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School-Parent Connection Blog:
You want clarity, reassurance, and guidance when it comes to staying on top of your children’s educations. That’s what I offer you in these blog posts. Get the reasoning behind the creation of the strategies and routines you will be using. Take a look…
Strategies and Workbooks:
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Ever since I could remember I have wanted to be a teacher. I sat my dolls in rows on my bed and taught them using a white-board I begged my Dad for from a thrift store. Teaching my dolls made me feel helpful, inventive, and involved. As I got older, my parent’s friends would hire me to tutor their kids in subjects I was doing well in. Those same feelings followed me through my tutoring experiences. I was teaching someone something they weren’t comfortable with and that was the best form of assistance anyone could give. I tracked my whole education around becoming a teacher, signing up for the “Pre-Teaching” Institute in High School and using all of the years of my higher education in Teaching Programs.
After I graduated College I dived right into teaching adults English at a business school in Manhattan. Working with adults while I was barely out of college intimidated me at first. That was until I realized I had information these adults needed. I had information that was important enough for them to ignore my youth and pay close attention to what I was teaching them in the classroom. I learned the value of developing relationships with my students to allow space for their personal lives and experiences to tailor the approaches I used to teach and guide them.
Then my life-long dream came true. I got hired to teach ESL and English at a high school in Manhattan. I was in front of real children, not dolls, who needed me to help them communicate with a country full of people who did not speak their language. I learned quickly to sometimes set my lesson plan aside and just listen to my kids’ concerns and insecurities. Just like with my adult students, there had to be space for them to express themselves to me so that I could tailor the classroom experience to their needs and goals.
More dreams came true after I got married and had my two girls. It was not until then that I realized the uncertainties and worries that come with being a parent. How do I know if I am doing it right? How do I know if I am making the right decision? The only space I felt clear and level-headed when it came to them, was when I was teaching them something. It came naturally to me, figuring out what was age and personality appropriate and then creating fun looking tools and charts to help them. I’m determined, even now, to help my girls feel comfortable with learning new things, expressing their inability to understand something, and take a project on their own and tackle it.
The teaching flow was not so easy back at work though. Classes change. Seniors graduate. ESL students test out. My bosses decided to try me with a lower level of ESL students and I struggled. I thought it was the language barrier, and it was. Partly. I was so busy trying to catch them up to where the curriculum wanted to be that I forgot to give them that personal space to talk and express themselves. Once I did that, I learned a lot. I learned that their parents worked. A LOT! I learned that the parents of the students who were really struggling did not ask them about school, or know their class schedules. I learned that their parents spoke only Spanish and were uncomfortable stepping up and talking to school staff.
My students were responsible for doing the right thing and learning the right skills to flourish in school on their own. This would be fine if most of them had been in traditional schools for all of their early years of schooling. They were not. They had no clue, and neither did their parents. So they resorted to checking out instead of trying. They resorted to getting angry and frustrated, instead of asking questions and figuring out what pieces were missing. And you know what I noticed, their parents did the same thing during our conferences.
In all the centuries since formalized education has been established in the United States, there has never been a system in place that has told parents what their specific role in their child’s education is or, showed parents how to help their children at home. Parent Focus changes all of that by helping parents understand the responsibilities that come along with enrolling your child in public school. It removes the space for doubt and uncertainty that prevents parents from comfortably stepping up and advocating for their child’s needs. Join the movement and experience the power of your role as a Public School Parent.