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new school year

That “F” Has to Come Up: The Value of Education Starts at Home


In an ideal world teachers are waiting door ready to greet students with smiling faces and excitement that is palpable before they enter the school yard. Students would arrive with completed homework, positive attitudes, and respect for the institution of education and its gatekeepers. But in many schools around this country that is not the case. 

A few weeks ago I had a conversation with a parent. This parent has been concerned because her child has an “F” in my English class. It is the only “F” on the child’s report card, so she is flabbergasted and concerned. Now I have been tutoring her child and a few other students for the last three weeks. She checks in weekly to discuss her child’s progress. Now initially she came into the classroom, like most parents do, ready to give me the business but I showed her child’s low test scores and missing assignments, which deflated what I call the “hard walk.” (Hard walk is when a person walk fast and hard that hear their steps, moving with the intent to verbally hand you business.) She yelled at him and continued to tell me that he plays on a traveling football team and that playing on this team will give him an opportunity to receive a scholarship to a private high school. She says, “That F has to come up” because if coaches see that he’d be off the team.  Now every time I see, her she tells me “That F has to come up,” which I wholeheartedly I agree. As a teacher you never want to see your student’s fail especially if they are making a genuine effort. However, I don’t give arbitrary grades based on fondness of a student or insinuations from parents. The student must do their part to earn and maintain their grade.  However, every time I see her I feel like she is telling me “That the “F” has to come up” versus making sure she is telling her child.

 I go on to inform her that his grade will improve if he does well on his next essay and cumulative vocabulary test. She goes to inform that “President Obama is trying to crack down on ya’ll for giving all these test. Don’t they take a test in your class every day?”  My reply, “They have not taken a test in my class in over two weeks besides a school mandated interim.” I was so upset and this blog post was born.

Just like a parent is responsible for guiding the moral compass of their child since their first breath. The same is said for their value of education. If you do the following actions you are inadvertently showing your child that you do not value education regardless of what your words say.

1.       You openly question the teacher’s judgement in front of the student.

2.       You make excuses for your child not completing assignments.

3.       You are not involved in the school environment yet you complain about the culture.

4.       You believe in make-up work because your child chose not to complete the assignment the first time.

5.       You believe that the teacher “gives” grade and your child doesn’t “earn” them.

6.       You rationalize why your child should be given multiple chances to correct their behavior.

7.       You can’t tell your child they can be the next president, when their study and academic habits are less than presidential.

8.       You say school is important but don’t attend parent-teacher conferences.

9.       You bad mouth the teacher at home and then expect your child to skip into class being the model student.

10.   You are quick to call the school with a compliant and even quicker to swipe decline when the teacher is calling you regarding your child.

 Parents don’t realize the power they possess.  Parents set the tone of how students few education. If you parents don’t value the institution of education, how can we expect student’s to respect it?

Teachers are in many cases viewed as either the problem to the education system or the solution depending on who flips the coin. However, what people forget to realize is that even though teachers are the front line of the battle of education itare the parents who are the real generals, but don’t realize they hold the power. Some parents don’t realize that is their view and value of education is transmitted to their children, thus effecting behavior and academic habits.

There is difference between advocating for your child’s education and enabling them to continue to not take their education seriously. Which aisle of this row do you sit on?

I agree with that parent this “F” has to come up because as a society if we don’t stand together and hold each other accountable then we will continue to fail each other now and future generations.

Be a support system and not the reason they need the support.



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