I think most of us know that (nationally speaking) there are a lot of problems with high school education. There is a disconnect at certain schools. Some students do not want to learn due to a poor attitude. It also could be a lack of understanding of why the material they are learning is relevant. There are also teachers who get frustrated because of student attitudes. This sometimes can hamper teaching efforts. But, the situation I am placing the spotlight on is different. Teachers should be wise to assume that every child has a camera phone. One child captured a 90 second rant from a student named Jeff Bliss like something you have probably never heard. Read more
Archive for Education
This is one of those controversial topics where people in power tread lightly. Why is there an achievement gap? What can be done to turn it around? No matter where you live, I am sure this is a serious topic of conversation. Unfortunately, I can’t give you all the answers. Regardless, here are some things I couldn’t tell you when I was a teacher but can share with you now.
Good early morning to all! Have you ever had an idea so obvious- you felt like you were slapped in the face with it?Yesterday- that’s exactly what happened to me. The idea for this article came from the sky- literally! Once it hit me, I knew what I wanted to write. What you will find inside is a real key to education seldom discussed.
Happy Friday to all of you. Today’s education blog is going to give you an inside look to what is going on in some schools around the country. Unfortunately, it’s a trend which is not helping our children. I believe when parents are informed- children will benefit so let’s dive in.
Today’s post won’t come to you with the same authoritative tone as my others. Nothing I learned from the house parents of St. Joseph Children’s Home or from any teacher I have ever worked with could have prepared me in how to work with children on September 11th, 2001.
President George Bush and I had something in common that morning. My class was being read to when an aide came to me, whispered what happened after the first plane struck the World Trade Center, and asked me to handle it the way I wanted to- similar to the former president. Everyone who reads my blog regularly knows I am a problem solver with parents, teachers, and children. To be honest though, I’ve never felt more lost that day either before I started working with kids or since.
My options were simple enough. I could tune in to find out what in the world was going on. I suspected the risks of exposing 6-7 year olds to this but I also knew something big was happening. On the other hand, I could go on with my lesson as if nothing happened. Keep in mind, no one at this point was reporting this was definitely a terrorist attack.
Though I can’t explain my reasoning, I turned the television on. It wasn’t long after this point that the second plane hit. Even in all my confusion, I knew the second plane couldn’t have been an accident. My wife has many friends in New York and my thoughts turned to her: thus taking me even further away from my class (mentally).
The students in my room had reacted in various ways. Some of them understood something wasn’t right while others didn’t really pay a lot of attention. Besides the event itself, their faces are the thing still etched in my mind. A couple of children were laughing but I’m certain they didn’t understand what was truly happening.
I don’t know how long after the buildings came down that it dawned on me that I had a job to do. I’m not sure how well I taught my lessons the rest of the day. Perhaps it’s best my mind has erased the memories. Hopefully, I composed myself and did a good job. Like many others, I was numb.
Maybe it’s because my focus is constantly on children but after I left school that day, I remember driving home and thinking about the kids who lost their parents. It made me physically ill. To think that it’s been 10 years is mind blowing. The same children who were with me that day are now juniors and seniors in high school.
I almost feel silly trying to teach a lesson after sharing these memories with you. The thing is though that many people come to my site to receive parenting information or a nugget of knowledge. Therefore, here’s my shot in teaching today’s lesson.
Sometimes, you do things with children without knowing whether it’s the right thing to do or not. Most of the times, you can reflect back and think about ways you could have done something better. That reflection will help make you a better parent.
There will be other times though when, after reflecting, you still have no idea if what you did was the correct decision. My advice to you is to shrug it off knowing that you did your best.
This Friday, I will be back with a more upbeat blog. Best wishes to you and your loved ones.
First, I want to acknowledge my influx of new followers from Twitter, Facebook, and Feedburner. I’m happy you are here so let’s get moving.
Today, I want to delve into my theory of when to send a child to school. Most parents who have the means really care about “the where.” In other words, they study schools relentlessly until they have discovered “the perfect fit” for their child. Although where a child goes to school is certainly important- WHEN they start should be, in my mind, an equal consideration.
After being an elementary teacher for 7 years and studying this topic at length, I have some fairly strong opinions on this topic. Here are three reasons parents should wait until their child is 6 before sending him/her to kindergarten.
1. The Maturity Factor– Speaking in general terms, there is a major difference between a 5 year old child who was born right after the cutoff date versus another child who is a few months older. Children in kindergarten are considered fairly equal in age but the truth is the months that separate children can be significant. When I was a teacher, I never looked at a child’s birth month in my class as a contributing factor of success although maybe I should have. Over time, children naturally separate themselves in terms of cognitive ability. This separation is really important. In many schools, they are “grouped” or “fast tracked” into ability levels. As a parent, do you want to give your child the best chance to be placed in the higher ability group and thus pushed to succeed at a higher rate?
2. Bullying- Obviously with time, children grow. Would you like your child to be one of the bigger ones in the class? The biggest children in the class aren’t the most bullied (unless we are talking about a weight issue which is different). Instead, what I have found is they are usually the leaders of the class other children look up to. Sometimes, they wind up being a bully but that is more of a parenting issue or a teacher’s lack of control.
3. Athletics- For the sake of kindergarten, this doesn’t matter but as time goes along, it certainly does. It’s advantageous for any child to be one of the older ones on a school’s sports team. Although sports shouldn’t dictate when a child goes to school, it can be considered with points 1 and 2.
There are some who will argue that their children are ready for school and in some cases it’s true. I have close friends, for example, whose child is one of the youngest in his class; yet one of the smartest. Also, the school he goes to is a blue ribbon school which basically means they have tested in the top 10% in the country of Catholic schools in the last seven years. He is certainly an exception to the rule.
In most cases, what I find are parents who decide to send their child to school merely because he/she is 5 and going to school at the age is the social norm. They believe the child is “ready” but I question if that should be the criteria.
With my youngest child, it’s true that he would be ready for kindergarten by the time he is 5. But, readiness isn’t my criteria. I am looking to give him more academic time in a one on one environment which you do not get in school. Certainly, this won’t hurt my child to say the least. More importantly, it should help down the road and has certainly paid important dividends for his older brother where the same tactics, in essence, were implemented.
While I acknowledge each parent has to decide for themselves what is best, I have heard few counterarguments once the facts are on the table. The only good exception I have heard is if the parent doesn’t bother to work with their child and watches trashy talk shows all day. In that case, please disregard this post and send your child to school as early as you possibly can.
I will be writing to you again Friday. Until then, have a terrific week!