Thursday, January 20, 2011

World's Best Teacher


Ben works as a paraeducator in a first - third grade Autistic classroom.  As much as he loves the job, he finds it difficult to understand the cattiness and gossip mongering that the teachers--all female--participate in.

One conversation he recently overheard had to do with home school.
Teacher one: I can't believe so-and-so decided to homeschool their kids.

Teacher two: I know.  She isn't even educated enough to know how to work with her kids on math and reading.

Teacher three: And her kids will inevitably come back to high school with zero social skills.

Teacher one: Oh my gosh, a roommate of mine in college had a former roommate who knew a girl who was home schooled.  She was so awkward.

Teacher four: Yeah, I knew a girl [who was homeschooled] and she had no idea how to talk to people.

Teacher two: Seriously, parents who think they can home school their kids are ridiculous.  Their kids are going to be way behind the rest of their peers and go to college completely unprepared--if they do go to college.

The conversation just gets worse but I'm going to end there.

I know I probably won't home school my kids.  It's not because I'm afraid they won't be social or will be behind their peers, it's because I can't emotionally handle that plus a husband who is working 70-90 hours per week.

At the same time, if I feel that one or all of my kids would be better suited at home, I would have no problem pulling them out of their classrooms and teaching them.

What I find ironic about this conversation is these same teachers often complain about how annoying parents can be.  These parents want this, these parents want that, and often the parents don't think the teacher is giving their kid enough one-on-one time.  But, when a parent decides that rather than complain about the teachers and the free education their kids receive they will home school them because they think it will be better for their kids, the teachers still find fault.

My husband said it well.  These teachers (not all teachers) feel like home school is their enemy because it means they aren't good enough.  That isn't true.  The truth is, sometimes a parent feels their child needs something more.  Can you really blame a parent when they see their kid struggling and want to give home schooling a try?

There are so many things to write about regarding home-schooling.  So many myths to debunk.  For right now, I want to conclude with this thought: With all the resources available to home schooling parents, do we really their kids will grow up to be unsocial and academically behind adults? I don't know about you, but I'm going to do my best to give these parents all the support they need in making that big decision.


  1. I think teachers scoff at homeschooling because they don't think a parent is as trained/educated/prepared to teach. What they fail to realize is that most of us have been teaching since the day our babies were born.

    I won't be homeschooling any time soon, but it's not because I couldn't do it academically. I don't think either my children or I would survive it emotionally and mentally, but we'd do just fine academically and socially. I mean, it's not our parents' home school, you know?

    Lastly, your point about some teachers' attitudes toward parents really hit a nerve. I've found it to be so true that parents can't win. If you try to be involved, they resent you for intruding into their space. If you back off, they treat you like you don't truly love your child. There's no winning!

  2. I was homeschooled through 8th grade, and my brother the entire way through high school. This has been on my mind a lot recently, thinking about what we want education wise for our kids. When I was growing up I said I would never homeschool my kids. But my situation was one where my mom wasn't all that into socialization and that was my problem. I wanted more. So I went to high school and found it.

    BUT now there are so many (and there probably were then too, but my mom didn't want to get into it...) groups and co-ops and ways to make it a very practical and incredible option. Your husband said it really well. It's not the teachers, it's the curriculum, it's the teaching for the test, it's the high numbers of students per teacher, it's so many things that the teachers don't have control over.

    Very well said, Amber. :)

  3. Oh how I hate cattiness and gossip. I just don't understand why we all can't be nice to one another and be respectful of others decisions. Overall, I think people have to do what they feel is best for their children no matter what anyone else's opinion is. None of us have the right to decide what's best for others. We don't know each others situations and burdens. Again, I wish we could all just be nice. The world would be such a better place!

  4. I don't know where homeschooling is now. I know when I was growing up, the homeschooled kids were the weird unsocialized kids, but I think times have changed.

    And I can understand the teacher's comments. They work in a public school. They clearly believe in what they do. And as someone who works with at-risk youth, I can say there *are* homeschool parents who suck. Just as there are teachers who suck.

  5. I don't think I could homeschool my daughter, but I know of several parents who have made that choice.

    I am always astounded by the cattiness of some people's comments. I am a firm believer that it is far easy to pass judgment when you haven't walked in someone's elses shoes.

  6. How I wish it were easier for people to see alternatives not as challenges, defenses or criticisms but simply as different ways of doing things. And to be more generous with the benefit of the doubt, and more reserved when it comes to grouping and stereotyping.

    I could have a similar conversation about teacher certification requirements and school philosophies - public vs. private vs. magnets vs. charters, and on and on.

    When it comes to raising, feeding, entertaining and educating our children, we have so many choices! Now we need to spread your non-judgmental parenting philosophy and marvel at the world of opportunities rather than plant ourselves so firmly against one or another.

    Someone surprised me the other day by asking if I'm considering homeschooling Jack. I'm not, but like Kelly it isn't because I don't feel academically able. But I'm not sure I know where to begin when it comes to being my son's parent AND teacher!

  7. I won't be homeschooling for the same reasons Kelly stated here. I also believe that I'm not going to be able to provide everything that my kids need, be it in life or education, so I will continue to find a school system that will work for us. However, I have a deep respect for parents who are devoted to homeschooling their kids. It is hard work, and parenting is hard enough, so kudos to them. You're right, if we can't get behind their ideas, we could at least be supportive of their good intentions.

  8. It's really upsetting how much parents are judged on their (loving and reasonable) parenting choices - and how many parents do the judging! I don't know if these teachers are also parents, but it's so sad that we judge rather than try to understand each other. Thanks for bringing up this issue!


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