the art of being a parent and an educator

13 Oct

so, I go into to school a few weeks ago to get a better sense of what the curriculum is for my 6th grader. To my surprise, well-not really, the teachers invited the assistant principal to the meeting. Maybe my emails were intimidating. I don’t know. However, I do try to maneuver between being a parent who happens to know a lot about education and teaching and being a parent who is just interested.

The burden is heavy for us educators. We have to think about when and how we will ask questions

  • how many parents should speak before we speak in a school meeting
  • how many hours, days, weeks should go by before we approach a teacher
  • how do we ask questions in a way that don’t sound judgmental
  •  When do we involve the principal
  • how much do we share about what we know about the curriculum or teaching standards
  • it’s very tricky to know stuff and to have resources at your disposal because you know stuff.

Yes,  unfortunately (or fortunately), like many others,  I have had to pull out the Dr. Freeman thing one or twice when I wasn’t getting anywhere just being the random parent asking questions.

Once was when the teacher asked if Danielle could come for remedial math support and when I asked her to show me the data that suggests that Danielle needs this support, all she could show me were her scores which were all As and Bs.

Once was when the teacher tried to explain to me why the students don’t have discussions about texts in class

Once, I had to talk to the principal about the teacher yelling constantly at the student and yet another time, I had to challenge why only the white kids in the school received awards.

All of this stuff is emotionally draining and yet, if unchecked-could mean the difference in your child’s education. Yet, your kid pays the price for this kind of involvement. It’s almost as if they have a target on their back. Danielle, I’m sure, worries about when and where I will unleash on the teacher. I don’t want to be THAT parent but I have to advocate for my child because lord knows, it might not happen any other way.


Posted by on October 13, 2011 in parenting


8 responses to “the art of being a parent and an educator

  1. Kimba

    October 13, 2011 at 9:59 pm

    You are the Let that school know, the black Doctor is watching! 😉

  2. Heather

    October 14, 2011 at 2:38 pm

    LOL. I have tried pretty hard to conceal the fact that I’m in education until the midyear point. But this year I had to assert my knowledge because I was unimpressed with the literacy approach and my baby is in kindergarten and my husband is feeling great pressure about when the boy will read! Yikes! I’m ok but if that lady wasn’t using readers and writers workshop, I was going to strike! Yes. A fine line, indeed. Nice post.

    • footsgrl1

      October 15, 2011 at 12:57 pm

      Heather, I went into my daughter’s school(6th grade) and asked about how and when the students discuss what they are reading-not just answer comprehension questions but really discuss books. Well, they don’t. The answer was ‘they talk about books but no, we don’t have book discussions in small groups. But, the library has book groups.”
      deep sigh….I’m meeting some district person next week AND i’m keeping my plane ticket to go to Boston to have our book group (5 years strong and holding). so much work to do with this whole thing…. yes, need a martini.

  3. Nomadicvagabond At

    October 18, 2011 at 2:56 pm

    It is a saddening ugly truth that many schools and teachers feel threatened by other educators… is it because in their hearts they know their actions to be an injustice towards students? …Then after telling themselves that what they are doing is right and just, someone knowledgeable comes asking questions – quite unsettling to a body that has seen little light since… The Reconstruction Era maybe?

    I remember growing up watching my mother fight very similar battles on my behalf; and if she had not, my life could have gone a completely different direction.

    Fight the good for fight! For you and Danielle.
    The waves you create will ripple through time!

    • footsgrl1

      October 18, 2011 at 10:31 pm

      Thanks Henry,
      as you know –it is so hard to be a parent and an educator. It takes so much energy and it is saddening to have to fight like this for basic educational access.

  4. Jillian

    October 26, 2011 at 9:12 pm

    This one struck a true cord. Every year I tell myself that I will just listen, will not ask revealing questions….& every year I listen, and then do the exact opposite. I am comfortable with Reggie’s teachers knowing that he has parents at home that do KNOW education & everything that a good education encompasses.
    I know that my decision does put a “target” on his back, but I would rather have them aware that I am constantly participating, then allow poor teaching to reverberate throughout his learning! Keep letting them know that you are Dr. Freeman, and not afraid to advocate as such!
    Good blog, I second it, you do need to write a book! I know I’d read it!

    • bellabarks

      October 27, 2011 at 10:10 pm

      Yep Jillian, it’s so tricky and Danielle is at the age where she’s really sensitive about how I participate in her schooling. I still do but I’m more aware of how she feels about it.


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