Today we’re talking about what your child’s teacher doesn’t tell you. We’re on day eight of our ten-day series “Back-to-School in Peace“! If you haven’t entered the bonus giveaway for three prizes, be sure to do so below!
Have you ever thought when talking to your child’s teacher that there has to be more to the story? That there’s something that she just isn’t saying? I have been in countless conferences as the teacher and felt this tension, too. If only I could explain what really happens behind those doors in the front of the school.
But in an effort to be politically correct or not divulge confidential information or make my personal opinions be known, I stay quiet. After all, if I spewed all of my thoughts I would probably not be invited to work the next day!
In this post I don’t want to get too political or divisive, but did want to share some truths of the public school system from my experience and perspective. I emphasize my experience and perspective because that does not mean that these perceptions are true for everyone or anyone. This is just how I have interpreted my experience as a public school teacher. And again I talk about public schools only because that’s the only experience I have as a teacher.
1. Test scores matter more than progress.
I know we hear a lot about test scores in the media today. We hear about how our children are behind other countries academically. We hear about how poor of a job our schools and teachers are doing. We hear about accountability. I really don’t know enough about those assessments on a national level to know if they are true or not. And I certainly don’t know the answers.
What I do know is that I had a fifth grade student who was not reading on grade level. I, as a reading teacher (that is what my degree in is in – reading education), know reading is a layered process based on many different subsets of processes. A child has to learn some skills before he learns others in order to read, and then those skills have to be applied all together in order to get the desired result of comprehension. So my fifth grade student who was below grade level needed to be taught using third grade materials so that she could build up to reading at a fifth grade level. She was missing some basic processes.
However, the test at the end of the year was of course on a fifth grade level. I was not allowed to use materials on her level for this reason. Regardless if she could read or not after the test, the bottom line was that she needed to pass the fifth grade test. That number on that day was all that mattered. My job was primarily to get her to make a certain number – not to teach her to read.
2. Demographics matter too.
Funding for schools is based on subsets of demographics within that school. So is meeting “adequately yearly progress”. So if there is a subset of the population who is not performing well, then they are going to be targeted to receive all the “extras” the school can provide – tutoring, small groups, etc.
I have had students who could benefit from some of the “extras”. However, because they were not a part of the subset group that was being targeted for improvement, they could not participate.
As a teacher I couldn’t say to the parents, “You’re child can’t go to tutoring because he does not fall in the X, Y, or Z group”, even though that is what it sometimes came down to.
3. Individualized instruction is an exception.
Every parent wants their child to receive the most individualized instruction – based on their child’s needs – as possible. If your child excels you want him to be challenged. If your child struggles you want her to have extra help. If your child has more serious concerns you want those to be met as well. Even though I do not have a child yet (I will in October), I completely understand because I pay taxes, and I would want the same for my child.
However, it is just not possible, even with the best efforts on the teachers’ parts.
If we think about it logically, though, we can see that this is not possible. Imagine having 27 children at your house. Could you give them individualized attention and instruction each and every day? Of course not.
Now the reason I used the word “exception” is that children with special needs do have an IEP that teachers uphold under the law. And yes, every teacher I have known, including myself, does this gladly. But for the majority of students ALL of their needs will not be met within a school day. That is why your role as parent-as-teacher is still very important.
So what do you do? Is it time to get discouraged and angry? Of course not! Like any system or type of schooling there are pros and cons. These are just a few of the situations that I feel like parents may not be aware of.
This just emphasizes the importance of you being educated as a parent and learn as much as you can about the school system, the school, and the government so that you can fill in the gaps if there are any.
This is the final giveaway for our series, and it’s a BONUS! Three giveaway gifts for one reader!
Enter to win a:
Personalized correspondence set from Paper Chick Boutique! Great to use for notes to the teacher and to send in lunch money, etc.!
Personalized chore chart from The Barber Shoppe! A fun way to get back into the routine of school!
A fabulous eBook for those busy nights – 20 Minute Meals: Giving Weary Chefs Grace While Keeping Families Healthy by Leigh Ann Dutton!
Be sure to read the other posts in this 10-day series!
Day 1: The Night Before Party
Day 8: What Your Child’s Teacher Doesn’t Tell You
Day 9: Being Christian in Today’s Public Schools
Day 10: Your Child’s Education is Your Responsibility
What do you often wonder about your child’s school?