Parents, the First Line of Defense

(Part Two of When Teachers Are Great.)

Teachers have one of the hardest jobs in the world. As a parent, I am handling the issues of my two children, and there are times when I am so frustrated I want to throw my hands up in the air. I couldn’t imagine the frustrations of a teacher who has a classroom full of children that they are trying to teach when they have students, like my own son, who are easily distracted, and who easily distract others. On top of that, the limitations that the state is imposing on schools are making the classroom a much harder place to maintain a proper learning environment. A teacher’s job is not easy at all!

As a teacher recently pointed out to me, the responsibility for how students learn is not in the hands of the teacher. Are you shocked about this? It’s true. The responsibility lies in the hands of the STUDENT. It is up to the kids, themselves, to own their right to an education by staying on task and being present in class, physically and mentally. When students don’t, it is a major disruption to the class, and it impedes the child’s ability to learn all that the teacher has to offer. My son, unfortunately, is one of those students. I may get a lot of story material out of him (let’s face it, nothing is more interesting than the misbehaving), but it’s been a sore subject when it comes to school.

So what if your child is one of those disruptive students that is goofing off in class? Is it then the teacher’s sole responsibility to curb the behavior? Are they required to stay after school, taking time out of their own personal lives to ensure that your little troublemaker is toeing the line? No. Some teachers will. But really, the teacher is not the first line of defense. You are. We are the ones who have brought these children into the world, and we are the ones who are responsible for the adults they become. Teachers are there as a guide in their education to help them gain the tools they need to be able to succeed in life. But it is up to the parents to instill the importance of soaking up this education into their children. And it is also important to teach them, and to keep teaching them, about respect in the classroom so that the teacher is able to teach, and so that their classmates are able to learn.

Unfortunately, there are instances when parents fail. The parent is never home. They don’t show interest in their child’s schoolwork. Their child is falling behind or causing trouble at school, and the most they are doing to correct it is to yell at the child but never take the steps to change the behavior. These are the children that fall through the cracks. Their first line of defense is missing. Their last line of defense, their teachers, see them as a disruption to the class and dismiss them. Because they aren’t being prompted daily to do their best or praised when they are showing effort, they don’t see school as important. It is a lucky student who has a teacher like my son’s teacher who is able to see through the rubble and find the gold that lies within. But without parents to stay involved every step of the way in their own children’s lives, it is hard for anyone to be able to reach them. Most teachers try. I have seen it time and time again. But without the same goals being encouraged at home, any efforts that teachers make will just fall by the wayside. And what is left are kids that, more often than not, flunk out of school and fail in life, and fail in the moral decisions they are faced with. Kids need to want to be present. In most kids, it is not a trait that is natural. It has to be learned, and then repeated over and over to the child so that it can become second nature.

It has to be repeated by you.

So be there for your kids. Encourage them every step of the way. Keep in constant communication with their teacher so that you know their progress and know what you still need to work on at home. Praise your child for work well done. Remind them of proper behavior and respect for their teachers and their learning environment. When your child leaves your home and enters the classroom, your job is not done since the teacher is there to take over. In all actuality, your job has become even more important so that they have the tools to learn and grow and someday be a really great adult.

Does your toddler throw temper tantrums (is the sky blue???)?  How do you deal?  Share in the forums!

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One thought on “Parents, the First Line of Defense”

  1. Amen.
    I doubt I would have the love of learning I do today had I not had parents that showed me how interesting the world was and how great it was to know stuff.
    I did get lucky along the way and have a few really wonderful teachers, but I think that there is a good chance that without the encouragement I received at home, the public school system would have beaten the joy of knowledge out of me…and due to certain programs that tie teachers’ hands, classroom learning has gotten even less inspiring. But if your children are taught to enjoy learning, they will do it despite the system.

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