Sunday, November 1, 2015

Education's Paradox: All or Nothing?

When a child is having difficulty in school parents are faced with a paradox. Most people in the U.S. agree that all children are entitled to a "good" education. All children currently add up to almost 50 million public school students taught by over 3 million teachers. Because our population is so diverse it is becoming more difficult for teachers to give special attention to all who need it.   

All parents want their child (who is one in 50 million) to have a great teacher. This would mean of the three million teachers working we hope they are all experienced, intelligent, loving, knowledgeable, excellent teachers. Oh, and these excellent people should ignore better paying jobs. And ignore anyone questioning better pay for teachers because they get so much time off. This, of course, is from people who declare they would go crazy staying home all day with their own children. 

These excellent teachers should forgo jobs with better working conditions and dedicate themselves to students who may be hungry, angry, tired, noisy, or perhaps even . . . creating discipline problems. It has been reported that in a single year 145,100 public school teachers have been physically attacked by students and another 276,700 had been threatened with injury by a student.

Classrooms may include students who don't speak English, have emotional, physical, or learning differences, or who simply don't want to be at school. And it is not just the teacher's efforts and attention that has to be divided among these students. Your child may be distracted in a classroom by students working diligently at getting attention: negative or positive.

So worried that your child isn't on grade level, or may have a Learning Difference, or is just really unhappy at school, you may decide to check out private schools. This of course requires money, availability, and often the realization that while private schools claim to be selective - dollars hold sway here, too. And while some great teachers may love the idea of smaller more disciplined classes, others cannot or will not take the pay cut. Of course, some private school have larger, or less disciplined classes than some public schools.

If you find yourself staying awake nights wondering what to do about your child's K-5 education there are a few things to ponder:
  1. If you had one or two days of problems but most of the year things have been going well -- relax. Everyone has good and bad days -- in childhood and adulthood.
  2. If there is a physical danger to your child or he is consistently beaten down emotionally put all your efforts in finding another place: private, home or another public school. It can be done.
  3. If you are worried about the academic content, but feel that overall school is OK, supplement. Get a tutor,  find supplemental material for your child to work on during the summer or on a few weekends a month. Remember museums, zoos and libraries have classes for children. Do research before and during vacation trips to teach your child history and geography.  Show her how to make change or measure a room for a rug. Cook with your child.  Talk about important ideas with other adults in front of your child. Read, read, read to your child.
  4. If you are worried that your child is has a learning problem talk to her teacher about getting your child tested. Join a group that will walk you through the process of getting help in a public school. Find a tutor with experience teaching children with learning problems. Research the Internet to see what is available. Check this Pinboard for ideas on how you can help your child.
Remember there is no perfect school for your child. There is not a perfect school for any child. We all learn to live with imperfections. Acknowledge any big problems, take care of them, and don't sweat the small stuff.

No comments:

Post a Comment