Conversation heard between two parents standing in line at Giganto-Mart:
Parent one: So did Emily get Mrs. Lebi? Mrs. Lebi was a wonderful teacher with Braden.
Parent two: No, she got Mr. Johnson. (Lengthy pause) We might switch schools.
It seems that there is always a remarkable teacher in the local school. And then there is a teacher that is not so popular, or is infamous for the wrong reasons.
You know the old adage: When the educational system gives you a lemon... (makes one wonder what the teachers that are considered to be lemons think of our child’s parents. Something to mill over).
If you feel the need to make educational lemonade, here are a few things you can try.
• Volunteer to assist in the classroom. You can’t turn things around or have any influence if you aren’t there.
• Convince other parents to volunteer. Even the best teacher in the world can’t do it all.
• Don’t be a flake with your schedule. Show up when you say you will be there, and don’t sit in the corner and text. Be active and helpful. Be the kind of parent any teacher would love to have visit the class.
• Don’t undermine the teachers authority with words, gestures or facial expressions. As much as you would like to be, you are not the teacher. Power struggles are not conducive to your child’s learning.
• Remember homework? It was something teachers gave to be able to move forward effectively and efficiently. Homework is a blessing that allows you to be the teacher at home.
Make sure that priorities are established and then follow through with them. Homework and education are more important than the Disney channel and more important than Xbox. First things first. If first things aren’t done, there are no second things. Try it again tomorrow, kid -- after you have done your homework.
• Understand that your children will make mistakes. Don’t blame these on the teacher or poor teaching. Kids learn at different paces. Rather than focus on the teacher, focus on the child and help him in areas where he may be deficient.
• Certainly don’t believe everything you hear about the mean and horrible teacher from the mouth of your child. I am sure you wouldn’t want the teacher to believe that same mouth concerning what happens at home. Give the kind of break to the teacher that you would want to be given. Breaks all around.
• Don’t badmouth the teacher. You will leave them with no power to do anything but wrong.
• Promote a love of learning at every turn. Watch a documentary on a favorite subject, go to the library just to see what it has to offer. Have your children google a recipe or a fact while you are doing dishes. Have them read to you. Read to them. Above all, understand that learning is not just for school. What happens at school augments what happens at home. If nothing is happening at home, try to augment that.
• Teach with actions, not words. Correct your own English and be willing to accept the same kind of feedback that you expect your children to accept. Learning is for everyone.
• There are more options today than there have ever been with our children’s education. Consider each option wisely. Education isn’t something for which you keep your receipt and get a refund. Invest wisely. Spend time contemplating facets of your child’s education.
Educational lemonade can be made when you use a hands-on approach to your child’s learning environment.
(Davison Cheney attended BYU where he became proficient in music and theater -- preparing him to be unemployed and to over-react. See his other writings at davisoncheneymegadad.blogspot.com, and be sure to Ask Prodigal Dad.)