*Updated Blog Post*
As many of my social media friends know, I am in my tenth year as an elementary educator with Baltimore City Public Schools. I have taught fourth and fifth grade, everything from Literacy, Health, Social Studies, Mathematics, and Science.
Upon being hired I was asked, by my then assistant principal, which grade I wanted to teach. I chose fourth grade because it was my favorite grade, thanks to Ms. Drake who was once a teacher at Mary E. Roman Elementary School. I also thought this age group would already have the basic concepts of reading and mathematics and I would be there to enhance their knowledge base.
I have never been SO WRONG in my life.
What I’ve found are children who have been severely academically neglected. Because of that, you begin to point fingers. Fifth-grade teachers wondering what the fourth-grade teachers did, fourth-grade teachers wondering what the third- grade teachers did, third-grade teachers wondering what the second-grade teachers did and well…you get the idea.
You meet eleven-year-olds reading on a first-grade level and when you talk to a parent they don’t seem phased in the least bit.
Parents, please understand the school system does have an obligation to all students and I know many wonderful educators from paraprofessionals, teachers, and principals who are well vested in your children’s education.
BUT AS A PARENT YOU NEED TO BE ADVOCATES FOR YOUR CHILDREN’S EDUCATION!
From the time your child is born you need to TEACH! Alphabets, colors, numbers, food, objects, building vocabulary, speaking in complete sentences, how to question things-EVERYTHING. If you need ideas check Google, ask family and friends, call a school and ask! ASK ME!
There is no good reason that an able-minded child that doesn’t have some sort of intellectual delay should just learn the alphabet and how to count when they start school at age four or five!
READ WITH YOUR CHILD. That one needs to be repeated again. READ WITH YOUR CHILD.
Trust me when I say I know the school system isn’t perfect and like I mentioned earlier we do have an obligation to the community we serve, but parents need to be held accountable.
Because the school system is the way it is, parents should be even more committed to working with children at home. Don’t even get me started on the way some of these “history” books are set up. I’ve actually seen a text that basically said slavery was a bad idea, but who doesn’t make mistakes! (another post, another day.)
Things your children are learning in school need to reviewed and reinforced at home. Go through your child’s notebook, talk to your child’s teacher, ask your child SPECIFIC questions about their day, read books, magazines, newspapers, websites, cereal boxes.
READ SOMETHING! ANYTHING! PLEASE! And make it happen on a daily basis.
Figure out what kinds of things your child is interested in, go to the library, and find those kinds of books. Talk to the people at the school that work with your child daily. Find out what their strengths and weaknesses are and what you can do at home. Believe you me-your child’s teacher IS held accountable and is required to track your child’s progress and more than likely has a binder full of data for you (Oh data binders-again another time, another post).
During extended, planned, and impromptu breaks from school work with your child! Even if your child’s teacher doesn’t send anything home-GOOGLE something.
Ask the teacher if they have any extra material that you can use at home. There are so many FREE resources and you owe it to your child to exhaust all possibilities for them to reach success.
This will not be my last post on this topic. We still need to discuss the state of public education, the curriculum, the truth about testing, funding, and so much more.
Please remember- IT STARTS AT HOME!