It has been my privilege in the recent months to work in a few public schools across Volusia County as a substitute teacher.
I know many of you are probably chuckling after reading that, since I used the word "privilege" in reference to such a position. We all know how the subs can be treated by the students at times. Well, that much is accurate, but in other ways, it has truly been a privilege.
Since my four children's daily lives are vested in what really occurs in the public schools, then I do see it as a privilege to get the inside "scoop" on what goes on at schools every day.
What I've found it that so many people in our schools serve our children on a daily basis. People work hard and really seem to go the extra mile for our children every day; people who are committed to their jobs because they greatly appreciate the children who benefit from their good work.
It's true that not everyone I've come into contact with is as dedicated, but we must remember what a difficult job it can be to work with so many kids on a daily basis!
Most of the classrooms I've visited have been smoothly run as a place where schoolwork is efficiently completed, but there are some teachers with classes whose greatest struggle seems to be getting the cooperation of the parents.
Parents need to jump in and get involved in their children's education, but sadly, many parents don't take the time to even enforce homework, let alone volunteer an afternoon in the classroom. It is particularly important for parents to be involved in the elementary years, when the foundation for future education is laid.
Get into those backpacks every day and check out all their work, find out what needs to be done for homework and check for any notes from the teacher about behavior and otherwise. Most importantly, reinforce at home what the teacher is doing at school to create positive behavior in your child. Discipline the child if he or she gets in trouble at school so your child will be motivated to behave well for the teacher, and equally, reward children when they bring home good grades and "Terrific Kid" certificates.
One of the things we all know we need to be doing with our kids is reading. I admit, with four children, we struggle ourselves with all those reading logs to complete, but it's one of the best things we can do for our kids - read!
I ventured a question, out of curiosity, to a group of Exceptional Student Education high school students who were enrolled in a reading class: "How many of your parents read to you when you were little?"
Out of a group of about 12, one girl raised her hand and said that her mother used to make up stories every night and tell them to her, but she did not actually read to her out of a book. I wondered if her mother knew how to read.
The point is that none of the students in this lower-level reading class had been read to as a child. How sad is that? Clearly, you can't raise kids on just television!
I know how hard it can be as busy parents, getting schoolwork done along with sports and other activities, but it's the best thing parents can do to help their kids and the teachers!
Ruthie Davidson is a mother of four children, ages 5 to 10. She lives in South Daytona and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.