This last week or so have been a whirlwind. I have been at both of my children’s school as well as making sure that both of my older children have what they need. Since the death of their grandma my husband and I know that they have been affected. The day of the funeral my son went into a behavioral spin and has been spinning since then. Now let me make a quick disclaimer, I am not one of those parents who think their kids are angels. Trust me they are not. However as hands on as my husband and I are I know for a fact that I can separate the things about my children from a spike or a low.
So of course for the sake of my children’s privacy I am not about to blog about anything in particular dealing with their issues but I want to highlight a few things for educators. Educators have a hard job. They are underpaid and have to contend with the best and the worst of children. However let me give you a few lessons and nuggets from a hands on parent:
- Communication. Its one of the things that educators complain that they don’t get enough of from parents. FYI if you have parents who are on top than its up to you to hold your end of the bargain. My kids are the type that will tell me the real. They have told me what a teacher says in my presence doesn’t align with what they actually do. I am not talking in the form that benefits my kids either. I am talking about straight, no filter of what took place. To test that theory I will mention something and check the response and find that my kids were on point. It’s important to be clear with rewards as well as be consistent in discipline.
- Watch your words. I was in the bathroom at one of my children’s school and overheard a completely negative comment. The not so funny thing is that my child was in ear space of the comment as well. Words have life. You make enough comments about how bad or how horrible a child is when I had been watching that child and could physically see that the child was just standing there is one reason for me as a parent to not trust you. Even if the statement was a blanket statement my question is, do you have no filter? Let’s say the child in the class is practically Freddie incarnate, what benefit will you get by saying to a child, you are the worst child I have ever seen? Some of these teachers can say the meanest thing and then want a positive response. I haven’t yet dealt with the teacher in question but I definitely plan on it. We are teaching our children to be respectful and as a child they can’t always properly put into words what was said but they do know how it made them feel. As a parent, from one adult to another, it’s a problem and I want an explanation. You can be human all day but understand that human or not as an adult the expectation is much higher on your side than a child. Don’t like it get a new field.
- Seek an answer. Just because a child is doing anything, never assume. Ask. Do you know how many kids are being emotionally abused at home? I hear it all the time, parents swearing at their kids, talking down to them, embarrassing them and then they come to school and you do the same thing but you choose the tone of your voice to be different to sound better than the parent and you’re no better. Everything isn’t black or white. Investigate the grey area.
- Have empathy. Did you know that child only eats at school so in the am before food is being given out they may be grumpy? Did you know the child that is being molested before school? Some of your worst students can’t all be turned around but you can at least make a positive impact for the few hours they are in your care. Being a teacher is no different from being a social worker. Some of the same skill sets need to be evoked.
- Have fun. No one wants to come to a class with someone with the most sour face in the world. Why should they want to enjoy your class? Make it fun to learn. It doesn’t matter what grade a student is in even in college classes, be fun. Be stern and don’t slack on the rules. If the rules take away from pure enjoyment than you need to find a new subject to teach.
Educators aren’t babysitters not even daycare workers. Educators especially in the early education component have a unique opportunity to shape our next leaders. It is imperative that you either be about the children you manage or bow out. There’s no room for you to simply do the basics to just get a check.
Let me give you an example. When I was in high school I had a 4.0. I was one of the top of my class. I had a guidance counselor that made the comment that I wouldn’t need to know about scholarships because I wouldn’t need it. Que? Why would a straight A student not need to know about scholarships when at the time I had been accepted into every school I had applied? When I went home and told my parents what was said, my mom immediately called a meeting. When we got to the meeting the first time he was too busy talking and hanging out with students to meet. My mom had to reschedule. The second meeting he had his legs folded on his desk trying to talk to her. She walked out of that meeting immediately. She called another meeting with the principle and from that day I never had that guidance counselor again. My mom’s concerns were that no one sits their feet up on a desk for a meeting with a parent like they were on familiar terms. The second was that she demanded his respect in regards to me and clearly since he disregarded her she could see why I felt the way that I did. Shout out to my next guidance counselor, she got it right and assisted me in everything I needed.
The point was simple. As a child even an almost adult child, listening is clear. Finding a solution won’t happen when all you want to do is label a child. If I was labeled being a straight A student who had never gotten into trouble at school at least, how much more any other child. A child shouldn’t have to be perfect to receive respect. Words matter. What you do to appear as an advocate of that child matters as well.