As a high school teacher and parent I can tell you with certainty that, TEACHERS and/or schools cannot EVER be the solution alone, no matter how much money you pump into it. EMPOWING kids is the solution, and that must involve parents in ways and levels that we don’t seem to be understanding.
As we look to politicians and policy makers to fix this suffocating dinosaur of education, we are losing MILLIONS of our future adults to apathy and lack of focus. A teacher (like me) with 185 UNIQUE teens per DAY in my classroom, cannot be expected to approach something of this magnitude. Especially when I do not, nor cannot, EVER know what all those kids need. It is ludicrous to continue believing that teachers can adjust learning in that way, especially when empowering our kids to take this responsibility ultimately helps them in every aspect of their lives.
The answer isn’t rocket-science. It is simple and inexpensive. The problem is that it is messy, takes TIME, sacrifice of our free-time and rolling up our sleeves, as parents to do this incredibly challenging work of coaching our kids to 21st century adulthood!
We all know that more education improves earning potential AND that middle class jobs that will REQUIRE post-secondary education are rising, while blue-collar jobs are shrinking. Even the high school drop outs know that...but they find school irrelevant. CLEARLY, the missing link is helping our kids internalize the motivation and abilities needed to respect and value for what education offers them. THEN they will and can learn anything we offer. We have to EMPOWER kids to learn for themselves and how to do that successfully…and invest in the WORK that takes! We do NOTHING concrete to help kids understand WHY high school must be taken seriously and HOW education impacts their future options and WHAT they want to do with their lives. It all boils down to helping them see early enough that THEY will eventually be responsible for their own lives. We wait WAY too long to make education relevant. We keep trying to make it ENTERTAINING for them and there are many more entertaining things than old, dusty teachers offering old dusty curriculum!
As a teacher and widowed mother of 3, I became so concerned with this that I stopped waiting for everyone else to fix this. I started to build a bridge between what schools/can and should offer to better prepare our kids to taking the reigns of their life as adults and building success for THEMSELVES.
I started in my classroom (and my dining room table with my own tweens and their friends) asking honest questions, gathering TONS of research and listening to it all.
The outcome of my decade long obsession and work with thousands of teens AND parents is a workbook project, called Get totally Real! a journey of self-discovery and life planning for 21st century teenagers. www.getreallearning.com
When parents began asking for ways to be more involved in the transformation their children were experiencing, I created a Get totally Real! Parent Companion that gives parents tools to begin this work.
I know I am just one parent/teacher with one tool, but I know that it is working for my students and many others. My students have been telling me I need to find ways to share this with ‘the whole world’. They told me to call Oprah and she would want us on her show! I hesitated to even share the info with people because I feared people might think I was trying to make money off of kids/parents…They told me to do what was right and not worry what other think. Oprah hasn't returned my call! So…here you are.