Lately, I’ve had a bunch of “you are getting old” moments. Whether they are the snapping, crackling, popping of my body when I get up in the morning or kids asking me about “Yung Gravy” (good rapper, totally inappropriate for the SIXTH GRADER who asked), there’s an awful lot that going past me that I just don’t know about anymore.
Shhhh….no one asked you. Anyway, I’m feeling a bit curmudgeonly this afternoon (and now morning) because yesterday was my day at study club. What is study club you ask? I’ll be glad to tell you! 🙂
After the quarter ends, the students have the opportunity to get any late work done (summative assessments) before they are marked as failing on their grade card. They have two weeks after that end of the quarter date when they can spend 90 minutes after school to get stuff done.
We started out with sixth students staying after. Not a great amount, but hey, get your work done. Within 5 minutes, one student had called her mom. Why? Because “I don’t want to be here with her,” another student with whom she was having a fight. And mom bailed her out, coming to pick her up. Then, two more students just decided, “Naw, I don’t want to be here,” called their respective mommies and also got picked up. When? About 10 minutes after the first student left.
I know. And again, their respective mommies came and bailed them out.
So, I see two problems here. One, students don’t see the value in making up the work missed for whatever reason and two, parents are more than willing to come and bail their students out of situations where “they might feel bad”.
Both my daughters knew that if you screwed up, that was fine. Everyone makes mistakes and you learn from them. But they also knew that Mom and Dad were not the ones to call to get you out of something. That NEVER worked. Ever. They knew that unless they had an ironclad excuse, one that truly made sense, we weren’t calling anyone. One daughter was ineligible because a teacher had lost work. That one we called on. Another because they’d missed a lesson, made it up online, and the work had not been counted. We called on that too because both times, they had proof. Otherwise, take your consequence and learn from the experience.
I don’t see this with as many parents anymore. They aren’t willing to allow their children to feel discomfort, to see uncomfortable about their own actions. If you watch any social media, you see parents who are stepping up for their kids, dealing bullying, cyber and face to face. They are active in their lives, the way parents should be, helping their child navigate an increasing difficult time growing up, but allowing them to fail and learn from that experience.
But then, there’s the other side of the active parenting. Blasting teachers, schools, and others about all sorts of things. You’ve seen the news, so I won’t go into those details, but many of these blasts are done without merit, without fact checking, and ultimately are driving away the very teachers their kids need. The teachers who have empathy, who care, day in and day out about our students, regardless of all the “stuff” that goes on. They are the teachers who are saying “enough is enough” and leaving the profession.
Then what? Yes, you got your child out of study club, but what did they learn? Did they have to feel that uncomfortabilbiy because they didn’t get their work done and now there are consequences? Did they learn that, yes, hard work does matter? Did they learn that if they put their mind to it, they can do hard things?
They’ve learned that if they complain to the right people, their problems go away and they can go back to their phones, social lives, and no worry about “that teacher”.
And we’ve lost another good teacher, trying their best in truly difficult circumstances. They’ll put in a little less effort. They won’t stay as late. They won’t purchase the supplies they normally do. They won’t interact quite as much.
In this blog, I tend to preach to the choir on many topics, and my goal is not to offend, but Tuesday night really opened my eyes to how today’s parents and today’s students interact.
And it’s both sad and scary to me because these will be the future workers, voters, and caregivers in our country.
I feel old.