I have read several articles by Sheila Dunnells, Ph.D. She is a Yahoo! Network Contributor. Full disclosure: I like her analysis of issues. I have communicated with her by email. Also, I have had experiences during my twenty years in the classroom that often corroborate her observations and affirm her conclusions.
Ms. Dunnells’ latest article, May 26, 2011, is titled Obnoxious Parents/ Disruptive Kids: Why Good Teachers Will Leave Education.
Her article is worth reading in its entirety. It appealed to my sense of fairness, for Ms. Dunnells does not take sides with parents, students or teachers/principals. Rather, she offers instruction on how to analyze, address and, hopefully, resolve problems. She addresses an array of behaviors in a manner that lead the reader / parent to rational conclusions about the interaction between teachers and students and then guides the reader / parent towards a non –combative way of dealing with issues that offer the highest probability of a favorable and honorable outcome.
Here are a few key paragraphs:
“Time was when teachers were revered. If a teacher called home, parents were suitably disappointed in their child and grateful to the teacher. Wisely, that child was afraid to go home and face the parents. Alas, that was back when we were still praying for the conversion of Russia, schools ran air raid drills and kids walked a mile to school.
Today, parents regard a negative report card with emotions that range from anger and disbelief, to denial and righteous indignation, a wrath directed at the teacher, not their child. Compounding the demise of effective parenting are overworked parents who have no time for discipline, so teacher input is an inconvenience. We have a generation of kids who are raising themselves and who reign, unrestricted, in their homes.
Do Not Doubt Me
Unfortunately, sitting in the desks are the lesson-killers! These children have not learned when it is and is not appropriate to stand up, walk to the wastebasket, toss out a piece of paper, walk back to the desk, distracting the entire class. Also looming are the children who drop pencils for a laugh, or fall out of a desk to be class clown.
However, the quintessential lesson-interruptus kids are those who daydream during the explanation, wait for the teacher to finish, shoot up their hands, and whine, “I don’t understand what to do.” Even classmates sigh and roll their eyes!
(A) and (Ž)
Children raised to be self-absorbed and egotistical abound in our schools. They siphon off enormous amounts of instruction time from their classmates. They persist in their narcissistic behavior because these children do not respect their parents, their teachers, or the police officer standing in the crosswalk. Parents, your children were not born this way; sadly, someone totally misguided has promised them they are the Alpha and the Omega and can do no wrong!
When problematic behavior catches up to these children, the obnoxious parents lie to the school officials so their children do not have to face consequences. Obnoxious parents have created a new j’accuse buzzword against teachers: Teacher Bullying! Yes, when teachers correct inappropriate behavior, it is now called bullying.
Obnoxious parents coach children to believe that teachers are always wrong. These parents will whine, threaten, bully, and defame any educator who points out a fault in their children. Ultimately, the school will back down! However, you have raised children the world does not want as neighbors, friends, employees, relatives or president of the United States!
THEREAFTER: Ms. Dunnells offers suggestions for effective parenting:
Regarding the dramatic bombastic, child, Ms. Dunnells writers:
Mom would like to find Mr. Jones (the teacher) and drag him over ground glass. However, she steadies herself and asks Johnny why he would say that.
Effective parents run a reality check before an attack. Be honest, have you been told in the past that Johnny’s incessant talking is disrupting the learning process? If so, keep the focus where it belongs, on Johnny’s behavior problems.
Ms. Dunnells urges that parents should be their child’s advocate, not their pawn. She cautions parents against using foolish words and rhetoric, such as my child would never do that! She emphasizes that children lie and distort facts and causation.
Ms. Dunnells’ conclusion is worth the time to read the article in full:
The real payoff for the effective parent is that you will raise children with character, integrity, and morality. You will raise children who succeed in school. The effective parent knows that children who pay attention in school learn more than those who do not. That spells scholarship to Georgetown!