Writing my way through the school year!

Posts tagged ‘school’

“They Did Not Choose Their Parents”

These words were spoken at the 2011 PLC Summit I attended in Arizona last week.  “They didn’t choose their genetic pool”. “They couldn’t say I want two college-educated parents who love me, care for me, and make education my priority.”  

 I realized after hearing this statement,  that many times, I get frustrated with my students  about things over which they have no control.  When they come to school without school supplies,  their parent doesn’t sign a form,or  misses a scheduled appointment, or has made the child stay home to babysit, again.  These are things that the student can not control, but yet, year after year, my frustration is placed on a  child, who is probably just as frustrated as I am!  How many times has the child walked in the day after parent-teacher conferences, and I’ve said, “Your mother scheduled an appointment and didn’t come”  The child stands there wide-eyed, not knowing how to reply. Maybe they know why, maybe they don’t,but  that’s not the issue.

We need to work around the parents who are not supportive, the ones who just don’t have the time.  We need to tell our children, “You do you.”  “You do what you need to do to succeed.”  Let’s not hold them accountable for the mistakes, or neglect, of their parents and guardians.  Let’s not make them bear the weight of their parents’ transgressions.  Why say to a child who is late every day, “You’re late again.” Knowing  the only way the child can get to school is if their parent drives them.

So, I’m taking a new outlook, and it began yesterday.  I have a student who is out every Monday.   I would fuss at him every Tuesday about the work he had to make up or didn’t understand.

 “Well”, I would say sternly, you need to be here on Mondays.”

 He was in school yesterday and instead of a  “Glad you could make it”, I smiled and said, “I am so glad that you are able to be here today.”  A smile lit up his face and he said, sincerely, “So, am I.” The next time he’s out, I will work with him and help him catch up. Am I a” bad” teacher? I don’t think so, but I’m certainly not the best I can be. I’m learning though, and I’m willing to take a good, hard, look in the mirror, and correct my mistakes.

Come to Me!

When I was a kid,  if there was a problem, my parents went to the teacher. Well, there was never a problem with me, I was a “goody-goody.”  As a teacher during the 80’s and 90’s, the parent would voice their concerns, to me. However, there seems to be a trend now where the parents skip the teacher, and go straight to the principal, or God forbid, the DISTRICT! Yesterday, I received an email from my principal,” Ms H, Jane’s mother (names have been changed to protect the guilty) called and would like you to call her and explain the grading system. ” Huh?  This parent is new to our district, so she might not be familiar with our grading system, that’s not a problem for me, that’s understandable. My problem is that she and I have sent emails back and forth where I have answered any questions she has had, why at this point did she feel she had to call my principal? And no, she never asked me about the grading system. Now understand, I send my students’ tests home with a checklist with the grading system on it. She signed the checklist, if she had a question, why didn’t she write it on the comments line?  Why didn’t she email me or call me?  Thankfully, I have a very supportive principal, because this seems to be a growing  trend.  One year I had a parent write a letter to President Obama(I’m not kidding) because her ill-mannered child couldn’t get used to the fact that there were consequences in my classroom. I believe it goes back to the whole idea of respect for the teacher  has gone out the window.  It’s as if, the teachers are not that important, which is strange, since we spend the better part of the day with their child. I feel as if it undermines my authority when a parent skips me and goes straight to the principal.  Why wouldn’t you tell me that Sam is bothering Trisha in the classroom? Why would you call my principal to tell him your child was upset because she couldn’t get on the SMARTboard today?  If  a parent  comes to me, and is not satisfied with the results, I say go for it. But it would be nice, if they came to me first. 

At our meeting today, my principal said, ” They skip you and come straight to me.”

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