Thursday, July 06, 2006

This I Believe

I haven't heard back from this show on NPR. I said I'd share it with my readers so here it is as promised.- LCR

This I believe. I believe that it is our responsibility as parents to educate our children.

I believe that more than ever now that I’m a parent myself, but it’s a belief that I formed long before I had children, while I was a substitute teacher in the Houston Independent School District.

Two years into a job in Corporate America I quit and went to work as a substitute teacher because I thought I wanted to go into teaching. What I found was disappointing.

Until I worked as a substitute teacher I had no idea what teachers go through on a daily basis. I couldn’t believe that the most important job in the world, the people who first help shape our future leaders, are the most underpaid profession. I never knew that the reason that there are teacher supply stores is because teachers spend from their own paycheck to add to their classroom.

I also learned how hard it can be to teach children. I was hired as a long-term substitute teaching Pre-K and the children were a handful. Both my morning and afternoon classes were filled to capacity and were only one child short of requiring a teacher’s aid in the class with me. All the children were my sole responsibility and I had to make sure they all received my attention. I lasted one and a half years.

Soon after, a woman I knew was complaining about how badly her child was doing in school and she was blaming the teacher. I asked her if she spent any extra teaching time with him at home. She told me quite sharply that it was not her responsibility to teach her child. She said that that was the job of the teacher.

I still didn’t have children of my own but I was shocked by this woman’s attitude. Having been a teacher myself I know how difficult it can be to give each child individual attention and how important it is for parents to remain involved.

I knew then and there that when I had children of my own I would not leave their education completely to someone else. When I send my daughter to kindergarten in the Fall I will expect for her teacher to teach her the fundamentals, but it is our job as parents to follow the teacher’s outline and to build on that base.

It’s our job to teach her more things about life that she won’t learn in a classroom. It’s our job to turn off the TV when we don’t want for her to watch something we find inappropriate.

It is not ultimately a teacher’s, or anyone else's, job to decide what our children learn and are exposed to. It is our job as parents. This I firmly believe.

4 comments:

RogueHistorian said...

Sadly, this woman's attitude is nothing unusual. My mother has been a teacher for more than a decade now (1st Grade). Many people feel that schools are intended to do the day-to-day job of parenting for them. At the same time, however, they are unwilling to provide the shcools more funding in the form of higher taxes.

Teaching was once considered an honorable profession (I still considered it one) and was paid accordingly. Now, however, many people believe that teachers are lazy and incapable of doing anything else ("Those who can, do. Those who can't, teach"). These are the same people who think that teachers are over paid because they "get the summer off." They do not realize that teachers also the get the summer off from being paid - I know many who have to take part time jobs during the summer simply to make ends meet.

Or the people who feel that, because they do not currently have children in school, they should not have to pay for schools and teachers. I always want to ask them, "So, who paid for yous? You?" Unfortunately, there are some people who simply cannot understand these things.

Amra Pajalic said...

I don't have kids yet but a friend of mine who does realised she had to get invovled with her son in order to get his literacy skills up. While teachers do the best they can they can't individually tailor lessons for each child and different children have different learning needs. Parents cannot delegate this responsibility and hope for the best.

I have a friend who is a high school teacher. Even though she gets summer and breaks off, she probably does more work than I do in a full time job. She has after school activities, has to do corrections on the weekends, and then there's the preparation for each class. She has to read all the texts and prepare what to teach. When all this is evened out it works out to more than a full time gig. Plus, as you said, summer isn't paid for because she's on contract.

Coco said...

Thank you for being supportive of Teachers... My sister in law is now a Teacher, BUT she is in a state of SHOCK! She actually thought it was going to be "easy"- ha! Es una "vocacion"! Si no lo sientes, mejor no le entres! If you're doing it for the money, ha, ha, ha! It's NOT there!!

This also applies to religion... The parents need to teach it! Children need to see it first in their parents! Don't expect the Church to do it for you!

Un fuerte y caluroso abrazo.
Bendiciones.

Rosie T. said...

Amen to that girl!