Tuesday, March 06, 2012


A spring snowstorm of papers flew from my son's backpack last night as I attacked. He wandered the periphery coming when called, working on his Huck Finn paper, being generally an obedient teenager in the midst of the parental gale. I e-mailed teachers too; I'm contacting his learning specialists. I'm basically being the parent who ya-deal-with, a nice version, yet still life is busy in the building, and there's an attitude that parents should remain on the periphery. They say that a student who is a teen must make his/her own independent decisions.

Yes, we all should encourage that, however, there's a sense in the high school culture that parents should stay out of the learning process with the student. Sure, if parent wants to bake for the faculty appreciation day, or volunteer for the hog roast, or do concessions, then involvement is good. But, if they're buzzing like a fly around the school day, then where's the swatter? I've been there as a teacher. Yet I also know that the squeaky wheel gets the grease. I also know that most IEP students don't have parents who are trying to improve their lot. I know that the teachers forget about kids with learning challenges in the rush of the mob who's needing them at the moment. Some teachers are resistant to any different kind of help. So, I'm squeaking for some greasin'.

Plus, I think we have it wrong. I think we should encourage the parent to be involved in the classroom, to be communicating. If a student fails, it's easy to blame the parents for that, but the culture of stay-away-for-independent-growth at the secondary level also encourages lack of involvement, apathy, disengagement with parents. One hand beckons, one hand halts.

It's a balance, but I believe that parents aren't enablers if they get involved. Personal responsibility is important, but the parent should be there encouraging and simply requiring it.

Squeak, squeak. Okay, I feel better now.

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