Tag Archives: education advice

Warning Shot Fired at State Educators by Mississippi Legislature

After House Bill (HB) 449 in 2015 and HB 49 in 2016 failed to become law and silence state educators, the Mississippi Legislature may have delivered a coup de gras with the recent passage of HB 1643, Section 44.  Section 44 reads . . .

“None of the funds provided herein may be expended to make payments or transfers to the Mississippi Association of School Superintendents. Furthermore, none of the funds provided herein may be expended if any local school district expends any public funds to make payments or transfers to the Association.”

Over the years, the Mississippi Association of School Superintendents (MASS) has been a major education liaison between educators and the Mississippi Legislature.  After July 1, 2016, Section 44 may put an end to that relationship, but as grave as the loss of an association devoted to promoting and improving education may be, the gravest consequence of Section 44 may well be the silencing of educator voices across Mississippi.  By prohibiting payments from public funds to MASS and threatening to withhold state funds to any local district violating Section 44, the legislature fired a warning shot aimed at all state educators.  They sent a strong message that if any educator dares side or speak against them, as some superintendents did during the controversial and heated Initiative 42 campaign in the fall of 2015, there will be consequences to pay.

Bill author, House Appropriations Committee Chairman Herb Frierson, R–Poplarville, made it clear Section 44 of the bill is retaliation for what he called personal attacks against state officials by state school district superintendents during the Initiative 42 campaign.  He said, “When they attack people like that, they’re biting the hand that feeds them, and maybe the next time they need to think about that.”  However, the record supports the problem goes much deeper than Initiative 42.  Prior to the Initiative, House Education Chairman, John L. Moore introduced HB 449 in the 2015 legislative session that threatened to penalize educators $10,000 dollars for exercising their freedom of speech on school related issues.  He renewed his effort to silence educators in the 2016 legislative session when he introduced HB 49, which was basically a repeat of his failed 2015 bill.  The objective of both bills was to silence the voice of educators across the state who spoke in protest against state legislators who refused to honor the law and fully fund education.

Frierson said, “There’s very little trust between the leadership and school administrators and most of it goes back to the 42 campaign.”  He is right; little trust exists between state leadership and educators in general, and the vindictiveness of HB 1643, Section 44 will do nothing to build trust between the two factions.  The distrust between the two, which began long before Initiative 42, will only grow deeper as a result of such pettiness.  This rift began when state legislators repeatedly went back on their word to fully fund MAEP (Mississippi Adequate Education Program), and refused to work and listen to state educators on education issues.  This divide escalated with Initiative 42 when legislators placed an alternative measure on the ballot, which confused the issue and made it difficult at best for the Initiative to pass.  Trust between the two deteriorated further when legislators misled state voters with threats of budget cuts to other agencies if the Initiative passed – cuts that nevertheless became a reality after the Initiative was defeated.

HB 1643, Section 44 was a stroke of political genius.  By taking a less direct route than Moore and embedding the retaliatory action against school superintendents in the appropriations bill, Frierson kept his intentions under the radar as a part of the greater bill.  However, the impact on educators will be everything Moore hoped for, if not more.  Section 44 is most likely a death blow to MASS, and due to fear of reprisals against them, it may likely usher the end of educators speaking out for fairness, integrity, and common sense on education issues.  As Frierson would say, “If it does, it does.”  After all, why should free speech stand in the way of the greater power of the state legislature?

It is ironic some of the exact things the Mississippi leadership detests most about the federal government are forced on Mississippi citizens by the state leadership.  They detest the federal government usurping the power of local government, yet Section 44 tells local school districts how to spend local dollars.  They openly despise Common Core Standards because they argue the federal government bullied schools into using the standards or risk losing federal funds.  Doesn’t Section 44 do the same when it threatens to withhold state funds from local school districts that fail to take part in the legislature’s vendetta against the superintendent’s association?  It appears the Mississippi Legislature may be as power hungry if not more so than the federal government they rail so vehemently against.

Isn’t it also ironic America’s most basic right, free speech, is the right many Mississippi legislators want to strip from state educators?  In the United States of America (Mississippi is a part of the United States), instead of reprisals against free speech, shouldn’t there be reprisals against those who advocate such?  However, retaliation against either side will not resolve this issue.  As Frierson said the issues boil down to trust, and at this time neither the legislature nor state educators trust the other to do their jobs effectively.

After the defeat of Initiative 42, Lieutenant Governor Tate Reeves spoke about pulling both sides together as a family.  That has not happened.  All anyone needs to do is examine such bills as HB 49 and Section 44 of HB 1643 to see educators are not regarded as family by the state legislature.  If they were family, legislators would be more inclined to listen to them, and not try to silence them.  However, maybe Mr. Reeves’ words were for show only, and what Frierson, Moore and many others in the legislature really want is for educators to prostrate themselves before them.  If so, who is next – small business owners?  Ministers?   Simply put, Section 44 is nothing less than heavy handed tyranny that should scare all Mississippians into waking up!

JL

©Jack Linton, June 4, 2016

Advertisements

Back to School Advice for Teachers

A new school year is about to start, and many teachers have already been working – without pay I might add – to prepare their classrooms for the first day of school. Everything in their rooms will be perfect in anticipation of the arrival of new faces, new personalities, and new dreams. During those first days of school, teachers will lay a foundation filled with rules and routines for students to follow. Most students will listen closely and try their best to stay within the rules and routines, but a few will be hard-headed and insist on doing things their way, which will result in a long tedious year for them, their parents, and their teachers.

Sometimes adults (teachers) can be just as pig-headed. There are basic rules of conduct and strategies teachers can and should follow to ensure a great school year, but sometimes teachers choose to ignore them or, more likely, they are not aware of them. Where advice to students is usually matter-of-fact and rule based with little latitude for student interpretation, advice to teachers is generally optional and wide open to teacher interpretation. They can take it or leave it, or they can twist it in any way they so choose. While most teachers are eager to get as much help or advice as possible, especially if it will help them have a smooth running school year, there are a few who will heed no one’s advice except maybe their own. To them I say good luck, and to those teachers who would never turn a deaf ear to tips or advice, I recommend they look carefully at the following advice in this article. Some of this advice I learned by being pig-headed and learning the hard way, but the majority of it I learned through the kindness of colleagues who felt sorry enough for me to share. The first survival lesson any teacher should learn is to never be afraid or too proud to steal an idea, tip, or piece of advice that could have a positive and productive impact on their students and their careers. Therefore, I hope teachers read this blog and find something they can use to make their life as a teacher a little brighter and easier.

Back to School Advice for Teachers:

Kids – without them teachers do not have a job!

  • DON’T ever, ever, ever, put down a child, use sarcasm with a child or think less of a child because of his family background or previous history. Every student deserves to start the school year with a clean slate. When it comes to kids, parents send teachers the best they have to offer; they send the talented, the untalented, the smart, the not so smart, the even tempered, the hell-on-wheels, the cute and cuddly, the dirty behind the ears, the angels, and the mean as a snake.  They send the well cared for, the neglected, the well-adjusted, and the abused. Each time a parent sends a child to school, they pray the child will find a teacher who will ignite a spark or a fire that will give their child a chance for a brighter future;
  • DON’T expect kids to know what to do and how to behave! TEACH them your expectations, classroom rules, and routines beginning day one. DON’T just post rules in the classroom or go over expectations and routines one or two times. During the first couple of weeks take time to practice ROUTINES and reinforce EXPECTATIONS. PRACTICE what you preach!

Classroom Instruction – the teacher’s core work!

  • DON’T allow idle time such as allowing kids to talk quietly the last few minutes of class.       There is no such thing as TALKING QUIETLY – even adults cannot talk quietly for more than about forty-five seconds, so how can kids be expected to do so? DON’T waste your time reminding them to talk quietly over and over or waste their instructional time by permitting such a wasteful practice. Teaching BELL to BELL is more productive and less stressful!
  • DON’T expect kids to “sit and git.” School is not about teaching; it is about LEARNING! A teacher can be smart, prepared and do a great job of presenting the content material, but if the kids are not learning the material, the teacher has only done half the job. Teaching is the easy part. The difficult part – the part that separates real teachers from “hams on the stage” – is doing whatever it takes to ensure kids learn.  Teaching is about kids learning; it is not about delivering a lesson!
  • DON’T be a SQUATTER – be a TEACHER!   Teachers should be up moving around the classroom actively engaged with the students, and not sitting behind their desks.  This is an absolute must for middle school and high school teachers. At these levels, it is extremely rare to find a teacher who can effectively manage the classroom as well as teach from behind the teacher’s desk.  For elementary school teachers, there are times when the teacher must work with students one-on-one at the teacher’s desk. For this reason as well as many others, teacher assistants are crucial in elementary classrooms. Unfortunately, teacher assistants are luxuries that many schools can no longer afford due to budget cuts from lack of state education funding. [NOTE: In states that are serious about education, all elementary classes should have assistant teachers. Although I am a supporter of pre-k education, I believe it would actually be wiser and more beneficial to spend funds needed for pre-k education on assistant teachers in grades K-4 if having both is not feasible].
  • DON’T be a weenie; establish clear classroom rules and consequences and enforce them consistently! WARNING!  Do not hand out warnings freely!  Multiple warnings only serve to dilute the teacher’s authority in the classroom. If the teacher is more likely to give a warning than enforce rules and consequences for unacceptable behavior, the teacher should get rid of the rules and consequences and turn the class and their paycheck over to the students!
  • DON’T give homework unless it is necessary and even then make sure it is not just busy work!   If the homework assignment is not worth the teacher’s time to check or grade it the next day, throw the assignment out; it is not necessary! For homework assignments to be effective, feedback must be provided by the teacher.  Simple homework rule: NO FEEDBACK equals NO HOMEWORK!

Teacher to Teacher relationships – don’t alienate your biggest fans!

  • DON’T sabotage your relationships with other TEACHERS! The surest way to destroy relationships as well as destroy credibility is to engage in gossip about colleagues;
  • DON’T make remarks about other teachers and their teaching! Such remarks will come back and bite you when you least expect it. Do not ever make comments about another teacher in front of students that will make students think less of that teacher;

Teacher/Parent relationships – communication and excuses do not mix!

  • DON’T fail to communicate with parents regularly. A personal call to parents with positive news about their child’s progress will go a long way in making the parents believe you are the best teacher ever! Failure to communicate with parents by phone periodically sends a message to some parents that you don’t care. If you truly do not have time to call, then email parents, and make sure they have your email address as well;
  • DON’T make excuses in a parent/teacher conference about why you have not communicated a child’s lack of progress or failing grades. NEVER tell parents how busy you are or that you teach too many kids to communicate with all parents regularly! First, parents resent such excuses as being unprofessional and disingenuous.  Second, they could care less about the teacher communicating with other parents; the only child of any importance to them is their child. Third, parents are busy too, and in their eyes if the teacher would do his/her job and communicate with them regularly, their child would not be failing, which would mean the parent/teacher conference that has taken them away from their job and cost them money would not be necessary. Although parents should be expected to stay on top of their child’s grades that does not always happen. Teachers on the other hand are professionals and staying on top of grades and communicating with parents is their professional responsibility. It is one of the things teachers get paid to do. Face it, if parents hear their child is failing for the first time in a parent/teacher conference, or they find out the last week or two of the grade term, the teacher screwed up! In such a situation, about the only thing the teacher and principal can do is acknowledge the mess up, apologize, and give assurances it will not happen again; and
  • DON’T go into a parent/teacher conference expecting the worse; you are liable to get it!       Most teachers do not enjoy parent/teacher conferences, but by approaching the meeting positively, keeping the focus of the meeting on the student and off the adults and having documentation to support the student’s progress or lack of progress, these conferences can be productive for students, parents, and teachers. If the teacher suspects the conference may get heated, the teacher should request the meeting be held in the presence of a school administrator. Teachers should never go into a conference expecting to have their say and then leave without giving the parent a chance to speak. Conferences should not be allowed to become a debate, but two-way communication is a must. In fact, if the parents requested the meeting, it is always best to let them open the conference with their concerns. By letting the parents vent (without interruption), the parents are able to blow off a lot of pent up frustration, which helps to defuse the situation. When the parents have had their say, the teacher should acknowledge their frustration, but refrain from arguing or becoming defensive. Being defensive and arguing with upset or angry parents will not resolve anything! The teacher should use the documentation brought to the meeting to make points while being careful not to give their opinion or make judgements – the teacher should stick to the facts. At all times, the teacher should remain calm, and if the meeting becomes heated, the meeting should be turned over to the school administrator to bring it to a close.

Using these suggestions or strategies should increase any teacher’s chances for a successful school year, but unfortunately, there are no guarantees. However, over the years, this advice has proven time and time again to be effective in laying a strong foundation for a successful school year. I sincerely hope this advice proves useful to teachers once again this school year.

Have a great school year!

JL

©Jack Linton, July 27, 2015

Educating Mississippi’s Children: Can We Really do it on Our Own?

Mississippi State Superintendent of Education Dr. Carey Wright recently announced the Mississippi Department of Education will seek public comments for Common Core English and math standards. She said a committee of educators will then examine comments and issue proposals for possible deletions or changes to the Standards to the state Board of Education. Of course, Governor Phil Bryant and Lieutenant Governor Tate Reeves applauded her decision, but why shouldn’t they? In their eyes, Wright’s study panel constitutes a softening of her support for the Standards. That might not actually be the case, but Wright, who is caught between a rock and hard place due to her support for the Standards and her future as the State Superintendent of Education, has taken the only action available to allow her to “save face,” confront public conspiracy hysteria, and appease the Governor and Lieutenant Governor as well as the Republican dominated state house and senate. If the results of the study point negatively at the Standards, Wright will probably be given the opportunity to renounce her support and be welcomed by Bryant and Reeves as the long lost “prodigal son” who has finally come to her senses; however, if the study sheds favorable light on the Standards, Wright’s future as State Superintendent of Education could be in jeopardy. The only thing that is for certain with the study is that regardless of the results, Phil Bryant’s distrust of the Standards and Tate Reeves’ political aspirations will not be curbed.

In spite of its detractors, Common Core Standards represent a major step in the right direction for the education of Mississippi children who year after year rank nationally at or on the bottom in academic achievement. The Standards are not a threat to Mississippi children; the threats that hold potential disastrous consequences for Mississippi’s children are the lack of support for a curriculum (any curriculum) that dares step outside public and leadership comfort zones, lack of understanding or interest in the basic concepts of learning, and the inability of many in the public and in state leadership to comprehend the long term and unintended consequences of their failure to embrace a rigorous curriculum that teaches children to be critical thinkers rather than masters of simple recall of information. There are those in the public and state leadership who believe Mississippians do not need curriculum or even funding help when it comes to the education of our children; they believe we can do just fine on our own. If that is true, why haven’t we done so before now?  Instead, on our own, we have demonstrated year after year that when it comes to the education of ALL children in the state, we lack the motivation, resources, and maybe even the capacity to pull ourselves off the academic bottom.

When the facts are considered rationally without acerbic denials, bitter accusations, and acrimonious blame, the only plausible conclusion is that as a state, we have passed the point of “do it ourselves.” Decades of bad choices, bad leadership, bad men in important positions, quality of education dictated by geographical boundaries, and an embedded belief by state leaders that education is just another item that needs to be funded have led Mississippi to the brink of educational bankruptcy. Our children – we – do not deserve that! Unfortunately, too few in the public and leadership have any interest in understanding the facts or making the tough education choices required to end such malpractice. But, maybe, we are incapable of comprehending our dire circumstances or acting for the common good of Mississippi.

The only way Mississippi can prosper is if its people are knowledgeable, educated, individually responsible, self-reliant, capable of critical thinking and willing to accept the consequences of their actions. The plantation fiefdoms of the 19th Century are long behind us; we can no longer prosper as a state where the majority submits to the will and thought process of a few.  We can no longer afford a society where prosperity is often little more than a trickle down from the affluence of a few. The future of Mississippi is in the education of its children – an education that must be more than “good enough” – an education that must positively transcend to future generations. While there is a time for Mississippians to take pride in our “home grown” “we can do it better” heritage, such notions do not always translate effectively to the real world, especially in education. In nearly 200 years as a state, Mississippi has struggled to consistently get the education of its children right, so why would the public, educators, and leadership in a state that ranks regularly in the nation’s bottom two or three in academic performance believe we now have the capacity to do better without outside help? When it comes to education, we have had multiple decades of doing it on our own with little to show for our efforts. Do we want to continue banging our heads against the wall and in five or ten years still be trailing the rest of the nation academically, scratching our heads and asking the same questions, and still pointing fingers of blame?  If yes, then all we need do is continue on the path we are going.  If not, all of us need to stop treating our children’s education as a game, a political gambit, and a whipping boy for our fears and insecurities. We need to embrace a curriculum that takes us out of our comfort zones and into the 21st Century; we need to rally behind education and not against it.

JL

©Jack Linton, May 17, 2015

Common Sense Standards: Why Not Give Our Children a Chance?

Diane Ravitch is an education historian who has been torn between supporting Common Core Standards and not supporting the Standards. As of today, she does not support the Standards, but she has left the door open to change her mind by saying, “While I cannot support the Common Core Standards, I will remain open to new evidence. If the standards help kids, I will say so. If they hurt them, I will say so.” I respect that she is “open to new evidence” supporting the Standards, but what evidence does she have that supports the Standards will not help kids? She has criticized the Standards as untested and unproven, but wouldn’t that be the case for anything new that has yet to be given a fair chance to be tested or proven? Aren’t her concerns and the concerns of other Common Core critics untested and unproven as well? Does she really not support the Standards, or are her words examples of the age old education problem of “riding the fence” or “let’s wait and see?”

When it comes to support of the Common Core Standards, I am not a “fence rider.” Although I do have reservations about assessment of the Standards, I stand behind the commitment our schools have made to use them to improve the education of the boys and girls in Mississippi. I applaud the state’s educators for their bold commitment to enable Mississippi children to build the knowledge and skills they need to be competitively successful in today’s and tomorrow’s world. Such a commitment in the face of impending privatization of public schools, education misinformation or propaganda, ignorance, good old boy political posturing and attacks by those poor souls in favor of leaving things as they have always been in Mississippi is the stuff that makes for runaway bestselling novels in the New York Times and blockbuster movies in Hollywood. Thank the good Lord we have educators courageous enough to stand against the status quo and say this is what is best for Mississippi’s children!

As an educator for almost four decades, I believe the Common Core Standards are the best chance of improving education for children, especially in Mississippi. Of course, I realize my experience in education falls short of the evidence the naysayers seek that the Standards will make a positive difference in a child’s education, but I believe Ravitch might agree with me that past education experiences carry as much validity at this time as the limited non-conclusive evidence supporting or not supporting the Standards. Lack of clear evidence either way is at the core of her struggle to support or not support the Standards. Unfortunately, there are those who argue the lack of support from such a well-respected scholar is justification enough not to move forward with the Standards. They might be right if the variations of state standards we have spoon fed our children over the years had any real substance, but that has not been the case. They might be right if Mississippi could afford to start over from scratch and create its own new standards. We have tried that several times – FLE, MCT, MCT2, SATP and SATP2 – and each time after the politicians, concerned parents, business community, and scared for their jobs state educators gave their input as to what should and should not be included in the state standards and how it needed to be assessed and scored, we were left with a watered down state standardized mess that held little merit or benefit for students. I cannot speak for a nation, but I can speak from experience in Mississippi that standards should be strengthened, assessments should be administered that are timely and relevant, and classroom instructional practices should be aligned and tweaked to provide a more relevant and meaningful education for the state’s children. The Common Core Standards, which are not perfect but better than what we have offered students over the past several years, are the common sense approach to making those things happen.

Our children are not inferior to other children across the nation, but yet year after year, we are ranked on or near the bottom when it comes to education performance. There are three primary reasons for that: (1) Poverty – 35% of our children live at or below the poverty level; (2) Lack of commitment to education as a priority by many in our state legislature as well as in our homes; and (3) Inconsistent instructional practices in the classroom. In Mississippi, the quality of a child’s education often has as much to do with geography as it does with the child’s ability to learn. Until we raise the level of education commitment and quality for all children including those in impoverished areas of the Mississippi Delta and our inner city schools, Mississippi will continue to lie fallow at the bottom of the pile in the areas of education, economic development, and the general welfare of the people.

I do not have an answer for poverty, but a commitment to educate all children with the knowledge and skills they need to pull themselves and their families from the gutter of impoverished helplessness is the first step. I do not have an answer for the lack of commitment to education as a priority in Mississippi. The lack of education commitment is deep rooted in our culture and political system; nevertheless, we must do whatever it takes to eradicate such a culture from our existence. However, there is an answer for the plague of instructional inconsistencies that have ravaged Mississippi classrooms for too long. The answer lies in the consistent and sound instructional practices promoted through the Common Core Standards that if given a chance can and will make a serious even dramatic difference in the lives of Mississippi children.

My strongest reason for supporting the Common Core Standards is that I support and believe in the teachers of Mississippi, and they are telling me that Common Core Standards are the right thing to do for our children. As one teacher wrote, “Look at how America ranks in education. Look at where Mississippi ranks. Now, someone explain the case for not trying anything new to me.” Another teacher wrote, “We should be ashamed! If opponents would read the standards they would recognize that the goals are actually similar to goals stressed decades ago when people could read, write and complete math equations without the help of spell check and calculators. I say bring it on. As a teacher, I say ‘I am ready!’” I believe Mississippi is also ready! It is ludicrous not to try something new when what we have done for so many years in the classroom has not consistently worked. Consequently, it stands to reason and common sense that the Common Core Standards should be given a fair chance to succeed. Again, I cannot speak for the rest of the nation, but Mississippi has nothing to lose by implementing the Common Core Standards and everything to gain. Obamaphobia will be vanquished in a couple of years and in a few short years the good old boy politicians who want to railroad the Standards out of Mississippi in favor of the status quo will hopefully be relegated to sipping ice tea and swatting flies on their back porches. But, if we are not careful the impact of their insecurities and lack of foresight will plague our children for generations to come. Diane Ravitch may be wise in her cautionary counsel regarding implementation of the Standards across the nation, but for Mississippi the implementation of the Standards represent a major step up the ladder for our children. The question is will we be brave enough and committed enough to climb that ladder, or will we remain grounded as a stepping stone for the rest of the nation. Will we have the common sense to give the Common Core Standards and our teachers a chance to succeed on behalf of our children? Will we embrace the Common Sense Standards and give the people of Mississippi a chance to move out of the past into a brighter future?

JL

©Jack Linton, January 5, 2015

12 Tips about School Some Parents May Not Know

As I travel to schools as a consultant, I am always amazed at similarities between schools. The issues and concerns are pretty much the same no matter where I go. The only difference is the names of the towns, schools, and people. For example, as a teacher and later as an administrator, I often thought I was the only one who dealt with parents who did not have a clue as to the role of the school and their role as a parent. I often felt like every clueless parent in a one-hundred mile radius had boarded a helicopter with my school as the final destination. However, I have discovered more than likely helicopters filled with clueless parents are landing daily at every school across the country.

I am not pointing a finger at every parent. There were many wonderful parents when I was a teacher and school administrator, and there are many wonderful parents at the schools I now have the privilege to visit, but why can’t all parents be wonderful? All of us, teachers and parents alike, have the best interests of the children in mind, so why do some parents have to be so adversarial when they come to the school? Why do some parents “get it” while other parents enter the school house as clueless as a Betsy bug? After mulling over this dilemma at length, I came to the conclusion that some parents may not have been properly educated in regards to the finer points of school and parenting. So, I have made it my civic duty to give these parents some guidance for their role and the school’s role in the education of their children. Hopefully, the twelve tips I have provided will significantly increase the number of supportive, wonderful parents in schools across the country.

 12 Tips about School Some Parents May Not Know:

  1. School starts on time and at the same time every day. It is impossible for the school to sync its bell schedule with every parent’s watch. It is the parent’s responsibility to sync their watch with the school bell schedule, so they can get their child to school on time.
  2. Teachers are human and have feelings too. PETT (People for the Ethical Treatment of Teachers), a teacher rights campaign designed to bring attention to and end verbal and physical abuse of teachers, states that abuse of any kind is not an acceptable occupational hazard of the teaching profession. Recent research conducted by the Heinemann Institute confirmed teachers are sensitive to harsh vocal tones, extremely loud name calling, cursing, threats and intimidation. The Institute’s findings support the earlier work of Dr. Gwendolyn Haystacker that confirms the humanity of teachers.
  3. Use your inside voice when talking to the school receptionist, principal, and teachers. It is also advisable that if you are within six inches of the school employee’s nose, that you use a breath mint as well.
  4. Schools hold your children in the hallways during severe weather for their safety not to punish them or to inconvenience you.
  5. Custody battles are hard enough on children without bringing the battle to school as well. When it comes to custody battles, the only side the school is on is the child’s.
  6. A child’s attitude toward school is usually a direct reflection of the parent’s attitude toward school.
  7. When you cover or lie for your child, you are teaching them more about how to conduct themselves in life than teachers will ever be able to teach them.
  8. Homework and outside projects are for the child, not for the parent. There is no justifiable reason for a parent to do the homework assignment, science fair project, or reading fair board for the child. Stop making excuses for your child not completing his/her homework or project even if it is too hard for you to do. It is their assignment, so teach them to take responsibility for it, especially when it is difficult. You are doing your child an injustice when you teach them to look for an excuse when things get tough. You are the most important role model in their lives, and what they learn from you at an early age, good or bad, will influence them for the rest of their lives.
  9. The teachers are not always right, but they are right often enough for you to show respect and listen to their side of the story before you jump the fence with fire in your eyes.
  10. Embrace new ways of teaching! Get use to the idea that school is no longer the school you attended ten to twenty years ago. Get use to the idea that the world and school is rapidly changing whether you like it or not. You can resist all you want, but we are not going back to the good ole days.
  11. Accept the fact, that although your child might never lie, children act on a need to know basis. They tell adults only what they deem they need to know, which does not include self-incriminating details.
  12. Remember this the next time you hear someone comment about teaching being a cushy job with loads of free time. The average person works 1920 hours in a 240 day work year or an average of 40 hours per week or 8 hours per day, and they also receive overtime pay for any hours over 40 in a week. The average teacher works 2,035 hours in a 185 day work year or an average of 55 hours per week or 11 hours per day, and they do not receive overtime pay for any hours over 40 in a week including the weekends they work.

This list is certainly not all inclusive, so if you can think of anything else that may help all parents “get it,” please feel free to share. Schools need supportive parents, so whatever we can do as educators to help parents be more wonderful, we should do our best to make it happen.

JL

©Jack Linton, September 7, 2014