It’s no secret that the educational system in this country is flawed, outdated and getting worse rather than better. But, we can’t keep badmouthing teachers and the public school system at home and expect children to arrive at school with a positive attitude toward their education. We can’t keep complaining about what children aren’t learning in school if we’re not going to spend time teaching them what they aren’t learning in school: respect for others and their property, good manners, using appropriate language and dressing appropriately for a school setting, and self-control, where getting an education is a priority and making excuses isn’t tolerated.
Society has turned against teachers and public education. That’s fine. Again, we know that the system is failing; I know it better than many because I live in its wake every day. I will tell you that it’s not nearly as bad as you’re imagining. There are still A LOT of children who greet me politely every morning and expect me to have planned lessons that are rigorous and will teach them something meaningful to their future. There are still A LOT of children who come to school willing to learn, who will participate in their education with enthusiasm and willpower to ignore those who are distracting them. They come prepared, focused, and are mature enough to put aside social drama and think about goals that are important.
Wherever we choose to send our children to learn, we need to stop making excuses for them; it’s not helping them learn any valuable life lesson. Having high expectations and not “sugar-coating” reality will teach them that life isn’t easy and that anything worth having is hard to achieve. We need to make time for our children when we can, ask them questions and give them encouragement to make sure that they know we care, even when we don’t always feel like it or have time to do it.
I have to do these things for other parents’ children every day. I ask them if their homework is done; I tell them they look nice; I ask them how their weekend was or why they look sad or annoyed or tired today; I give them hugs when they need them, and I even give them clothes or food when they need those things too.
“Teaching is the greatest act of optimism” (Colleen Wilcox). Try to realize that most of us are doing our best and need your support at home to keep doing that in the face of society’s misplaced dissatisfaction. Change the system; don’t blame the teachers. If you’re a parent, act like it. If you don’t know how to do it, take a class. And, don’t make excuses to the teacher; acknowledge the partnership between you.