Parents and teachers are on the same team
I write you this as someone who has been in the position to see two perspectives that are at once very distinct and very similar, those of mother and teacher. Over the past 12 years, as a parent, I have felt the frustration when one of my children hasn't had the success in school in relation to his capacities. For example, when one of my sons didn't want to go to school anymore because he said that there was nothing there for him, I wondered how we were failing him. When another son was getting involved in gangs, I wondered how to deal with this great danger and how gangs could have so much influence in the secondary schools.
It's very difficult as a parent not to have all my children's education under my own control. On very few occasions, I have had to face a teacher who hasn't had all the dedication to his or her students that I would have wanted. However, most of the time, the teachers who have served my children have shown over and over again their professionalism and caring for my sons. Furthermore, they have had patience with me (as a sometimes needy mother) and with my children, who sometimes let themselves down despite the support they've received. I have always observed the desire that they have to provide the best instruction possible for their students.
What I have seen as a mother has been only a partial version of what happens in the education of our children. As a teacher, I have seen another side: Teachers getting together two or three times a week voluntarily to discuss with each other or with parents how to help a student who is having difficulties. Teachers spending hours after school or on weekends preparing for their classes. Teachers planning lessons that each day provide a regular opportunity for students to connect their own experiences to the material, to think deeply about a topic, as well as to read and write academically. They also provide students with ways to learn how to communicate their ideas effectively and to work successfully in groups or individually.
Daily, I see teachers forming important bonds with students, teaching them values like responsibility, discipline, honesty, compassion, integrity, trust and hard work. They go often to trainings to improve their instruction, often without getting any financial compensation. As a parent and as a teacher, I suggest to all parents that they visit the classes of their children to see personally how the teachers work in our schools.
Every teacher has his or her own ways of trying to give an excellent education to their students, and although a small minority of teachers perhaps should seek a new career, the great majority has a passion for helping our students along their path from childhood to adulthood.
I believe that schools can only be successful if there is much effort and cooperation between the four most important groups - the students, the parents, the teachers and the administrators. Teachers and parents are on the same team, with the same hopes of success for our treasures, the children of this district. Thanks very much to all of you in the community for your efforts, your time and your dedication toward our children.
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Maria Elliott Moreno teaches history in the dual-immersion program at Adele Harrison Middle School.