Needed: How to Deal with Parents 101

My t-shirt says: "I survived my first week of IT." I planned, I replanned, I cut, I pasted, I used marker, I wrote messages, I read notes, I looked up that word, what's that word, that means that thing, you know - that thing that students do all those times... what's that called.... well, I looked it up. I did all these things and the week passed... quickly.

One thing that was on the backburner of my week was assigning homework. It's for students, I thought, to practice what we are learning at home. That's how I currently think of it. Because the week was full of changes, I kept repeating that they could go home and share with their parents what is happening at school. We started new units in every subject. Their heads are spinning, their fabulous "regular" teacher is out of the room, they have new seats, new resources, new classroom organization... you name it. So, homework, in my mind, seemed pressured. Instead of turning in something that I knew I'd be over my head in looking at, I talked about the homework. "You read a poem to your parents last night! How'd that go?" And we shared, and shared, and discussed strategies. We talked right through my carefully prescheduled Morning Meeting time frame. All was going well.

Then this morning, a student comes over and says:
"Mrs. M., my mom wants to know why we don't have as much homework."
"O, she must want you to read to her more!" (HW was to read to someone in family).
"No, she said it's hard for her to have Mommy time if I don't have my own work to do. And she said that I talk enough, so reading to her isn't good."

Um. Blank. I silently pointed to his homework for the day, looked him in the eyes as I tapped the two papers, nodded, and walked away.

1 comment:

SiR said...

parents these days are kinda ridiculous. my parents tried to be involved but that kinda just ended up as unneeded psychological abuse on my part and them acting more like prison wardens than parents. plus the environment at home wasn't that great. My dad was never there because him and my mom were getting into fights, so he never really learned how to deal with me other than yelling at me or drilling me on spelling words. And my mom was like no help in homework whatsoever, although she did read to me at night.
anyway, i vividly remember the night i learned how to read the word "of" in kindergarten. I was trying really hard, but i kept pronouncing it incorrectly, (when reading it off of the paper). My dad screamed at me. and the thing is when parents AREN'T acting like prison wardens obsessing over homework and spending quality, schools accuse them of "not caring" or "not being involved in a child's education".

Your homework assignment of reading to their parents was great. it forces kids to actually interact with their parents, as opposed to either kids sitting at home not understanding the hw or parents trying to figure out what the assignment was asking. Some parents just really really suck.

one book i recommend is "The homework myth: why our kids get too much of a bad thing" by Alfie khon (i may have spelled the name wrong).

~a 16 year old whose parents are still horrible. (dad is actually around now but now my parents expect me to keep a 4.0 and if i don't i'm a failure at life and will end up at community college. i need to get all A's on my finals or they won't love me anymore :/)

good luck and i hope you one day you'll be able to deal with all the craziness that comes along with being a teacher.