‘I have learned that, although I am a good teacher, I am a much better student, and I was blessed to learn valuable lessons from my students on a daily basis. They taught me the importance of teaching to a student – and not to a test.’ – Erin Gruwell
What are the best practices for accomplishing this task? How much of this is my responsibility and how much of it is the child’s, or the student’s? Is this just a challenge for teachers, or do parents share the same concerns?
Both parents and teachers need each other’s support in order for the child to succeed. It still takes a village to empower a child to succeed. The community that rallies around the schoolhouse to support it, instead of condemning it, is the school and community that thrives. When a community is overcrowded, studies indicate the outcome for that community is not a hopeful one in relation to crime and poverty. Why then should we expect better results from overcrowded schools and classrooms? Passionate, individual educators intentional and determined to inspire, influence and be impactful will always make a difference, but how much more impactful if the schoolhouse was infused from within and throughout the community engaging to hold children accountable to take responsibility for their learning.
When my children were in elementary school it was important to me that they were above reading grade level so if they slipped in performance, at least they would be on reading level. In 4th grade, my son fell to on and was earning a ‘C.’ After talking with his teacher how I could help him, I implemented a reading strategy at home that required my son to write down thoughts about what he was reading and share them with me. We would read together and talk about what he read. By the end of the school year his grade rose from a C to an A! As a parent and educator I understand the challenges on both sides and become incensed when criticism of the schoolhouse is ‘blamed’ as the sole cause for poor academic performance.
I recall when President Barack Obama publicly addressed the children of our nation about their role and responsibility in achieving academic success and there was a ‘public outcry’ that the President would have the audacity to tell the nation’s children what they needed to do with what appears to be a ‘national crisis.’ From my vantage point, this is what is wrong with education. If the President of the United States can’t challenge the nation’s children to do better, then the problem is not just inside the schoolhouse. At what point are children held accountable to do better. Clearly, testing alone is not working. Blaming stakeholders is not working. Relying solely on the schoolhouse is not working.
Father, grant us the wisdom and courage to unite as a community to rally around and support the schoolhouse by engaging our children in being more accountable to their role and responsibility with their education so our homes, communities, and nation can thrive.
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