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Old 11-10-2010, 05:08 AM   #1
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Default Teachers who are not yet parents......HELP!!

A little background: I am working full time night shift (as an RN), my husband has a small job at our church around my schedule (since he lost his job), both of our parents are in their 80's and are requiring MORE and MORE help, 4 kids ages 10, 8, 6, and 3. We have them in a Catholic School that we have been parishers since 1975 when DH was a student.

I am finding out that teachers who have not yet experienced having children in school have UNREALISTIC EXPECTATIONS!! This year, I have kids w/ 2 teachers who truly have absolutely NO REGARD for what our home life is like, no regard for the fact that these are LITTLE KIDS we are talking about, and expect that the ENTIRE WORLD should revolve around what happens in their 4 walls.

MY BEEF FOR TOAY:
My 10 yr old has a planner that is supposed to be signed every night by the parent......well......as you can imagine, I went to work monday night and left homework to DH. I woke up at 4am today (after forcing my body to stay awake all night for 3 nights, then when I DO get to sleep, I CANT"!!), was looking thro DD homework, papers, SHE GOT A WRITTEN INFRACTION from the teacher yesterday for not having her planner signed!!!!!!!!!!!! PAH-LEEEASE!!!!! If that is all the teacher has to do........really???? Are ya kiddin' me???? And these kids are already on their 4th BIG project of the year.......(sarcasm) BOY, she just ENJOYS watching these kids struggle thro project after project!!! And every single project has a RUBRIC to go with it......EXCUSE ME......I didn't even KNOW what a rubric WAS until we got this teacher!!!!!

I have plenty more examples of other teachers without kids too but won't go on here.

OK ALL YOU TEACHERS: please tell me what its like on that side of the fence!!!! Ones who DO have kids and especially ones who don't. Because obviously I do not understand WHY she is so unrealistic!!

HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

P.S. Our kids are not in ANY sports at all so that they can focus on school!!! I teach my 10 DD piano at home occasionally, my 8 yr DS is in scouts (ONE day a week). So sports are NOT an issue!! I can't even imagine trying to keep up w/ a sports schedule TOO!!
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Old 11-10-2010, 06:20 AM   #2
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In many schools these days, it is SCHOOL (or district or school board or association) policy for students to have planners and for them to be signed daily by the parents. It was were I taught. (though I'm not teaching at the moment) I, as the teacher, was required by administration to check daily that those agendas were signed. I was REQUIRED to speak to the parents IN PERSON, if a student's agenda was not signed for even one day. Administration did spot check, and I would have been in trouble if I didn't. Your child's teacher may be in the same position. The agendas are fairly standard practice in most schools I'm familiar with. Most of my students used to leave their homework & agenda on the table/counter when they were done, and their parents would just initial when they got home.
Rubrics are a standard marking tool that have been around for decades and are used by every teacher I know. Teachers get tired of being yelled at for why little Tom, Dick or Harry got a B instead of the A that he deserves. Rubrics simply set out the criteria for marking the piece of work. I taught junior high, and I would give my students a copy of the rubric (and I would post one on the parents' message board outside my classroom door) when I gave out the project instructions so they would know exactly what they needed to do if they wanted an A. A rubric makes grading much more objective and makes it easy for anyone (other than the teacher) to see why the student got the grade they did. Again, school policy may drive this as well. I like rubrics and used from right from the day I started teaching, but I do know that several years into my teaching, the school I was in made it a requirement that teachers MUST use a rubric for any project.
While I'm not your child's teacher and I don't work in your school system, teachers DO have to meet the education requirements set out by the state/school board/province/whoever makes those decisions where you live. Teachers must meet those curriculum guidelines or objectives - whether they like it or not. Doing projects may be a part of that.
As someone who happens to be single and who taught, the implication in your post that single teachers don't care about their students lives and care about nothing except the 4 wall of their classroom I find quite offensive. Every teacher I know - single, married, childless, with children - DOES care about their students, both in and out of school.
And I have to ask - have you requested or had a meeting with your child's teacher(s) to discuss these issues? If not, you need to. Most of us are there to see children succeeding and would be really happy to work with the parents and make the accommodations necessary to see a student succeed. But teachers don't know if you have a problem if you don't tell them.
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Old 11-10-2010, 07:09 AM   #3
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THANK YOU, Anemone !!!! Thank you!! Thank you for your open and honest answer.

Your first paragraph about the admin checking up on the daily planners is not something I had considered. And, yes, rubics do seem to take away subjectivity of grading....but do we really need THAT many major projects in 5th grade?? Two or three for the year seems more manageable.

Yes, I have spoken to the teacher REPEATEDLY. I had a special session with her the first week of school. I have emailed her on a weekly basis. I am in the classroom every morning I can (but most days I cannot be there as I am working). My DH is trying but is just not good at multi-tasking, and the details of their schoolwork.

My DD has always been a pretty high B/A student and now has 5 F's for different assignments in lang art from this same teacher!!! FIVE F's???? How can this be?? The teacher says "She needs to be ready for Middle school".

So after I wrote this post, I went and checked my DS (8 yr) planner and the two days last week that I was OFF work, are the ONLY two days that he actually wrote out his homework and I signed it. ALL of the other days I was working all night and nothing got written or signed!! Same with the first two days of this week, me working, nothing written or signed!!!! Is this my DS fault?? Or DH???

I feel like I am pulled in 21 different directions. My nurse manager is breathing down my neck for me to attend mandatory inservices, conferences, and continuing education. My parents need me on a daily basis. My dad crashed my Mom's car twice in 30 days. My DH parents call every week or so for housecleaning, errands, etc. My 10 yr old has a leaking aortic valve in her heart and needs an MRI of her abdomen for teathered cord syndrome. The 3 yr old was up all night sick and still needs her 2 yr check up!! So you see how the signed planner just isn't at the top of my list!!

I guess I need to make a huge star chart for the kids and make it THIER responsiblity to get those planners signed!! I tried it last year and my DH didn't follow thro.....I guess I'll try AGAIN!!

Thanks for letting me vent!!
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Old 11-10-2010, 07:45 AM   #4
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I am not a teacher but my daughter and SIL are. They also have 4 children (oldest is 7 and youngest is 5 months) so they certainly understand the demands of family outside of school. Their schools, as well as those attended by my other grandchildren, use planners. I think they are a way to communicate with parents what is going on at school with their child as well as a piece of building responsibility in the child. If you aren't taking note of what is in the planner, you are missing an opportunity to know what your child is/is not getting done. As for projects, my daughter has multiple projects during the year but allows ample time to complete most, it not all, the work at school, many as joint projects.

I know it's difficult with all the demands of working, taking care of parents, a spouse that doesn't always carry their share of the load with the kids (been through it all). But, talk to your kids and make it their responsibility to get the planners signed, homework done, etc. Find out if they are using the time allotted at school to work on special projects and other homework. Find out if they have specific problems with a teacher that need to be resolved. Then talk to the teacher again. You sound pretty stressed but putting all the blame on the teachers because you think they don't understand the demands outside the classroom isn't going to improve the situation and is really an unfair slap at the teacher.
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Old 11-10-2010, 08:11 AM   #5
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I'm a teacher. I've taught almost 25 years and have taught both early years and middle school. I'm currently grade 8 and love it. I also have 2 sons.
As a family we are very busy with sports etc. and often come home to a pile of homework etc.
Our school division has spent a great deal of time teaching us to switch our paradigm towards assessment. Examples of this would be, why would we take marks away for an unsigned agenda? What does that demonstrate for a child's learning? Our job is to take the students on a journey that has a beginning, middle and end goal. Again this applies in so many things we do as teachers, marks taken away for neatness, or lateness, or my favorite "group work." Yes these things are important but are they products of learning? Rubrics are a good tool but should be used sparingly or at least with flexibility. 4/5 is only an 80% how can they get 86%?
I've had to re-visit how I approach assessment. I try my best to look at the whole child, where they started from at the beginning of the year and where they are heading. If they play hockey every night this is applauded as are dance classes and music lessons. Yay you have a full-rounded life that extends beyond these four walls, and guess what? So does your teacher!!!
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Old 11-10-2010, 08:37 AM   #6
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Thanks again for explaining the other side!!! Valuable insight, ladies!!

I guess I'll just go stamp for awhile and B-R-E-A-T-H-E.....on my day off from my first job!! LOL!!
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Old 11-10-2010, 06:15 PM   #7
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I have been on both sides of the issue. We have six, count six kids, all graduated now from high school. But can you imagine: lining up, literally, all the papers that had to be signed! Yikes! I do not miss those days. But the result was that all my kids were diligent about taking care of those things. Eventually, I no longer had to ask, they had it out on the table, with a note: mom sign this please. I helped with homework, after work, while getting dinner, and doing other chores. "Read it to me again!", as I load the dryer. Lol. I worked hard, cause I wanted them to work hard. By high school, they could handle it on their own, asking for help as needed. I saw all the projects as prep for real life, and if there was a conflict with time or other emergencies, we communicated with the teacher. Not all teachers were understanding, but those were teachable moments too.
On the flip side, I work in the middle school. And you know who doesn't sign the agenda books: the parents who don't show up for conferences, the parents who don't help with homework, the parents who don't call about make up work when their child is out for extended absences, the parents who don't respond about inappropriate behavior. And those who do, don't have any of the problems noted above, except perhaps the absence. In other words, for parents who are committed to their child's education, they do what ever it takes. Is it hard, at times frustrating, overwhelming? yeah. But in my opinion signing that agenda book is a little thing. And the same with our school district: they make a big deal of them. And I am here to tell you: the students who keep those agendas up to date are the same students who keep up with all their materials, turn in their work, and work hard at all other aspects of their schoolwork. Those who don't: most are failing as we speak, and the parents are of no help! and that is sad.
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Old 11-10-2010, 07:48 PM   #8
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I don't really understand what the teacher's PERSONAL status as a parent has to do with this?

I think your assumptions are rude. You're questioning someone's professionalism and ability based on whether or not they have children of their own. I could say the same for religious fanatics who send their children to religious schools where they learn about the Bible instead of "real" academics. Or people who choose to have more children than they can adequately take responsibility for.

But that would also just be a rude judgement.

It seems to me the school is just trying to teach children about responsibility, while keeping the parents involved in their children's schooling. Lashing out in a personal manner about a teacher having children seems inappropriate.
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Old 11-11-2010, 10:18 PM   #9
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I can't offer much on the teacher/school point, but I wonder...could DH perhaps take over more of the dealings with your parents and his? And perhaps you could have a sit down about how to set things up so it will work for him when you are not there so these things are less likely to get missed? It seems to me you are taking on a lot and he needs to step up a little.
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Old 11-12-2010, 06:09 AM   #10
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I agree, you need to sit down with dh and ds and explain that while they may not agree with the process it is an expectation that needs to be met everyday. Life has these funny quirks so get used to it

I also agree with talking to the teacher and explaining your home situation (crazy work schedules).

I understand your frustration, my son had the same issues in third grade. The projects were out of control.

I love the rubrics, I talk to my son about each point on them and then look at the project when it is done before he hands it in and look at each point and how he completed it (or not). He then has the option of going back to raise the grade on the project.

honestly our middle school coddled the kids more than the elementary schools. I found the elem school to give these big projects "to get the kids ready" for middle school, but they didn't teach them the process of doing a big project. That was my biggest frustration. They learned the process in middle school. I always told the teacher, you don't give a kid the car keys without teaching them how to drive first.

good luck, just keep communicating with everyone involved.
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Old 11-12-2010, 09:48 AM   #11
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Yep......I am going to need to learn how to "jump through the hoops" since we have a LOT of years of kids in school ahead of us!!

And yes....I am taking on too much!! I am a nurse by trade and want to FIX everybody and everything, including my DH, DS, take care of ALL the house stuff, parents, etc!! Not always a smart thing to do!

My sister who was a teacher before having kids, stayed home w/ kids and is now back to teaching, says she has a WHOLE new perspective of looking at the kids in her class from before she was a Mom!! She confirmed that her teaching style changed.....she's NOT easier on them, just more realistic!!

As in anything in life, there is a level of wisdom and understanding that comes from life experiences and age!! I am a better nurse for having had pnuemonia myself. I am a better nurse for having my Dad in ICU for 2 weeks. Again, life experiences. And this holds true w/ teachers. I guess I can't expect them to have that level of "wisdom and knowlege" when the are just starting out in their careers.

Wasn't there a quote from Karate Kid "Patience, grasshoppa, patience!! "

Since I can't change any of this, I will just change my attitude!! LOL!!

Thanks again!!
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Old 11-16-2010, 02:30 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AmorA View Post
I don't really understand what the teacher's PERSONAL status as a parent has to do with this?

I think your assumptions are rude. You're questioning someone's professionalism and ability based on whether or not they have children of their own. I could say the same for religious fanatics who send their children to religious schools where they learn about the Bible instead of "real" academics. Or people who choose to have more children than they can adequately take responsibility for.

But that would also just be a rude judgement.

It seems to me the school is just trying to teach children about responsibility, while keeping the parents involved in their children's schooling. Lashing out in a personal manner about a teacher having children seems inappropriate.
Wow! I am surprised that you found the original posting rude in light of your less than polite response.
I can say wholeheartedly and w/o a shadow of a doubt that I am a different teacher now that I have my own kids than before I had children. I am a little more tolerant of parents and their situations now. I have had this very conversation with MANY of my co workers and know that I am not the only one. But, that being said, I do not think that asking parents to sign an agenda every night is asking too much. Parent / teacher communication is a vital component of the classroom and the high functioning student.
It sounds like you have a lot going on right now and maybe that is what you need to tell the teacher. It sounds like your husband needs to step up a little and don't be afraid to put that responsibility on your kiddo.
American education today is not what it used to be. The demands of and pressures on our children are unreal. We will begin seeing direct consequences of this in the very near future. The rigorous education that we are striving for is going to push many kids out before they graduate.
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Old 11-26-2010, 11:46 PM   #13
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I feel your pain on the agendas...I dislike them and I was thrilled to move to a school that does not use them! It is my personal opinion that my kids are going to need to find a way that works for them to remember their homework/assignments. Maybe it is writing them in a notebook and maybe it is just remembering them, but I don't care to have the administration dictating their use. JMHO. I will say, in our last school where they used them, children did not lose credit for not having them signed off. Currently we have a Monday Packet that I love...once a week...killer communication that is signed off ONCE a week. I love it. Works better for us.

In regard to the DH...OMG...I left for 4 days and my 8 year old got the worst score EVER on a spelling test...he forgot to quiz her and let her have friends over afterschool to play! (I must sound mean, but first priority when I am home is HOMEWORK...then cleaning...then play!) Needless to say, we had a little "discussion" when the grade came back. In DH's defense, he has been gone for all but 4 weeks of the past 5 months. He got the message and is now back in the groove! LOL

I understand that my DH will never do it like I do...but perhaps some good communication with him will help. Maybe make a list for him to check off every night...agenda...homework...etc...Mine tends to work well with lists.

And I am a nurse too!
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Old 11-27-2010, 12:54 PM   #14
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You have a lot on your plate and it is easy to feel your frustration. Isn't it great that we have a place to vent and hear other sides? I am a mom of 3 teenagers and a teacher so I know both sides of the fence. I am thankful for planners, I actually love them. My kids come home from a busy day, I come home from a busy day, and I ask to see planners, it brings me instantly up to date on their day in a nutshell version. They know I care, and I see how they are doing. As for the rubric, that is a welcome to NCLB and paperwork. It is more work for the teacher than it is for the child but it makes both think about the aspects going into a project and the expectations. My DD did a science project with a friend, she did great on creativity, planning and research, but when it came time to the actual work...well it didn't come off so well. She got the whole package grade and we are thankful for that. She and her partner knew exactly what the teacher expected and why because it was spelled out in the rubric. Teachers are raising kids now and it just isn't right.....we have them nearly 8 hours a day and responsible for things that parents should be responsible for. It is exhausting. I need to know that Sally's parents are splitting and she is at one house or the other. I need to know she is on meds because of the stress. I need to know that neither parent is into helping her with her school work. She is usually hungry when she comes to school, she doesn't get enough sleep, and the list goes on. I have 23 kids like Sally in my room. Sorry for the long one, I got started and couldn't stop.
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Old 12-07-2010, 08:48 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by squirrellyshirley View Post
Yep......I am going to need to learn how to "jump through the hoops" since we have a LOT of years of kids in school ahead of us!!

And yes....I am taking on too much!! I am a nurse by trade and want to FIX everybody and everything, including my DH, DS, take care of ALL the house stuff, parents, etc!! Not always a smart thing to do!

My sister who was a teacher before having kids, stayed home w/ kids and is now back to teaching, says she has a WHOLE new perspective of looking at the kids in her class from before she was a Mom!! She confirmed that her teaching style changed.....she's NOT easier on them, just more realistic!!

As in anything in life, there is a level of wisdom and understanding that comes from life experiences and age!! I am a better nurse for having had pnuemonia myself. I am a better nurse for having my Dad in ICU for 2 weeks. Again, life experiences. And this holds true w/ teachers. I guess I can't expect them to have that level of "wisdom and knowlege" when the are just starting out in their careers.

Wasn't there a quote from Karate Kid "Patience, grasshoppa, patience!! "

Since I can't change any of this, I will just change my attitude!! LOL!!

Thanks again!!
thanks for trying to be more understanding! from a teacher (without kids at home) this is very helpful! believe it or not, the teacher is probably just as frustrated at you, especially if they are new and trying to do everything "just right". 4 projects, does seem a bit excessive, but every teacher has different methods of teaching. this one might be one that likes to use the "hands on" approach.
how much of these projects are being done in the class and how much are they expected to do at home? I have had several parents upset with the amount of homework that is sent home. In most cases it's b/c their children aren't doing the assigned work in class, not b/c of they don't have enough time, but rather they don't use their time wisely. Not saying this is what your children are doing, just that there are 2 sides to every situation.
best of luck to you and your children as you work through this!
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Old 12-08-2010, 06:26 AM   #16
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I haven't a lot of spare time right now, however, my children are 28 & 33..I've always believed that I was their teacher first and foremost. It gets hectic in the classroom, yet It was my responsibilty to not only teach my children at home (even during their school years) and make sure that they and myself were fulfilling the requirements from their teachers. I realize time is sometimes a problem, we just scheduled our own times for checking homework, signing reports, etc. There will always be those teachers who you could never please or like, yet if you are conveying this message about your childs teachers you do a great disservice to you children. They need to know that politeness is required and respect earned. Instead of blaming the teacher, please consider looking to your child and yourself. Possibly your child is earning the "F's". She knows you'll blame the teacher and therefore will not be held accountable to you.

thanks for reading
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Old 02-08-2011, 05:47 PM   #17
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In many schools these days, it is SCHOOL (or district or school board or association) policy for students to have planners and for them to be signed daily by the parents. It was were I taught. (though I'm not teaching at the moment) I, as the teacher, was required by administration to check daily that those agendas were signed. I was REQUIRED to speak to the parents IN PERSON, if a student's agenda was not signed for even one day. Administration did spot check, and I would have been in trouble if I didn't. Your child's teacher may be in the same position. The agendas are fairly standard practice in most schools I'm familiar with. Most of my students used to leave their homework & agenda on the table/counter when they were done, and their parents would just initial when they got home.
Rubrics are a standard marking tool that have been around for decades and are used by every teacher I know. Teachers get tired of being yelled at for why little Tom, Dick or Harry got a B instead of the A that he deserves. Rubrics simply set out the criteria for marking the piece of work. I taught junior high, and I would give my students a copy of the rubric (and I would post one on the parents' message board outside my classroom door) when I gave out the project instructions so they would know exactly what they needed to do if they wanted an A. A rubric makes grading much more objective and makes it easy for anyone (other than the teacher) to see why the student got the grade they did. Again, school policy may drive this as well. I like rubrics and used from right from the day I started teaching, but I do know that several years into my teaching, the school I was in made it a requirement that teachers MUST use a rubric for any project.
While I'm not your child's teacher and I don't work in your school system, teachers DO have to meet the education requirements set out by the state/school board/province/whoever makes those decisions where you live. Teachers must meet those curriculum guidelines or objectives - whether they like it or not. Doing projects may be a part of that.
As someone who happens to be single and who taught, the implication in your post that single teachers don't care about their students lives and care about nothing except the 4 wall of their classroom I find quite offensive. Every teacher I know - single, married, childless, with children - DOES care about their students, both in and out of school.
And I have to ask - have you requested or had a meeting with your child's teacher(s) to discuss these issues? If not, you need to. Most of us are there to see children succeeding and would be really happy to work with the parents and make the accommodations necessary to see a student succeed. But teachers don't know if you have a problem if you don't tell them.
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Old 02-21-2011, 06:58 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Anemone View Post
As someone who happens to be single and who taught, the implication in your post that single teachers don't care about their students lives and care about nothing except the 4 wall of their classroom I find quite offensive. Every teacher I know - single, married, childless, with children - DOES care about their students, both in and out of school.
And I have to ask - have you requested or had a meeting with your child's teacher(s) to discuss these issues? If not, you need to. Most of us are there to see children succeeding and would be really happy to work with the parents and make the accommodations necessary to see a student succeed. But teachers don't know if you have a problem if you don't tell them.
Couldn't have said it better myself. Sorry, OP, but I don't think you're going to get a lot of sympathy. I have taught or been in schools for 18 years. Half before becoming a parent myself. Now, I have a 9 year old DD who is in scouts, shows horses and has an active social life. Right now, I am not only teaching full time but sit on two charity boards and involved with a community arts center. And I have a direct sales business. My husband works weird hours, so we juggle a lot. Her planner gets signed each day and she has homework every single night.

If I have questions or concerns, her teacher is the very first person who I contact. Please, PLEASE visit whit her to understand why she is doing what she's doing. Don't judge her and think that she doesn't care - that's so far removed from 99% of the teachers I've worked with. High expectations are a good thing - often they're so watered down for kids in many areas of their lives, if a teacher has them we come off as being terrible.
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Old 04-24-2011, 04:45 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by squirrellyshirley View Post
Yep......I am going to need to learn how to "jump through the hoops" since we have a LOT of years of kids in school ahead of us!!

And yes....I am taking on too much!! I am a nurse by trade and want to FIX everybody and everything, including my DH, DS, take care of ALL the house stuff, parents, etc!! Not always a smart thing to do!

My sister who was a teacher before having kids, stayed home w/ kids and is now back to teaching, says she has a WHOLE new perspective of looking at the kids in her class from before she was a Mom!! She confirmed that her teaching style changed.....she's NOT easier on them, just more realistic!!

As in anything in life, there is a level of wisdom and understanding that comes from life experiences and age!! I am a better nurse for having had pnuemonia myself. I am a better nurse for having my Dad in ICU for 2 weeks. Again, life experiences. And this holds true w/ teachers. I guess I can't expect them to have that level of "wisdom and knowlege" when the are just starting out in their careers.

Wasn't there a quote from Karate Kid "Patience, grasshoppa, patience!! "

Since I can't change any of this, I will just change my attitude!! LOL!!

Thanks again!!
Forget the hoops, you are already an expert juggler!

You sound like an amazing Mom and nurse! And have wonderful insight into the whole situation.


God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.
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Old 04-27-2011, 12:21 PM   #20
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I have been a teacher for 20 years and a parent for 29 years. Children as young as ten/eleven are turning to drugs, alcohol, sex and suicide because of the pressures of school. You HAVE to just come to terms with the fact that Ė there are certain demands on your children that you have no control over. What you do have control over Ė is how YOU handle it. My advice:
Planner: Donít make the child bear the burden of remembering to get it signed. In the scheme of life, it really is a two second responsibility. You are the adult. You should get in the habit of signing it every day. Just like Iím sure you brush your teeth every day; you donít forget to do that. Donít you want to know what is going on at school? You need to see if there is a note from the teacher. Your child spends more waking hours with the teacher/school, than they do with you. Let your child know that you care. Read and sign the planner every day. What your children can be responsible for is doing their homework every night, packing their backpack and leaving it in a certain place for you. Many of my students have a system. They place the backpack on the kitchen table with the homework and planner on top. A parent then checks and signs it at a time that works for them. In the morning if it is in the backpack then it is signed. If it isnít in the backpack the child has to take it to the parent and get it signed. Working together, works.
Your children are not living in the same world you grew up in. It is not easy being a kid in the 21st century. Sure, technology makes some things easier; but, itís not really as fun being a kid as it was when you were young. School is not as fun, neighborhoods are not as safe and people are not as kind.
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