But I have my own kids too!

This year I am feeling guilty. I am rushing home after school, not staying to plan or meet with our formative assessment team. I missed the first district school improvement meeting and haven’t made a middle school sporting event. This is new for me. Up until this school year, my wife was a stay at home mom. Taking care of our 3 wonderful kids while I worked and looked after my school family. Now she has returned to the work force. I want to stay for school events, but I have my own kids who need me too.

Teachers all over the country are dealing with the guilt of leaving one family to take care of the other. Communities expect teachers to attend every school event. To be around to tutoring, to help out at dances and sporting events. Even to coach sports teams. To attend school events many teachers sacrifice time with their own families. If a school event is missed I feel guilty for not supporting my students. I also feel this guilt when I miss my own children’s event too.

I went into teaching as a second career to make a difference. I know I would not get rich financially but become rich in the connections I made to the community and with my students. Every student who ever walks in my door is “MINE”. I care deeply about them. I feel guilty when they ask if I can attend their game or event and I can’t attend. I especially feel the guilt this week. Our high school has a tradition for Homecoming, football players are to present staff members who made a difference in their educational career with a jersey along with a letter explain why the staff members was picked. This is the second year I have been presented with a jersey. Sadly my 10 year old son has a baseball game at the same time as the homecoming game.

I few outside of education understand how torn teachers can feel. I over hear comments from parents about why teachers can do more after school. Or why Teachers can attend events. We try, we want to, but we have kids too!



Dear Parents- A Teacher’s advice for the school year

Dear Parents-

As the school year starts, please listen to the following advice of how to help your child be successful in school (and life).

  • You are vital to your child’s educational process. Make sure you participate and build a partnership with your child’s teacher (s)
  • Make sure your child eats nutritional meals- Food is vital for the brain to learn.
  • A regular sleep pattern will enable your child to be alert and ready to learn in the classroom. Research shows 8 or more hours of sleep is optimal.
  • IF you need to contact your child during school hours, call the school not their cell phone. Cell phones should be off during school hours (some teachers may allow use in class for learning). You message my be important but will distract the class. Schools have systems for getting messages to students.
  • Speak positively about school and education to your child. If you don’t like or understand an assignment don’t share this with your child, discuss it with the teacher or school’s principal. It is important not to foster negative attitude towards education in your child.
  • Have a daily discussion about school. Show your child you are interested in what they are learning in school. Ask them what they like? Don’t understand? and Learned? Stay away from just asking what they “did” in school since the most common answer will be “nothing” which you know isn’t true.
  • Homework might not occur daily (I don’t give any) but learning should still occur at home. Students should review ideas covered in class and work on areas of weakness at home. If your child’s grades are low in a subject ask teachers for ways to reinforce/ improve skills at home.
  • Don’t stress over grades for your child, stress learning and best effort. Grades are just a snapshot of how a student measures up to a standard. Encourage your child to work hard and improve in their abilities. If this is your focus grades will improve.
  • Teachers are your partners in educating your child, keep an open positive line of communication. They want ALL children to succeed, listen to their suggestions and communicate your concerns.
  • Reading and comprehension are fundamental for any students success. Model reading and encourage your child to read something daily. It can be anything that interest them: Books, magazines, websites, comics,
  • Most of all: Show your child that learning is essential and many times fun!

Please try to follow this advice, so that you and your children can have a wonderful school year. It is important that teachers and parents work as partners in students success. Have an awesome year!!

Parent Like a Pirate

Baby pirateI have been reading a wonderful book by Dave Burgess(@burgessdave), “Teach Like a Pirate.” ¬†He talks about being daring and adventurous as a teacher. Going into “uncharted waters” and discovering what is there. Dave makes some great points about teaching. Teachers need to focus more about presentation, making learning fun and an adventure. Shouldn’t parenting be the same way?

Parenting is the single hardest job anyone can take on. Parents don’t get paid in cash, but children who grow up and become successful, caring, positive contributors to society are better payment than any sum of money. Parenting has changed greatly over the past few generations. Not too long ago most families had two parents, now many only have one or have a surrogate¬†leading the household. It used to be expected that one parent would stay at home and raise the children while the other worked. Now many children are raising themselves as parents have to work to afford to live. When parents do have time for their children, it is often used as special time to please the children: going on trips, out to dinner or the movies. Too often it seems that parents want to appease their children’s wants and desires, instead of helping their children grow. Many parents feel that is the “job” of schools.

Sure, schools are a place for learning. Schools have trained professionals to teaching math, reading, science, social studies, writing and many more subjects. Our schools do a pretty go job at it to all things considered. But parents are the one constant in a child’s life. Parents are there to support the educational process, If parents don’t model the behaviors taught in school, do teachers have a chance? Maybe is the answer. IF parents do model behaviors taught in school, students will experience their best successes.

Parents need to be bold pirates, following the teacher pirates off into uncharted waters. Parents need to help nurture their children’s dreams and MAKE them happen. Read books, act out fantasies, sword fight with sticks in the backyard. To often US parents take the easy road, let the TV be a babysitter so we can accomplish “grownup” things. We might even order our children to “Grow-Up”.

Children sure, do want to grow up and quickly. They want to have a cell phone, stay out late, and drive a car. Children think being a grown up is SO cool. IS IT REALLY? Grown-ups have to work for a living. (Not always fun) We have to pay the bills, feed the family, clean the house, clothes etc. Shouldn’t parents encourage our children to BE CHILDREN. Not letting them worry about the adult worries.

Parents need to be Pirates, taking children on adventures in learning. Steering the ship on a path of learning. Taking our children to nature centers, zoos, cultural festivals and the library. Enjoy fantasy time in your backyard or in a fort built in the living room. Allow your children to make a mess, be creative, explore the world.

Being a pirate parent also means setting boundaries and holding children accountable. Set rules for grown-up choices. Monitor TV viewing choices, limit screen time and cell usage. Don’t let your child become an adult because the neighbors are letting their children lose the joy and pleasures of childhood. This might be hard at times, but a pirate life is never easy.

Have the courage to be a Pirate Parent, it will pay off in endless treasures of discovery with your children.