Tag Archives: teacher

Homework Helper Needs Help

11 Sep

If I had to grade myself on how well I help Nia with her homework, I would give myself a C.

It’s funny because I never really minded homework as a student. I followed the directions, showed my work, wrote complete sentences and studied. I did OK+ in school. My parents could’ve had one of those honor roll bumper stickers that some people love to hate. I graduated in the top 20 of my high school class and magna cum laude at college. None of that matters though when you’re book smart. Everything I learned, I learned for the test. After the test, my brain couldn’t retrieve the info that helped me get smiley faces and A’s. It’s like it all got pushed out of my head to make way for useless movie and music knowledge.

Because I managed to wing it and get laughed at for being flighty, I was never really concerned about the missing parts of my mind. It wasn’t until I had to start helping Nia with her homework that I realized it was going to be an issue.

I’m so lucky she has a super smart brain in her pretty, Second Grade head. As I’m trying to help her, she usually tells me how to figure it out or explains the directions to me. What’s even worse is when her homework – that I helped with – comes back with the teacher’s red pen marks on it. I feel like I failed or let her down. When I quiz her on spelling words, she gets impatient waiting for me and starts writing the words off her memory. One recent homework hurdle goes something like this:

Me: The next word is where, I mean were, I mean we’re, I mean…
Nia: Momma! It’s where!
Me: Well, you have the word were on here too.
Nia: I know but where comes next. Which one do you want me to spell?
Me: What do you have written so far?
Nia: W.

Oh, Sweets, we have a long homework history to battle through ahead of us. I’m sure you will be teaching me a thing or hundred. I’m also very grateful for the genius brain I married. Andrew always knows the answer and jokingly advises Nia after hearing me try to explain something, “Yeah. Um. Nia, maybe we shouldn’t ask mommy questions about science.”


Just Say No to Silly Bandz but Enjoy a Coke

17 Aug

I’m not in school anymore yet I feel like I’m being tested. I’m sure my answers will be wrong – especially from an educator’s point of view – but as the always-being-educated I have to try to comprehend the logic.

I understand and sympathize with the need for teachers to maintain acceptable behavior and keep their classrooms free of distraction to provide an optimal learning environment for children. However, I’m concerned what some tactics may be teaching students.

Schools ban things all the time because of the hoopla the outlawed items cause. I never questioned it until getting a letter about what the teachers call “overpriced, colorful, plastic rubber band bracelets” or Silly Bandz. Apparently, the bracelets cause quite a raucous. The teachers say kids with them trade and fight over them. The kids without them covet them. To settle the situation, the Silly Bandz have been banned. (Other schools have also banned them.)

I understand this may be the most efficient way to solve the issue, but what about the teachable moments? I don’t believe that teachers should parent the children but I do believe children learn how to behave appropriately in society while they are in school – learning how to work through differences, jealousy and maybe even a criminal act (a student swiping another Bandz). Instead, the teachable moment is removed. Don’t like something? Ban it.

One thing that’s not being banned – despite the feelings of envy other students may feel – is the weekly reward of a bottle of Coke.

Nia’s teacher uses the refreshing beverage as a reward for the students with the most green strips at the end of the week. Now, I’m not a super health nut or anything. We let our kids eat junk. It just had my mind going because it’s not a secret about the health concern of sodas in schools. Also, this now means my child, who rarely gets caffeine (and when she does it’s like 5 ounces) now consumes 12 ounces of sugary, caffeinated yum in the middle of the day. Because I’m thinking the sodas are an inexpensive and desirable treat for the teacher and students, I’m not bothered enough to express my questions to the teacher. But I suppose I could always request Nia get a non-caffeinated beverage instead. After all, she’ll be getting one every week.  (Said like a super snobby mommy.)

The funny thing? Nia gets the Cokes but she never did wear her Silly Bandz to school when she was allowed. Maybe those teachers are on to something – no Bandz must mean better behavior. Lesson learned.

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