Saturday, September 10, 2011

Advice for parents of students

I've mentioned before that I've got it pretty good where I teach. Parents are involved in their children's educations and in the school. Highly involved parents are a great thing 99% of the time.

But there is that other 1%. And with student loads of 165, a teacher is likely to encounter a bad experience or two.

Teacher extraordinaire, Ron Clark, penned a note that puts a voice to frustrations teachers have with parents, The behaviors he lists are trending upward.

The article is short, but here are a few highlights.

"If we give you advice, don't fight it. Take it, and digest it in the same way you would consider advice from a doctor or lawyer. I have become used to some parents who just don't want to hear anything negative about their child, but sometimes if you're willing to take early warning advice to heart, it can help you head off an issue that could become much greater in the future."

"If you don't want your child to end up 25 and jobless, sitting on your couch eating potato chips, then stop making excuses for why they aren't succeeding. Instead, focus on finding solutions."

"If we give a child a 79 on a project, then that is what the child deserves. Don't set up a time to meet with me to negotiate extra credit for an 80. It's a 79, regardless of whether you think it should be a B+."

"I had a child cheat on a test, and his parents threatened to call a lawyer because I was labeling him a criminal. I know that sounds crazy, but principals all across the country are telling me that more and more lawyers are accompanying parents for school meetings dealing with their children."

I know there are some awful teachers out there. Education is not valued highly enough to keep them out of the profession. But while legislation is passed to hold teachers accountable for this, that, and the other, none is so much as proposed to hold parents accountable for much of anything.

When a school works, it does so because the community works together. Parents parent, teachers teach, administrators administrate. And students learn.

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