Teacher Jenny Orr writes about a fun, creative and successful Bedtime Reading At School event she organized with parents and her colleagues.
Here’s an excerpt:
We invited families to come in their pajamas and we wore ours too. In the beginning of the evening, as families were arriving, we started together in a resource room. The kids got the chance to stamp bookmarks and I read them a big book.
“To the best of my knowledge, this is the first state PTA to come out against high-stakes testing in this way,” Bob Schaeffer, public education director of the National Center for Fair & Open Testing said in the article. “I wonder if this will lead to opposition in other states.”
You definitely want to read the entire post, but here are his suggested “tips”:
1. Don’t assume all fathers are the same. By predetermining what role a father should play in the school community, we inadvertently place them in a box which doesn’t allow them to be active participants in the process. Talk to fathers and hear their ideas.
2. Value multiple perspectives. Invite fathers to have a voice and share what is most important for their child. A father’s understanding and mind-set matters and sometimes provides a different perspective from the mother’s. These multiple perspectives can give students the skills they need to create their own successes.
3. Actively target fathers in communication and events. Don’t just call fathers for discipline issues, but call to share stories of academic successes. Reach out to invite them to volunteer in the classroom, chaperone field trips, or attend special events.
When parents are going through tough times in life, I want to be the kind of teacher who uplifts them and their children. It is not my place to judge or assume that the mom who says she is too busy to come to parent conferences just doesn’t care.
While I want to encourage and challenge parents to do better by their kids, I must walk a fine line so that my actions or words do not also make them feel out of place in their child’s school.
I know. I understand. I am a parent, too. I used to wonder why some parents would let their kids come to school with uncombed hair. But now I have two daughters with crowns full of thick, beautiful, kinky black strands. As I dropped them off at the front door of the school today, I realized that I forgot to brush their hair and sign their nightly reading logs–for the second day in a row.
Watch D.O.G.S. is a K-12 father-engagement initiative run by the National Center for Fathering in Kansas City, Mo. Two fathers in Springdale, Ark., founded the program following the tragic school shootings at a Jonesboro, Ark., middle school in 1998 that left four students and one teacher dead.
Watch D.O.G.S. fathers must commit to volunteer all day at their child’s school. From greeting the students in the morning and reading the announcements to assisting teachers in the classroom, dads are assigned a variety of tasks all over campus and not just with their own child.
The program’s goals are deceivingly simple but meaningful:
Provide students with positive male role models who emphasize the importance of education. Give schools volunteers who can assist with creating a culture of increased security.
I’ve written a couple of previous posts related to the same topic:
Parent coordinators in New York City schools have had a tough time — they’ve been pressured by bosses to manipulate elections, threatened with mass lay-offs, and many other indignities (you can read my previous posts about their challenges here).
At the beginning of each semester, I ask my parents, ‘what are your dreams and hopes for your child in this class, and beyond?’ Reading their answers gives me insight into what parents value for their children and expect from me.
It’s worth going to her post to read the responses she receives….