Okay, so I realize I’m fairly new at this whole mom gig, but I have been teaching kids for quite some time. I’ve worked with kids who have summer homes and I’ve worked with kids who have no home. I’ve taught kids who receive free lunch and I’ve taught kids who have personal chefs at home. I have kids whose parents were high school sweethearts and I have kids whose mother was killed by their father.
Despite all these differences, my hope for your kids is always the same. As the mother of a baby, I look at him and I plan for how I can mold him into a happy and successful human being. The following is what I think is most important from my perspective as a high school teacher.
I hope your kids know about money.
Of course I’m not saying share all your financial woes and personal finances with your kids, but they need to know the value of a dollar. The word “expensive” should be a part of your child’s vocabulary. They should know what that words means, whether something is expensive to you or not. They should know when they have something that others don’t. They should know they should not throw away new school supplies at the end of the year or destroy other’s property. Even if you can afford it, please don’t just buy them random sh#t. It does nothing for them. Spend time with your kids. When I ask student how their summer was they talk about what they did, not what they bought.
I hope your kids know their teachers don’t care about their grades, we care that they try.
When I was a kid I always assumed my teachers would be disappointed in me if I got a bad grade. As a teacher today, nothing could be further from the truth. While I might be disappointed for a kid if they bomb an exam, I am never disappointed in them as long as they tried. What kills me is when a kid gives little to no effort. Apathy gets me, and it doesn’t get you very far in life either.
I hope your kids know their are other options out there besides college.
I can write an eloquent five paragraph essay no problem. I can’t fix a car. I’ve had kids who can’t write a five paragraph essay if their life depended on it, but they can fix a car. They could probably build a car if they had to. Am I smarter than them? Absolutely not.
I’m a huge fan of public schools, and I think we do an excellent job differentiating instruction, but we as a society need to start recognizing intelligence that is not based in a classroom. We need to celebrate that everyone brings something different to the table. Some kids are going to be great writers, some can fix things, some have interpersonal intelligence, some are amazing artists…the list goes on. If your kids can spend hours working taking something apart and putting it back together but struggles to compare and contrast the Articles of Confederation and Constitution, don’t make them feel as though they are lacking. Celebrate their gifts.
I hope your kids know what basic manners are.
As someone who has worked in the service industry, I can tell you this makes a huge difference. Plus when you are kind, people are more willing to help you and go out of their way for you. It’s that simple.
I hope your kids know that they are special.
They’re not better than anyone else, but they have something special about them. Whether it’s their quirky sense of humor, love of animals, or gift for writing. There has been something I’ve appreciated about every student I have worked with, no matter how hard of a time they gave me.
I hope your kids know there is no job that is beneath them.
If there’s anything my generation can pass along to their kids it’s this. Growing up we were taught that you get good grades, go to college and then get the job you want. After that you can save up money, buy a house, have a car, go on vacation once in awhile and so on. Yeah, not so much these days. When I graduated in 2007, the job market was terrible. For the first decade of my life after college I always had to work two jobs. It took me a long time to get the teaching position I wanted. I consider myself very fortunate to own a home and be able to take the summers off. Over that ten years after I graduated college I cleaned some gross bathrooms and was talked down to a lot by people who thought they were better than me. You are not better than anyone else. Waiting tables, making coffee, cleaning, and so on is not beneath you. Never ever judge someone by the work they do.
Well, that’s all I can think of for now…I know the minute I publish this I’ll come up with something else. I know we all want the same for our kids, and sometimes in the hustle and bustle of our lives we lose track of what is really important.