Cobb County schools start next week. This week is full of last minute school shopping, open houses and orientation. We fill out paperwork, visit the classroom and set our personal expectations for our children, the teachers and the school.
Just like any other job, some teachers put more effort and passion into their work than others. When test scores drop, we blame the teachers. When school systems are convicted of cheating, we blame the teachers. When our children do not understand certain subjects, we blame the teachers. When our children have problems with bullies, a low self-esteem or hate school－we blame the teachers.
If your child ends up with a teacher who truly goes above and beyond, then you are blessed. Even with the help of a great teacher at school, education starts at home. Too many of us are dependent upon others in certain areas of our lives. Some of us bank upon on a spouse to take care of the finances or rely on a maid service to clean our homes. Some of us are so occupied toting kids back and forth to activities that we no longer parent, we just provide “busy-time”. It is wrong of us to turn to the public school system to raise our children.
Schools provide many opportunities and good things beyond academics such as lunches, physical education, after school care, etc. But school cannot replace a loving home or parents who take an active interest in their child's welfare. Should teachers have the responsibility of teaching our children basic discipline, respect or manners? Should the only learning opportunities a child receives be those provided in a classroom? Should the teacher bear the entire burden of teaching our children to exercise self-control, to read, to complete a project or to function as part of a team?
It is ridiculous to expect these kinds of things, yet many do. Between conducting lice checks and active-shooter drills, teachers are given little time to actively “teach”. Do your children and their teachers a favor－start and continue the educational process at home.
Education is more than just academics. Dictionary.com defines education as “the act or process of imparting or acquiring general knowledge, developing the powers of reasoning and judgment, and generally of preparing oneself or others intellectually for mature life”. Educating your child means teaching him respect, tact, sharing, cooperation, listening, following directions, communication, character development, morals and a myriad of other integral life skills. It means being an active part of your child's life by assisting the teacher and not depending on her.
Even if you are a single or divorced mother, it is not that difficult to check whether or not your child has homework and to make sure that he does it to the best of his ability. If he doesn't understand something, resources are available. Even if the only math you perform is to balance your checkbook, there is a wealth of information on the internet. Also many churches, community organizations and schools offer tutoring and help with homework at little to no cost. The Homework Hotline is a free service provided by a joint effort between Atlanta metro schools and Public Broadcasting Atlanta (PBA). Teachers are available to answer questions Monday through Thursday from 3-9 p.m. on normal school days. The number to call is 678-553-3029 or click the Homework Hotline link to communicate via email.
Even with these resources, it still takes you. It takes you to provide the transportation. It takes you to make sure your child has the needed materials. It takes you to make sure your child has the motivation to stay on task. It takes you to provide the encouragement and care that your child craves in order to succeed. It takes you to cooperate and communicate with your child's school. It takes you to follow up and be on top of any problems, academic or not.
The most important part of your child's education is not your child's school or teacher, it is you.