Teaching The Future

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Dear World,

I am so involved with so many things these days that I did not realize it was teacher appreciation week. I was notified by Cassidy who had made a card for her teacher, complete with bookmark. There was a time when I thought that I would end up being a teacher. I actually went to school for a short while to become an elementary teacher. Sometimes I wish that I had continued but then I think about all of the things that I am still teaching. I think of all of the lessons that I am able to pass on to my kids and sometimes that is enough and other times I still feel like I let myself down. Either way, I think that becoming a teacher is one of the most challenging and rewarding jobs out there and I am grateful for all of the teachers that make a difference in our children’s lives.

As a parent I talk to other parents and it is always interesting to me the difference in opinions of teachers. There are plenty of parents that feel similar to myself that the teachers really try hard to make a difference. They understand that teachers put in more than an eight hour shift. They are challenged daily emotionally and physically to try and pass on a message to a group of children that come from different places and families. There are so many differences with each child that there is no way that a teacher can use the same tools and techniques for every child.

Teachers have to be adaptable. They have to adapt to different parents, children, religions, beliefs as well as adapting to what their individual school board expects of them. They really have a lot of bosses to answer to. The end result is hopefully a well rounded, nurtured students that has a growing desire to continue learning. Teachers aren’t just teaching ABC’s and 123’s anymore. There is so much more involved.

The other type of parent is that of a different opinion.  Of course, I am not saying either is right or wrong but rather different. This second group of parents expect far more from the teachers than what I feel is appropriate. I have often heard the argument that “The teacher sees my kid for eight hours a day, I don’t know why they aren’t understanding the lesson.” I think that these parents believe that the teacher is responsible for actually opening up the child’s brain and putting information in it. They are angered and often surprised when their child comes home with poor grades.

For myself, I realize that a teacher can not possibly just program information into a child’s brain. They are doing far more in my eyes. I am happy when Cassidy can come home and is able to read from a book that was used in class. It makes me so proud when she brings home math papers that she did all on her own. I love seeing all of the lessons that she is learning, but more importantly, I am ecstatic that she comes home excited to learn more. That is the work of her teacher.

I feel like dittos and books can be given to any child and they may or may not learn a thing. It is the teachers that actually speak to the children and can understand them that make the most impact. Sure, every teacher may not have this talent but the ones that do should surely be recognized.

I don’t look at the hours a teacher spends with my child as a reason for them to learn. I realize that in addition to this, I need to be present and assist in their learning. I can’t expect my children to learn everything that the teacher says. The teacher is a tool that should help my child on their learning path. I am also a tool. I can’t be absent in this learning process because I will only be cheating my child.

I think about my sister in law Melissa, who just graduated and will pursue a career in education. I can imagine that she is excited to head out into the real world and hopefully sooner than later have her own classroom. I would be willing to bet however, that at some point the excitement will be infused with frustration as well. I know from speaking with many teachers that they find themselves with little resources to do what they think is best for a class.

These teachers are so busy trying to please parents and school boards that I feel like the child is being over looked. I am aware that this may not be the case for all teachers but I  have heard it more often than not. How about all of the work that the teacher does in the classroom only to get no support from the parents? If the teacher sends home too much homework the parents are angry. If the child doesn’t learn the lesson the parents are angry and if the child doesn’t do well in standardized testing, the teacher is in trouble.

So much is placed on the head of the teacher today and I’m not sure how they do it. I am thankful to have a wonderful teacher for Cassidy this year and I hope to have the same next year. I am one parent that realizes how important it is to support Cassidy’s teacher by following through with homework and practices sheets even though time is short. I realize that the work we do at home will only benefit Cassidy in the long run. At the end of the day, Cassidy is my child and therefor I have some responsibility in her education. I can not pass all of it off to her teacher nor would I want to.

I hope that those of you who have children stop to think about how important the role of their teacher really is. It is often a thankless and difficult job but it is one that is so important in my eyes. Our children are our future and the education they receive today will last a lifetime. I want to encourage my children and their teachers in hopes that Cassidy and Jacob will grow up with a love for learning that never stops.

Love, Cherise

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