone , and I would think, “Oh, I forgot to tell her/him….”  READ MORE

PARENTS: Tips for a Successful School Year!

frederick douglass quoteThe other day as I was listening to the Tom Joyner Show, Jeff Johnson came on and shared, “Be a Role Model: 4 Back to School Steps for Parents.  Somewhere along the way, we have given parents a free pass. Somewhere along the way, many, not all, of our parents have fallen off the triangle. Some have dropped out of being involved in their child’s education. Many teachers go out of their way to engage our parents.Unfortunately, very few take advantage of what is offered. READ MORE

I’m Going to Disney World!: Vacationing During School!

Disneyworld

“Mrs.M, I’m going to Disney World!”

“Fantastic, have a wonderful time! When are you leaving?”

“The week before Spring Break,we are going for a week!”

My mouth opens, and closes, because I can not say what I want to say. One of my students reminded me years ago, “It’s not my fault.”, and he was right. I’ve learned to keep my mouth shut.READ MORE

photo credit: Express Monorail via photopin cc

Ain’t Too Proud to Beg? Parent/Teacher Communication!

I attend the same church as one of  my students’ parents. I know her mom very well.  After service she made, I guess what she thought was a joke, and said, “I have never had a teacher email the parents as much as you do! I asked my mom if you have a life?”
I didn’t think it was funny.READ MORE…

Why Can’t We Hold Parents Accountable Any More?

I’ve noticed that whenever someone starts talking about  “the parents”, people want to shut them down. The immediate reaction is a harsh backlash, usually accusing the author of parent bashing.  “The parents” are off-limits. But, I’m going to go there.:)

I believe society started a trend from which there is no escape, and no turning back.  Parents were allowed to relinquish the reins of raising their children. They relinquished them,  handed them over to the schools, to the teachers. They stepped back, and said, “You take care of them!”  You make sure my child eats, you make sure my child can read, you make sure my child gets enough exercise, you make sure my child doesn’t bully anyone.”  The list is endless! How did this happen?

They are parents, and that is a job that should be taken seriously.  My mother raised 5 children, the key word being “raised”.  She took responsibility for us, she did not make excuses. She, (my Dad helped a little), made sure we were clean, completed our homework, ate dinner, played outside, she did this.  We were all reading before the first day of school. It seems to me that when you know that someone else is going to feed your child, clothe them, teach them, make sure their work is done, where is the incentive for you to do it?

I understand that parenting is difficult, but you can’t just stop once they enter school.  We need to hold parents responsible for providing the things their children need to be successful in school. If a child can come to school with the latest sneakers and/or latest video game console, why can’t they bring in a pencil, a notebook, the bare essentials for a classroom? If there is no Internet access at home, why can’t the parent take their child to the Public library, it’s free! Do you know how many parents look at me as if I have two heads when I suggest this?

We have to stop saying, “Oh, you know they’re not going to do it, so we (teachers) might as well.” That is not acceptable.

Do I mean let a child in your school go hungry, freeze, or not provide notebooks because their parent lost their job, or is on drugs, or any other catastrophe that can’t be controlled? No, I’m not talking about that parent.

I am talking about the ones who are perfectly capable of providing what their child needs, but refuse.  The parent who will not attend conferences because they are “tired”,  but will call you in a heartbeat to find out why their child didn’t go out for Recess today.

The parent who signs tests and notes, as they push their kid out of the car in the morning, and then call you to ask how their child is doing.  The parent who asks for extra work for their child, a day or two after the phone call informing them that their child is not doing any work in class or at home.

The parent who won’t pick up a book to read to their child at home, yet complains to the teacher about the child’s inability to read. (A parent told a friend of mine, “That’s what you’re here for!”) The parent who takes their kid to Disney World while school is in session because it is cheaper, and then asks you to provide a week’s worth of work!

I have had many wonderful, supportive parents, who will do whatever they need to for their child, make the sacrifices that are required. But, I have also had the other ones. And I feel if they are going to hold us accountable, then our parents should be held accountable as well! Remember the triangle? Three legs,the child, the parents, and the school.  Unfortunately, every time a parent lets go, that triangle collapses! How can we get our parents to pick up that leg?

Torn Between Two Parents! Dealing with Battling Separated/Divorced Parents.

The dad walked into my classroom for M’s parent-teacher conference.  I was surprised because mom said she would be attending.

His first words were, “I know SHE said she was coming, but when she heard I was coming, she decided not to come.”

My response was a simple, “Well, I am glad you were able to make it”, coupled with my best smile.

As the conversation about his child continued, it was interspersed with comments about what SHE said, or what SHE was doing, and what SHE thought about, you get my drift.  I managed to remain noncommittal each time he mentioned HER name, but I was getting frustrated. I always switched gears and guided our conversation back to  a discussion about his child.

Later that day, while checking my email , I received a note from the mom explaining that she did not want to sit in the room with HIM, and that is why she did not attend. She requested a phone conference. I was a bit annoyed, having to repeat the same information twice, but I called her. I had already sent home copies of everything I had shared with the father, with her son.  Of course, her conversation was dotted with references to HIM. And like her ex, none of it was positive.  I managed to avoid the potholes in this conference as well, continuously steering the conference back to my one and only issue, their child.

I have to say, this child is very well-adjusted for what he must hear from each parent on a weekly basis. He spends one week with one parent, and the alternate week with the other. They both stated that I can probably clearly see the difference when he is with one or the other. Actually, I can’t. I believe they are both good parents. But you wouldn’t know it from them.

My  kids come from a divorced home, and no matter my issues with their father, a common front was presented when it came to their education. I never wanted the teachers to feel awkward or uncomfortable, and I certainly didn’t want them to “take sides.” But in this situation with some of my parents, I get the feeling that they want me to become their ally in this war. A war that will have only one causality, their son.

On the plus side, I have just as many divorced or separated who put their child first, this is not about parent-bashing. I’m just curious, what do you do when confronted with this issue? What do you do when the battle enters your classroom?

The 12 Days of Christmas(My Principal Gave to Me)…

This is sung to the tune of ” The Twelve Days of Christmas.

On the first day of Christmas

My principal gave to me

A classroom and my own key

On the second day of Christmas

My principal gave to me

2 lesson planners

And a classroom with my own key

On the third day of Christmas

My principal gave to me

3 board erasers

2 lesson planners

And a classroom with my own key

On the fourth day of Christmas

My principal gave to me

4 desks to choose from

3 board erasers

2 lesson planners

And a classroom with my own key

On the fifth day of Christmas

My principal gave to me

5 desktop PC’s

4 desks to choose from

3 board erasers

2 lesson planners

And a classroom with my own key

On the sixth day of Christmas

My principal gave to me

6 versions of Bloom’s

5 desktop PC’s

4 desks to choose from

3 board erasers

2 lesson planners

And a classroom with my own key

On the seventh day of Christmas

My principal gave to me

7 days of PD

6 versions of Bloom’s

5 desktop PC’s

4 desks to choose from

3 board erasers

2 lesson planners

And a classroom with my own key

On the eighth day of Christmas

My principal gave to me

8 dry erase markers

7 days of PD

6 versions of Bloom’s

5 desktop PC’s

4 desks to choose from

3 board erasers

2 lesson planners

And a classroom with my own key

On the ninth day of Christmas

My principal gave to me

9 Teacher’s Editions

8 dry erase markers

7 days of PD

6 versions of Bloom’s

5 desktop PC’s

4 desks to choose from

3 board erasers

2 lesson planners

And a classroom with my own key

On the tenth day of Christmas

My principal gave to me

10 classroom strategies

9 Teacher’s Editions

8 dry erase markers

7 days of PD

6 versions of Bloom’s

5 desktop PC’s

4 desks to choose from

3 board erasers

2 lesson planners

And a classroom with my own key

On the eleventh day of Christmas

My principal gave to me

11 pats on the back

10 classroom strategies

9 Teacher’s Editions

8 dry erase markers

7 days of PD

6 versions of Bloom’s

5 desktop PC’s

4 desks to choose from

3 board erasers

2 lesson planners

And a classroom with my own key

On the twelfth day of Christmas

My principal gave to me

12(x2) rowdy students

11 pats on the back

10 classroom strategies

9 Teacher’s Editions

8 dry erase markers

7 days of PD

6 versions of Bloom’s

5 desktop PC’s

4 desks to choose from

3 board erasers

2 lesson planners

And a classroom with my own key

Parent Accountability: LETTER TO A PARENT #2

Dear Parent,

What possessed you to make the decision you made today? About a  week ago, I handed out test folders in the  morning to avoid  the chaos of handing the folders out at  3pm dismissal.  Everyone, including your daughter, was asked, if they were missing anything.  Everyone responded, including your daughter, that they had everything.  Three days later, when it was time to collect the folders, your daughter claimed that she did not receive a checklist  . She didn’t say it nicely either. Now she could have taken the initiative and asked you to sign the tests, but that’s not something I would really expect from your child.

Today, I reminded my students with missing folders, that during recess, they would call their parents, and give a friendly reminder to sign their checklist and return the folder.  Every child, but yours, accepted this responsibility. Your child became very snippy, told me she never got one, and how unfair it was. Oh well! This is how it works in our classroom.

However, while I was outside with the other students at recess, your daughter convinced the indoor teacher to let her call you. She called you, sobbing, (as you know, she can produce tears on demand),  telling you how unfair I am. She was heard to wail that I was not being fair at all!  And what did you do?  D id you tell her that you will deal with this at home?  Did you fuss at her for making a non-emergency phone call from school?  Did you ask to speak to the teacher? Did you tell her life is unfair,ask her to  hang up the phone, and deal with it like a responsible 5th grader? NO!  You came to the school and picked her up!!!!  

Two hours before the end of school! She missed a crucial math lesson.(Remember the conversation we had at conferences about her struggles with math, and I asked you to stop picking her up 20 minutes early just  so that you could avoid sitting  in the student  pick-up line?) When you came to pick her up, did you notice the smug, satisfied, look on her face?

But, don’t worry, she will be held accountable by me, even as you cater to her every whim.  She will learn that in our classroom there are rules to be followed, and consequences.  She will learn that Daddy and Mommy will not always be able to pick her up.  I will be glad to do this favor for you. You can thank me later.

Parents: Enabling Your Child Isn’t Helping Him

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