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Education is definitely a community effort. When I say community, I mean it takes equal committment from the school, from the student and from the parent. We all have our roles. If one slips, the other two are there to pick them back up again. It is very simliar to the "Checks and Balances" system of our own government. But do all view it this way? Unfortunately not. Because our roles as teachers, parents and students are abstractly defined, there are no "guidelines" for checking and balancing. It must come from within, and unfortunately not everyone is programmed to do so. I have taught school for over 20 years. In that amount of time I have seen trends come and go. I have seen students that were highly motivated and I have taught students who barely understood what education was about. I have seen students such as this also blossom right before your very eyes. And that happens when the 3 way "community" of school, parents and students all work in harmony. So what can parents do to help their children reach their full potential in school? 1) They must make sure their child feels loved. Sounds simple right? Easy one!! (you would think) But often times the brightest of children will not work up to their potential because they feel they don't matter to anyone. Each and every child was brought into this world by two parents that not only have the responsibility but the OPPORTUNITY to love a being in a way that will make that child feel as though they are important. When they feel important and worthy.......they succeed in order to keep feeling their worth. Always love your child! 2) Establish boundaries from day one of your child's life. I've often said, if you can hang in there and be the major "law enforcer" for the first 4 years of your child's life, you will seriously feel you are on auto pilot as they cruise through the school years. Ok sure you've heard over and over again that kids need and crave boundaries. Yes. But that does not mean they are going to ask for them. Are they stupid?? So they expect us as parents to create them.........but not too late. You have to do this early to set the moral standards and values you hope will guide your child as they make to aduthood. When your child enters kindergarten and hears their teacher saying the same things that you've been teaching them during the first years of their life, imagine the connection they make!! "My Mommy and Daddy are right!" You win credibility with them. They trust and rely that what you say is right. When they see that their teacher feels the say way..........He or she also wins credibility. "She is just like my mommy!" This is when community works. Student trusts teacher / teacher substantiates parents / parent relies and trust in teacher. This leads us to the third item on our list......... 3) Keep the lines of communication open with your child and with your child's teacher. When your student hears the teacher confirm what you have already taught him, he comes home and tells you. And that keeps lines of communication open with your child. Establish "talking time" each night at the dinner table, at bed time, or after homework. Whatever is best for you. But to "deprogram" after the school day is an important step for your child. It keeps you informed and it lets your child know you are interested in him. It also sends a message out to the child that this is something important.........worthy.....necessary..... But your parental communication shouldn't just stop with the child. Teachers MUST show responsibility by communicating isses with the parents and parents with the teachers. This is why parent / teacher conferences are so imperative. Explain to the teacher how your child operates. Help her/him to get to know your child. And listen to what your teacher tells you about your child's behavior in the classroom. Be open to the fact that children behave differently at school than at home. Don't be close minded and never say "My child would never!" Parent/teacher/student conferences are now becoming very popular. There is not "Middle man" delivering information. The child knows that what his parents know his teacher will also know and vice versa. Students have a chance to explain things before everyone as do parents and teachers without misinterpretation from the "middle man" of heresay. Parents.....be open to this idea. It will do so much for your child! 4) Hold your child accountable. In truth......everyone should be held accountable. Teachers have the role of providing knowledge and various means by which to grasp this information. They must provide methods and purpose and motivational means which will help students learn. Students must accept the responsibilites and be held accountable for completing assignments and tasks expected of them. Parents must provide their children with means in order to do this. Parents can not over program their children and then expect them to still have the time and energy to be a 'student.' The main point is that our parents, teachers and students must work as a team. Parents must stay involved. This holds teacher and students accountable. Teachers must keep everyone informed. This enables parents to know when to confront their children with praise or motivation. Students must put forth full effort enabling parents and teachers to see that they can indeed reach their full potential once they feel loved and worthy. Parents are the key. Afterall........without you.......where are the children?
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