Sometimes Change Is NOT Good

I guess because I am an older person, with many years and experiences under my belt, that I have seen a few things. Some of those things have changed and significantly over the years. The one that I want to write about today is just plain personal. I can remember from the very first time I went off to school – elementary school and the experience has carried me through my kids going through school and now since I volunteer a lot – I get to witness it daily (with other people’s children).  The title of the blog post is “Sometimes Change is NOT Good” for a reason. I know we need changes in our education system – I truly understand that.. But, the change I want to focus in on is teacher, student and parent. Why? Like I said, years of experience…

Let’s look at this relationship. We can all agree that it takes a village to raise the children. Especially, parents and teachers when it comes to education. Don’t forget the main ingredient – student (your kids). The relationship over time has changed significantly. Let’s look at my experience –

  • I went off to public school back in the mid to late 60’s and graduated in 1977. I know I am dating myself.. But that is okay. It is a frame of reference! I am not going to tell you I walked uphill in the snow both ways – we all know that is not true, but I did walk to school (and the winters were pretty cold – Canadian border, upstate New York). Well, back to the topic; parent, student and teacher relationship. My parents taught me the teacher is right, always right. They are very important and you need to listen to them and do what they tell you. My parents attended all scheduled conferences and shared communications as needed. When I acted up or didn’t get along with a classmate, a call or note would go home – and I was 100% at fault, no questions asked. My parents would ask me, what is your side of the story.. Here was the trick I learned later on – they were baiting me to lie. Fact is they sided with the teacher 100%.  Back in that day, corporal punishment was allowed and I got my share (I liked to be the class clown).
  • Fast forward some, to when my kids attended school, 80’s and 90’s. Times were changing some. Teachers before we never saw out in public. We now see them…  I never knew that growing up.. When my wife and I used to discuss the importance of a very good education, we shared that the teacher is a very big part of your success. Listen, work hard and do what you are asked to – these were the important points. Along the way, we had some issues with how things were going. We never once attacked a teacher for anything. We would sit down and work out what needed to be done. I was lucky, my kids were gifted students – they set high goals for themselves and worked hard. Sometimes the school would only focus on working to the middle (or on getting students to passing). When my kids got their calls or notes for behavior issues – we sided with the teacher more times than not. Rarely did we take the stand for the kid. Did I bait my kids like my parents did? Some…
  • Fast forward again to the 2000 and 2010’s. I have seen an increasing number of challenges for the teachers on the simplest of things. Let’s go back to the behavior issues examples. I have witnessed an increased focus on the teacher as the cause of the behavioral issue. Not a complete 180 degree switch – but the parents first step is to agree with the child’s words. Which puts the parents on the offensive when meeting with the teacher. Upset parents coming to the aide of their kids… Making excuses or defending the behavior – it can not be my child that did it.. Why has it changed? Do we think that the 9, 10, 11 year old is right over the teacher?

Like I said, in my day, my parents accepted the teacher as gospel. When my kids went through school, I was definitely more supportive of the teacher. I can only remember one time – that it was definitely not my child that was at fault, but was there – guilty by association (make a better choice). Watching what I am seeing today scares me. Maybe it was me not being like my parents – 100% support of the teacher no matter what.. Helped to pave the way to what I see today.. I hope not. The village has to raise the kids – it is time for the kids not to raise part of the village. Sorry, but if you are a parent that supports your child 100% over the teacher in all matters, ask yourself one simple question. “What does the teacher gain from what you just heard from your child?” I think that will help put into perspective who has something to gain…. Working together for the best for the child’s future.

  • Absojeff

    Great post Steve. I observe that it comes down to teaching children to respect their elders. I really appreciate your view of parents needing to partner, work with, and help their child’s teacher rather than just complain. For the record, I remember and respect the times I took a well deserved beating and did everything I could to ensure my parents would not find out. When they did, my parents always elected to provide me with another beating rather than complain to the nuns. It was a great system that I grew to respect. Thanks Steve.

  • Thanks Jeff.

    Respect probably was key back in the day. Teaching was a well respected profession. Today, I doubt that is the case. I am all for not raising a bunch of followers. Sit down do your work and all will be good. I want some creative and inquistive young people.. The stuff that I am talking about are those bad choices, behavior issues and lack of follow-up on getting the work done. Work together with making it a life experience rather than a blame game. Look kids are kids – mistakes and stuff happen. We should be all about insure it does not happen again – rather than blaming it on anyone.

    Makes for teachers afraid of doing their jobs..
    Parents afraid of what teachers and administrators will think of them..

    What is missed is the students (your child) not learning responsibility and respect for their actions. Just excuses and finger-pointing.. Do we really want this next generation to pass this onto their children?