For grade school teaches what to you think is a major challange in teaching young kids in todays society?
Take that in any context….
It is most difficult to teach “appreciation” by books, lectures, computers and evry other instrument of teaching we may have…
They can only learn by experience… and we can provide so little of that… in our schools….
To me… that is because we label ourselves and teachers and educators and forget that we are “guides”….”a person to lean on”…. when needed…
Politics (blaming the schools, making “reforms” that cost more money and then cutting the budget, etc., administrators blaming teachers to save their own butts and not upholding discipline)
Distractions (students having to work to support their family or lifestyle, too much media, gangs, crime, etc.)
Now, when I have a meeting about one of my students, I have to call and call and call…leave one message after another…go through all of the emergency contacts. Yes, some parents are trying to avoid me because they are already aware of the problem and don’t want to deal with it, but moreover, I have found that families are exceptionally busy in today’s modern world. They have more than one job to go to. Even with the advent of cell phones, not all work places allow them to be turned on. Parents do not have a support network like our parents did. Our grandparents were retired and had enough time to meet our needs in emergencies. Today, a lot of grandparents are still in the workforce. They can’t afford to retire.
So, just getting parents involved in the school world is a challenge these days. If I can’t get them to attend an important meeting, then forget the brownies, fund raisers, school plays…etc. In fact, we have to have skits that are not solo in most cases so that we are prepared in the event that the “solo” child does not show up….and the same holds true for the understudies. Besides, who wants to be an understudy?!
And of course, there is the behavior issue. It is difficult to work on behavioral modification plans when you don’t have the parents on board. Sometimes, our students are rebelling just for attention- they can’t get it at home if mom is working 2 or 3 jobs and is a single parent. Kids will gain attention wherever they have to- be it positive or negative. In most cases, I try to ignore the negative and encourage the positive, but that only works with some individuals. Lately, kids are entering our school environment with a lot of hostility. I remember a teacher escaping harm by the quick thinking of another visiting teacher when a child hurled a desk at her back. The other teacher was standing nearby and pushed the unsuspecting teacher to the ground. She could have been knocked out by the desk. Why did the student do it? He had been on a behavior plan and didn’t like the results at the end of the day. The visiting teacher had come in to tell him that the principal wanted him in after school detention. He became violent and assaulted the teacher. He received a one day suspension for his action. His father brought him back to school in order to be re-admitted. The same father had been invited to countless meetings to discuss his son’s recent violent ourbursts. The school had wanted to nip the problem in the bud before it escalated. It had to escalate before the parent showed up.
Lack of parent participation in the school system leads to schools making rules that are sometimes unfair to the “good” kids in order to manage the parents of the kids with behavioral issues. I miss the days of teaching and not having to deal with constant behavioral management throughout the day. I am looking for a different career. I have been physically hurt on the job (I work with special needs students) several times and and still dealing with the repercussions of the injuries. I could have sued the school countless times for lack of support…but I love what I do-teaching…that is….when I get the chance to teach!
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