Saturday, September 20, 2008

Resting from a weary week

I've made the morning pancakes, and played the Christmas music for Julia, and now I'm heading out to those azaleas. Maybe I'll give you some before/after pictures later. It's a lovely cool day, we haven't run the AC in days, and I think autumn is just around the corner!

Apparently I hit a raw nerve with my comment about students and parents. In my teaching experience (I first taught a class in 1986), the parents who interfere with my teaching, trying to "protect" their children, actually end up derailing their children's education in one form or another. And the parents who give me a smile of encouragement, but back off and let me do my job, are the ones who help their children's education. I speak only from my experience; I don't make claims for all teachers. Parents who try to compensate for having spoiled their children, giving them too much freedom, not mentoring reading and intellectual curiosity for them, and not teaching them simple moral values like honesty or hard work, by lighting into me and telling me how I must teach the child they have already handicapped -- that drives me nuts. The child needs discipline. They don't want him disciplined. They don't want his feelings hurt. The child needs to take possession of his own education. They won't let him do that. They must advocate for him. They can't accept the fact that I actually do know what I'm doing, and when it comes to teaching their child, I do know how to do it better than they do.

If you are a homeschooler, some of that may be antithetical to your educational views. That's fine. We can disagree.

Actually, teaching at Cono for 5 years was something close to teaching at an orphanage, because the almost all the parents lived pretty far away, and were not near enough to interfere. It gave me more freedom to work with the students. And considering that a goodly number of the kids were there, not because they were disfunctional, but because their parents were, they made amazing progress away from their parents, and with the help of staff who had their best interests in mind. I learned there that, if you wisely challenge a student to accomplish more than he thinks he can, and give him the tools he needs to succeed in that challenge, he will do it -- if he wants to. I never, ever had a child fail a class, except when he was lazy. Hard-working students always pass. Students work harder when their parents are not at their elbows, eager to make excuses for them and pick up the balls they drop.

That's not easy parenting, letting your children make and face their own mistakes. But it is good parenting. Just my opinion.


  1. Do you not think that one of the problems in the educational system today is lack of discipline? So many parents don't discipline....and teachers aren't allowed to do so. It's a sad state for the kids.



Hello! I hope you leave a word ~ I will get back to it as soon as I can!