Saturday, March 26, 2011

Teachers, Administrators, and District 150 (OH MY!)

I'm probably going to get raked over the coals for this one, but hey, bring it.

I hear teachers and other school "officials" complain that parents need to be more involved with their kids' schooling. I hear over and over that teaching children is a partnership between the educator and the parent. I hear complaints that parents expect schools to "raise" their kids for them with little effort on mom or dad's end.

And I could not agree more.

First off, a shoutout to teachers. You people, in my opinion, have one of the most important and hardest jobs in the WORLD. Once we hand our little 5 and 6-year olds off to you on that first tearful day of kindergarten, they are by all intents and purposes in your hands to be a hugely influential factor in their tiny little lives for the next 12 years and beyond. And you're expected to educate, not only academically, but socially as well, sometimes 30 or more children per year on a daily basis.

It's a daunting task at best, especially in District 150, the bully on the playground.

Here's where I come in. I consider myself to be pretty involved. I respect the position of the teachers and feel that their goals can only be accomplished when they have the support and input of me, the parent.

What I don't get is why that partnership is often denied.

Yes, I understand. Teachers and other school officials these days are stressed with the increasing duties that they are expected to take on above and beyond cracking books and knuckles. They don't have "time" to go that "extra step" with students who are struggling, either academically, socially, or behaviorally. A part of me blames that on the support from above or lack thereof.

Yes, I'm "that parent". I'm the squeaky wheel. I'm the one demanding what is rightfully my child's and asking the teachers to maybe take that extra step, which in the old days would be status quo. And sometimes, it happens. One of my sons has who I consider to be an amazing teacher who has gone above and beyond to help him - and me - out this year. She has responded to my emails, offered suggestions, implemented strategies and in essence taken him under her wing - all while battling a major health issue, not to mention a gaggle of middle-schoolers. She is the perfect example of one of those teachers that you look back on in life and remember as being influential.

Then you have the ones that don't answer emails - even though that's the "preferred" form of communication. They aren't "available" for one-on-one's. They don't implement simple strategies that your child is (insert required by law) to have, simply because it's too much work. It becomes obvious to me that the level of dedication and personal satisfaction to their jobs isn't there. They see an email from me or my shadow darkening their door and they roll their eyes.

Fail.

Same for the higher-ups. You don't get to not like my child. You don't get to not like me. That's not how it works. I'm hoping you got in the position you were in because of your knowledge of the educational system, your dedication to children, and oh, maybe your people skills. I can pull out the whole "you work for me" card, but that's harsh. You and I work TOGETHER. WE ARE A TEAM. I do my part, and you do yours. That's the AGREEMENT when I put my treasure in your hands.

Oh, and as for you, District 150? Get your shit together - NOW. You are not making these teachers' lives any easier by the crap that you're throwing at them. Figure out your money issues, keep the class sizes down, quit closing schools and pay these educators what they are worth - especially the ones who go to bat for these children. Get off your high-paying horses and remember who you're working for... the children. They're gonna be picking out your nursing homes in a few years. Quit treating them like they're cattle, able to be shifted from school to school, packed in to overcrowded classrooms, taught with out of date textbooks and stripped of "extracurriculars" like Art, Music, and Language.

Teachers, for the most part, you have my utmost respect and support. The majority of you are stellar (insert shoutout here to every teacher at Charter Oak School). The rest of you + administration? Sit up straight and pay attention. You could learn a thing or two from these people.

2 comments:

  1. BRAVA!!! I'm sitting down to read some of my fave blogs with my iced coffee this morning, and yours was the first one I picked. This was awesome Ames! I totally agree with everything you said, especially about #150 being the bully of the playground. They are because they CAN. I wish I could get my son out of this district, good for you!

    p.s.-you should seriously consider putting this in at studio30+, I happen to know that Jules, who started the site, is a teacher. She would love this.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Every parent should watch the documentary "Waiting for Superman" (http://www.waitingforsuperman.com/)

    After watching, I have a renewed respect for (most) teachers and a soured opinion of Teacher's Unions and Administrations who have forgotten why they are "in business".

    I'd love to write several paragraphs here, but I'm already late to a meeting.

    ReplyDelete

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