I began my teaching career in the wake of the Viet Nam rebellion.
Campus culture had changed. Drugs were rampant. "Everybody's Doing
It" was the life motto. None of the motivational teaching
techniques I had learned worked on this changing population.
I've been at this long enough to realize that everything changes! We have a new population, and what we learned in school doesn't always work with them.
We must constantly be learning and growing ourselves. Otherwise, we become bitter which means we are the problem, not our students.
The thing is...we don't often like what we see with a new generation. Current surveys say the new generation of employees have no work ethic. Yikes!
We educators continually face two dilemmas:
Is our job to teach students our subject or to keep them from destroying their futures with whatever vice is in at the moment?We know the answer. Our job is to do both.
Is it more important to demand excellence or to instill a love of learning in our students?
We know the answer. We have to do both.
We can't do it alone. We need parents as our partners.
As a beginning teacher, I had no children of my own. I was reluctant to contact parents...they intimidated me.
As a parent, I realize that anyone who loves my child is a friend, not a foe. We are on the same team. I can face any parent with any problem and begin the conversation with a version of, "You have an amazing son (daughter)!" Parents are begging to become involved. They are seeking tools. If schools survive this generation, we must empower parents and learn how to partner with them.
My evening parent workshops are usually scheduled from 7:00 to 8:30. I always begin and end on time, out of respect for those who come on time and those who need closure so they can leave. Then I say, "I'll be here to answer questions as long as you like."
At my first meeting, I formally closed at 8:30, and no one budged. They began asking questions. The custodian kicked us out shortly before 10:00 PM. Parents are insatiable when it comes to learning tools to help their children!
Find tools and programs for your PTA meetings in Home Sweet Homework.
Don't be intimidated by parents. You're on the same team. Teaching can be a lonely profession. It is always easier, more productive, and more fun to work as a team.