Can we Just Give our Teachers a Break? (#BacktoSchool, #Teachers, #Volunteer)

Disclaimer: I never have been and probably never will be a teacher. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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The kids have all gone back to school and you know what that means! Time to complain about the teachers! I see on my Facebook feed daily complaints about kids teachers!

  • My kid has too much homework.
  • The teacher was rude to me.
  • She didn’t even acknowledge me at pickup.
  • There are too many papers in my kids folder.
  • How am I supposed to make time for reading?

Now before I proceed with my rant, let me just say that I DO realize there are legitimate complaints about teachers and like anything else, there ARE bad ones out there. But some of the stuff I see is just ridiculous and I have to wonder, do they really KNOW what they are talking about? Have they taken the time to investigate? What are THEY doing to help?

We are all guilty of jumping to conclusions and judging but what do we really KNOW?

I have had the opportunity to volunteer in both of my kids classes this past week and here’s what I learned.

Paige’s Class: Kindergarten

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I love Kindergarten! There is just something so fun about it! Teachers really know how to make learning fun. They get to do crafts and color and cut and paste all the live long day! A Kindergarten’s teachers job is so fun that their job must be easy peasy right?

When I got to Paige’s class to help, her teacher was prepared as usual and had things for me to do.

  • Check the kids homework from the previous week and prepare their folder for the coming week.
  • Paint the kids hands and do handprints and fingerprints for a craft.
  • Cut out two each apple shapes to make a book and the four pages that go inside and then staple them all together.
  • Cut out another big red apple and the little window part inside for something to show through. Cut out the wheel that goes behind the apple. Attach both with a brad.
  • Put together a couple of books the kids will be making in the coming weeks; more cutting and stapling.
  • Time for the late birds. Repeat hand paints and homework checking.

The whole time I’m sitting here doing this, I’m not going to lie, I am thoroughly enjoying myself. I love being in that environment, listening to Paigey, seeing what she does and who she interacts with. It’s FUN for me.

At the end of the time her teacher said “thank you so much for helping me today. I would have been here until 6:00 doing that.” And that’s when it hit me the tremendous amount of work these teachers have! After dealing with our little monsters ALL DAY, they are not done working! They don’t get off at 3:20 and go home and put their feet up! They still have to work. Yes it’s their job and yes they get paid, kind of.

I don’t know the specifics but I’m guessing that a teacher that is on salary is paid for their time teaching, not the countless hours spent prepping. And in Kindergarten, there is a LOT of prep work!

I started feeling really bad. Where are all the parents? Why don’t more people help? YES, there are some parents that have to work 9 – 5 and would love to be there but just can’t. But there are others that just don’t want to. They would rather do something else with their free time.

But guess what? I could be doing something funner too probably! This is MY time when I have two in school. But I want to be there. I want to see who my kids are friends with. I want to help the teachers that are investing in their future, OUR future. Who is going to lead the country some day? What jobs are these kids going to do?

As parents we should want to give them the very best start in life. Our job isn’t JUST at home. It’s not the teacher’s problem because they have our kids during the day. If our teachers are tired from staying late and doing these things or doing them at home, they aren’t going to have the same energy they could have or the same time to put into other things that help our children!

Reed’s Class: First Grade

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This was my first time in the first grade environment. We aren’t in Kindergarten anymore! This is a whole different ballgame! I walked in Reed’s class expecting my stack of cut and paste projects and instead, I was handed one piece of paper with instructions.

Instead of doing things I did in Kindergarten, which this teacher will still probably have to do at home, I helped out the kids that needed a little extra help.

All kids are not created equal. They all learn and grow at different paces. Some are just naturally smarter and some aren’t getting the help at home that they need. Whatever the reason, a class of 20 is not going to be learning at the exact same pace.

Reed’s teacher has a list of these students, what they are struggling with and a basket of things to work on them with.

For example, I worked with one group on the following:

  • Alphabet flash cards. Say the letter and make the sound. And sadly, there are some kids that can’t do this in first grade!
  • Sight words. Show them the card, help them with the first letter and make a motion to give them a clue. These are to be memorized, not sounded out.
  • Take a stack of cards from 1 to 20 and have the kids put them in order and say the number and then mix them up and see if they can identify them. Again, some kids still can’t do this in first grade.

I learned a lot of things in my day in Reed’s class. One is, not all kids are where they should be. Another is, this teacher cares enough about her students to not let them fall behind! Do we care enough as parents? Are we putting in the time we need to?

In all honesty, if I knew ahead of time what I would be doing, I would have been a little scared! I’m no teacher! I have a college degree but lets just say it’s been a while! I KNOW how to say and do things but explaining them is a whole different experience. But I warmed up to it and actually enjoyed myself.

I walked out of there feeling so grateful for Reed’s teacher. Reed was not on either list THIS time. But as a mom with a kid NOT on the list, I’m happy my son will not stop making progress because she has to take the extra time with someone who’s behind. As a mom whose child very well COULD BE on that list next month, I appreciate that he has a teacher that cares enough to take the time and I KNOW he won’t be left behind!

What’s my Point?

I have a lot of points actually but here are my main points.

  • ♦Don’t complain about your kids teacher for stupid petty things. You don’t know what is on their plate and unless you spend some time in the classroom, you don’t know the whole story.
  • ♦Spend time in the classroom! If you have a free morning, even if it’s once a month, make a difference! Not only will you make a difference in your child’s life, you can help others who aren’t so fortunate.
  • ♦Spend time with your kids while they want you to! My kids both ask me every day if I can help in their class! Right now I’m doing once a week, alternating classes. I WISH It could be more! But I’m doing as much as I can.
  • ♦Say thank you to your kids teacher. They take care of your kids ALL DAY and it’s exhausting! I spend HALF a day in there and I feel like I need a nap!

Something Else I Learned

I am not as big of a failure as a parent as I thought! Let’s be honest, as moms and parents, we are our own worst critic! I honestly feel bad when I don’t fill in Paige’s reading log all the way to the bottom, even if it is optional. But guess what? After checking the homework, we actually did more than most!

I thought Reed was behind. His drawing is horrific and his writing is terrible. But his teacher told me he’s towards the top of his class. I had no idea!

I was focusing on the negative and the areas they need work but there are always positives! Find out where your kid is really at!

Benefits to Volunteering

  • Get to know your kids teachers! They are people too! They are the people spending the day with your child. Don’t you want to know who they are?
  • Spy on your kids! Yes, I said SPY! I want to know how my kids are hanging out with. I want to see who the kid is who threw Reed’s lunch on the ground. No I’m not going to trip him but I want to know! There is so much bullying and crap that goes on these days. I want to be in the know.
  • Show your children you care! My kids LOVE when I’m there. They WANT me there. They won’t forever but for now, they know I’m there because they are loved.
  • Get to know other Mom’s. I’ve met a few other mom’s this way. Does your kid ever come home and want a playdate with someone and you have no idea who they or their parent are? Panic attack! Get to know the other moms. This could be your kids future best friend. It could be YOUR future best friend!
  • Help someone who needs it! Don’t you like to help people? Give the gift of your time to someone who will appreciate it!
  • Understand what your child is learning and what’s expected of them. Do you ever look at their homework and not understand it? I learned things in the classroom that helped me to help with homework!

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My Conclusion

Our kids are our future. Our teachers are helping them get there. Instead of complaining about stupid little things, get in there and help! Make a difference! Show your teachers and your children that you are serious about education and are willing to help do whatever it takes for your child to succeed! Be their partner. Be their cheerleader!

I realize I may have gotten lucky this year. I might not like their teacher next year; they might not like me. But guess what? I will still be there regardless because MY KIDS are there. They are the future. Let’s give them the best foot forward possible!

lindsey

 

 

Update: Back to School 2015

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The IE Mommy

The IE Mommy

I am a stay at home mom of three; ages 7, 6 and 1! I love doing product reviews and finding the best things to use for my family. Reading and writing have always been my passions so this allows me to incorporate them with the things that mean the most to me!
The IE Mommy

Comments

  1. I wish our kindergarten teacher had welcomed parent help and let us be there. We had a horrible experience with kindergarten. Unfortunately, you can’t always be in the classroom because your child is there. Our kindergarten teacher wanted no help and when I did go to help with field trips, there was never a welcoming feeling or attitude. I asked numerous times if I could come in and help and was always told no. It was a hard start to school for us. 4 years later and my son still randomly will ask why his teacher never smiled if anyone mentions kindergarten. I pray your experience continues to go well with your children’s teachers & that you get to continue to help in their classrooms. Teachers and parents working together is how I wish it could be for all children. 🙂

    • How awful Becky! That’s hard, especially in Kindergarten when they are first starting out! My son’s teacher wasn’t a warm and friendly type and was always very weird when I asked if I could help. She didn’t say no but she was just like, whatever. When I finally got in there I realized she’s just a little bit shy and she doesn’t like to ASK for help even if she needs it. I’m actually exactly the same way so I was glad I got in there to find that out. That sucks you weren’t even given the opportunity! I hope you have better luck with future teachers!

  2. Awesome post !!!!

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