—- Dr. Seuss
Mid-August is upon us, and much of the country is either in school again, or preparing for the 2019-2020 school year. Parents are busily searching for each child’s “must have” backpack, sneakers and first day outfits in a mall too crowded for any human to successfully navigate. Speaking about searching, mom and dad are also having an impossible time trying to find the summer reading lists that each child misplaced on the first day of summer. Parents know full well that each book will require a project that proves their child read the book, and each project will require a pile of arts and crafts supplies that no store will have in stock.
The students, on the other hand, are torn between excitement and terror. Will their friends be in their classes? Will they have the easy chemistry teacher or the one whose tests are impossible to pass. Will they have the same lunch period as their BFF? Will they be able to finish their summer reading lists? Will their parents get them the art supplies in time for them to do their projects?
Meanwhile, teachers are spending more of their time and money than any non-educator can imagine, trying to build an atmosphere that will help our country’s youth develop into successful adults. They are fighting a system that often feels like the enemy and parents whose frustrations can find no other outlet, while trying to balance their own home life and checkbook at the end of the day.
I have been there...the student, the parent and the teacher. In each case the fear is as real as the excitement. Students fear different things in elementary, middle and high school, but each fear can be overwhelming as the first day of class approaches. We each have it in our power to help make school a better place. It can be safer by controlling guns...it can be more inviting by controlling bullies...and it can help a student mature by introducing the arts as well as the sciences into a curriculum that has lost its way.
Parents, on the other hand, fear letting their child out of their sight. They fear active shooters and inactive classrooms. They fear that their child will be bullied or be a bully. They fear the process of college acceptances so much that some resort to criminal activity to assure their child a spot in their idea of a perfect school. Their overwhelming love can sometimes prove overwhelming to their son/daughter.
The teacher has just as many butterflies in his/her stomach as the children and parents, while they all await the first day back. She/he will be responsible for anywhere from twenty-five (elementary) to one hundred and twenty-five (middle and high schools) students a day, during a good year, and each student will be devastated if she/he forgets even one name by the second day. A teacher must serve as nurse, guidance counselor, substitute parent as well as top educator as the bells dictate bathroom breaks and eating schedules. All of this is being done with unlivable wages and unreasonable expectations from a school district that is working towards political acceptance and a manageable budget. No wonder they fear the oncoming year.
So, as the new year begins we all need to face it with kindness and understanding towards each other. If the teacher, parent and student begin to empathize with each other, perhaps our educational system will run more smoothly, and we can all put our energies towards correcting the true inefficiencies that face our schools today.
This week I and read/reviewed The Family Lawyer by James Patterson. It’s timely theme kept my interest throughout.
As always a complete review of this book follows my blog.