Since 1989, I have taught high school music. No breaks. No sabbatical. Well, there were those two times when lies and evil took me out of the classroom. I continue to work on forgiving those who did not believe me and chose to believe others who did not like me or really — did not know me or care to know me. Perception is becoming more powerful than truth. Also, perception is the “lazy man’s” truth. Few people are going to afford the time to get the truth. First school district… Not one parent conference leading up to that paid administrative leave (read more in CONDUCTING MY LIFE). In that first school district, if it hadn’t been for a student / family poisoning our front yard and the next day shooting out the back window of my car, I would have stayed in that school district. For the safety of my family, we left that first school district. And then, the second school district… same scenario: not one parent conference in regards to the reason being placed on paid administrative leave. I chose to stay at that school and that choice led to not being allowed to attend one of our daughter’s events — that was our daughter’s senior year in that high school. Talk about faith. I needed faith (as I submit this blog on Easter Sunday, March 27, 2016) to stay at the high school. I also needed to teach my students that one cannot bend a knee to lies.
This article that I am “reviewing” is one of the clearest and strongest articles in regards to what parents are doing TO their children and their children’s teachers, rather “for” their children and their children’s teacher. I won’t go into much detail about the two paid administrative leave at two separate school districts. Both times were extremely painful. The first one is in my book CONDUCTING MY LIFE. The second one will be in a future book and that book is going to be about how God got me through one of the most challenging parts, to this date, of my life. I have always wanted to be a teacher. I am a very good teacher. And to have what one has always wanted to be (a teacher) and succeeded at be taken away due to lies is incredibly painful.
The Blair King article lists the following points in how parents are undermining their children:
Parents, you are not your child’s best friend, you are their parent
Same can be said for teachers: Teachers, you are not your student’s best friend, you are their teacher.
Parents, learned helplessness is your fault, not your child’s
Same can be said for teachers: Teachers, learned helplessness is your fault, not your student’s
Parents, you must advocate for your kids, but you must also support your child’s teacher
Same can be said for teachers: Teachers, you must advocate for your students, but you must also support your child’s parent(s)
Parents, your child’s teacher cannot replace your role in your child’s education
All four themes were a part of those two paid administrative leaves. Not once, did I have the feeling that the parents or administration were interested in my side of the story. Look at the four themes. How can a teacher who wants to teach survive such undermining? Well, a teacher who wants to teach the child will need to understand that in today’s world we are all looking for love / to be loved, rather than be respected. Something is happening where we are losing the true meaning of the word love or AGAPE.
(GENERAL STATEMENT – BE READY; WARNING!; IF THE SHOE FITS, WEAR IT!) Parents: to be loved by their children is now a greater need than being respected by their child. We are in a time where feelings are more important than action! Feelings lead to or dictate action. We have turned the word “love” into a noun / feeling, rather than the verb it truly is.
All four of those themes lead me to: parents have made the feeling of love the center of their relationship with their child rather than the action of love. The love between a parent and their child was once unconditional. We were to love our children with no deals. I didn’t care if my son or daughter was going to “hate” me when I disciplined them, because in the end, disciplining was part of my job. In every job, there are parts that are awful. Disciplining my son or daughter wasn’t the joy of my job as dad. Sitting across from a teacher and hearing a weak report from a teacher (really a colleague) was not a great part of my job as a dad. So, today, why do we tend to give-up being “that-parent?” “That-parent” who has earned the reputation of being “tough.” Very few parents want that title today. And guess what? Very few teachers want that title today. My guess is parents and teachers again want to be loved and being loved is more important than doing what’s right. What’s right is being our child’s unwavering guide on this path of life. What’s right is allowing our child to fail and be there to pick them up. What’s right is for parents to work alongside the teacher. What’s right is to understand that a parent and a teacher can work together to enhance a child’s education. To not be involved in your child’s education is a life-long mistake! Successful schools are successful because there are parents volunteering countless hours for the school’s success. It should be A GIVEN for a parent on a campus or in the various boosters organization is for their child. However, it is even more honorable for a parent to be on a campus / in the various boosters organization for all the children. We see many parents stop being involved once their child is not in that school. Yikes! I GET THAT! We need to see adults continue to be part of their community’s schools. It’s difficult to find that level of motivation to be involved in the school when there is not the direct contact (my child is a student in that school). But, going to games / fundraisers / performances – fine. Please do that much.
We can only hope that our children will return to a time when being a parent meant accepting and doing the tough parts of being a parent. Your child will love you. Your child may even love you more when you are consistent with them in enforcing the rules you have for life. When you die, you leave behind your legacy – your child. Your child will carry on what you have taught them. What do you want your child to carry with them for the rest of their lives? My hope is that you want your child to carry on a healthy sense of love. Let’s return love to the verb. And part of that action of love is to sacrifice ONCE IN A WHILE that “I love you daddy” for “Thanks daddy for being so tough with me.” Now, what is that “tough?” Answer: what you want when you are not at your best.
Final thought from the teacher who has been hurt more than once by parents… Learn to love your child’s teacher. Can you imagine how much simpler things can be between your child and his / her teacher if you were positively involved? If you were caring about your child’s teacher? Teachers are first and foremost HUMAN BEINGS. You treat them with the love and respect you want as a HUMAN BEING, I can almost guarantee that your child’s education will flourish. Learn how your child’s teacher works – through your eyes; not your neighbors’ eyes and certainly not through the eyes of a teenager who is upset at his / her teacher. More times than not, the students who choose to stay with me for all four years of their high school experience stay because they know I LOVE MY STUDENTS. I love my students! 99% of teachers will say (too quietly): I LOVE MY STUDENTS! And that love is shown when through successes and failures. Students who want a cheerleader first / teacher second will not do well with me. Students who care more about the truth, rather than the tone of the truth, generally do well with me. I would encourage all of us to judge others (teachers, in this case…) through our truth / our eyes / our experiences / our realities. When you hear “Mr. Teacher is an idiot” there is a good chance the person who said that didn’t get the version of “love” they needed. WORK WITH YOUR CHILD’S TEACHER and your child’s teacher will work better for your child. The parent who works for or with their child’s teacher, is in the end, working for their child’s education. WE CAN DO IT!