I recently wrote a blog honoring my parents because I understand that it was their love and constant involvement in my life that led to my success in school. They were active and would pop up to my school unannounced to make sure I was doing the right thing. And I was a good kid! My high school principal recounted a funny story of how she told my mother to go home after randomly popping-up to the school to check on me. She remembered telling her “Marcus is fine! He will be just fine.” Fine or not, my mother needed to see it for herself. That was beautiful. I bring this up because in the five years teaching Make Music Count in classroom settings, I found myself constantly looking at my students and saying “If my parents ever saw me acting like this…” or my favorite “I would have never gotten away with this.” And it’s because parents are not as involved as they should be when it comes to raising their kids so that they are prepared to learn in school.
Now, I know this is a touchy subject but its the truth! Teachers are not parents! I see more teachers dealing with behavior problems more than anything and unfortunately, it’s taking away from the time they need to actually teach. Teachers should not be required to raise children. As a teacher, I’m aware of lessons that help students develop life skills, ultimately helping them become better people. But that should be in addition to the values taught at home, not the only values and ethics they ever hear. So these students need parents that aren’t their friends but parents that will discipline and teach them how to conduct themselves in school.
Let’s help our teachers be great. Parents shouldn’t complain when teachers are struggling to deliver lessons and students fall behind in learning if teachers are spending all of their time parenting and dealing with behavior problems. So parents, pop up on your kids at school. Join PTA, address issues at home with love and care so that when your kids come to school they are in the right mindset to learn from the teachers.
Parent engagement is also important for when students don’t have good teaching experiences. I remember when I felt that a high school teacher just didn’t like me for some reason. He made me feel that I and the other black males didn’t belong in the honors class. In high school, you can tell when someone is prejudice but you don’t know how to handle it. I didn’t want to dig myself into a deeper hole by confronting the teacher so I went to my father and expressed my concerns. He showed up for class the next week and sat quietly in the back to just observe. After visiting the class he saw exactly what I noticed and then gave me insight as to how to move forward. My father’s presence alone changed how that teacher treated me. After that one visit my teacher knew to end the funny business because I had a support system at home that was active in my education. There is no better feeling for a child when a parent shows up to defend them. In addition, since my dad knew all of the black students in our class, they weren’t mistreated anymore either. Children don’t know how to handle difficult teachers so as an active parent you’ll be able to really help.
I can’t end this blog without mentioning the importance of fathers in children’s lives. There are hardly any male teachers in schools, so often times when I enter a school to teach Make Music Count I feel like a father figure to the students. It breaks my heart to feel like I’m filling a void in my students. Although I’m happy to do it, the reality is I’m a false figure because I don’t get to see all of my students every day. I can’t actually be the real father figure that some students are looking for. We have to get our fathers involved with educational parenting as well. Once we reengaged parents into the education of our children I believe we will see a huge increase in school performance.
With Make Music Count, we’ve created a unique way to bring the educational experience home. Take a second with your little learner today to remix music and math. Download the Make Music Count app today for your iPad or Android tablet.