Dear Abby: “Chaplin, Conn., Reader” (Aug. 16) suggested that teachers should be sharing life lessons with children. Unfortunately, many people in our society believe it – including parents. Students come to us with ever-increasing deficits in many noncurricular areas. But it is not the job of public educators to teach them the importance of families, helping grandparents, caring for household pets, etc.
If these things come up in the course of the day and there is a need to address them, we try to clarify any misconceptions. But taking time to prepare and teach a lesson on any of these small but important subjects is no longer an option. The demands placed on teachers today are vast and complex. Just getting parents to follow through at home on school responsibilities is a job in itself. Many of them don’t seem to think they need to help their kids be successful in school.
– Seen It All in Michigan
Dear Seen It All: Thank you for your comments. The letter from “Chaplin, Conn. Reader” brought a huge number of responses on this issue, primarily from teachers:
Dear Abby: I spend half my teaching time on behavioral issues, social skills, bullying, how to work in a group and just trying to hold kids’ attention. Many children today are so used to constant stimulation from TV, video games, texting, etc., that their attention spans max out at 30 seconds. I practically have to sing and dance to reach them or they tune out. I suggest “Chaplin” go to a school, volunteer and try to become a part of the solution instead of adding to the burden of already overworked teachers.
– Teaching in Tacoma
Dear Abby: You are correct that teachers are overwhelmed by many curricular, legislative and administrative demands. However, educators can continually instill many of these life lessons into students by acting as positive role models who consistently demonstrate core values such as integrity, respect and determination. Students tend to do and learn what they see even more than what they are told – by parents and teachers.
– Anne in Nevada
Dear Abby: I am a retired physical education teacher. One day during a health class, a mother of one of my students came to school and told me I should teach “morals and manners” to her daughter. My response: “Ma’am, if you couldn’t do that in 14 years, I can’t do it in 40 minutes a day.”
– Remembers It Well
Dear Abby: Parents who actually spend time with their children and give them undivided attention are sadly in the minority. Those who help to teach them are even fewer in number.
– Kansas Reader
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