United We Stand In The Education Of Our Children

Are you a parent who has felt difficulties in communicating or being involved with your child’s school?  Are you a teacher who wished that each of your student’s parents were more engaged or forthcoming?  I have been both at different times, yet somehow did not make the connection that I had the same interests and wishes either way.  I have felt left out of my child’s education and I have felt alone in the education of my students.  As a parent and teacher who has reflected on this a great deal, I feel I have a bit of insight. 

Parents, here is what I want you to know: 

Dear every parent of every child in my class,

I care so much about your child and want success for him.  I work tirelessly at a nearly unappreciated job (teaching) because I care so much.  I am constantly thinking of new ways to ensure your child learns what they will need to know when they leave my classroom at the end of the year.  I attend seminars, read education books, and get an educational degree so that I can do this to the best of my ability.  I truly want only what is best for your child.

Sincerely,
Your child’s teacher

Ok, teachers, your turn:

Dear every teacher of my child,

I care so much about my child and want him/her to be successful in school and life.  I work tirelessly at a nearly thankless job (parenting) because I care so much.  I am constantly reading the notes you send home and working with my child to ensure that he/she is respectful, completes his/her homework on time, eats a good breakfast, and gets enough sleep.  I read parenting books, chat with other parents and reflect so that I can do this to the best of my ability.  I truly want my child to be as successful as he/she can in your classroom.

Sincerely,
The parent of a child in your class

Interesting that we are all trying so hard to ensure a quality life for our children (our children is used collectively…as in all the children in the United States are all of our children; they are our future).  We want our children to be successful, happy, productive members of our beautiful country and we are all in this together.  So the next time your child’s teacher is short with you, please see the frustration behind the tone; the teacher is worried about your child’s learning.  Additionally, the next time you feel like a student’s parent does not care, please see the exhaustion behind the effort; the parent really is doing the best they can to ensure academic success. 

Let us all assume good intent.  When you hear a tone, assume that tone comes from concern.  When you see a “dropped ball," assume that all available effort was used.  There are not two sides to education; the home and the school.  There is only a united team, working for the same outcome; a better future for our children and our country.  United We Stand!

Besides assuming good intent, which is the first step, here are some other things parents and teachers can do to be a phenomenal team in our children’s education:

Parents:

  • Ask how you can help given your schedule.  You could help cut, sort, clean, research, feed, thank, etc.

Teachers:

  • Demonstrate your caring concern for my child.  You could ensure positive comments far outweigh negative, send home encouraging notes, appreciate efforts, truly get to know my child, etc.

Written by: Michelle Peeler, YRead/Youth Education Program Director, YMCA Community Literacy & YMCA Community Development Branch

 

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