So, I have always admired teachers. I still do. I know they could find a job that pays better and has less hours - but I know that they often feel "called" to teach. I know teachers are believers in our youth and that they can sometimes are the ONLY positive role model in a child's life. As a student myself, and then as a mother of two students, I have always respected teachers.
I am looking at teachers from a different angle now because I have a daughter who recently got her Masters in Education - English Literature. She had a very positive "student teaching" experience in a high school, she graduated and got her degree in May, and then got hired at the same school. Yea! Right??
Then….. the school year started. The reality of the educational system in America has hit her hard. She went into her new classroom excited, full of energy and enthusiasm! Ready to face the students - nervous, yes - but ready to take on each day. I knew she would be knocked down occasionally and that some days were going to hard. I told her so… and others too. So, she knew it but she kept a very positive outlook.
My daughter is teaching in an urban environment, with a mix of ethnicities, a mix of backgrounds, etc. It's a big high school probably like many you find in any city around our country.
Since her first day there she has personally witnessed fist fights - first in the cafeteria, then last week in the hallway outside her room, and yesterday IN her room. It was "classic bullying"…. a tough, bad-ass guy taunting a quieter boy. Finally the boy pushed back and the bully smacked him in the face. My daughter, the teacher, is trained to stay out of it, and to pick up the classroom phone and call security/the principal's office. She did. Afterwards, when the fight stopped, my daughter sent the aggressor to the office. She tried to regain control and get back on topic. And, after school she filled out a report.
A rough day? Yes. But - here's the icing on the cake. After the stress of her day, she went home for about 2 hours and then went back to school for "Parent's Night." She had prepared for it, ready to tell parents about her, and about the curriculum, and how support from home is needed. So… guess what?
Out of 31 students in this "block class" not one single parent showed up for "Parent's Night!!" Not a single one. She sat in her classroom alone.
As her mom, and as a person who enjoyed many "Parent Nights" that I went to when my daughters were in school, it totally saddened me. It made me mad! I couldn't believe it. What? No parent was willing to take the time and learn who their child's teacher was, and to learn about the subject matter for the semester? Just to go for their kid!!
So… how can a student learn the importance of learning, the need to be better through education, and how it can be a fun experience IF their own parents don't give a hoot and show up for one night? Seriously. What is wrong with people? How can a parent not care about their own child enough to want to learn about their school and studies?? It just baffles my mind.
I know there are educators out there totally frustrated - and there are those who spend their whole lives trying to change it. So, I know what I am saying is no surprise to many. But, personally, for me right now, it hurts to see my own daughter try so hard to be a good teacher, and to care about these kids… for naught. To hear her cry on the phone - and to know her balloon has bursted. It's tough on a mama.
How can I as a parent care SO much, but yet there are parents out there that don't seem to care at all??
Seriously, what makes a good parent? We need to find out! As the old saying goes…life is going to hell in a hand basket if we can't get parents to care enough to attend a "Parent Night" at school!!