Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Parenting Education

Why don’t schools train their students to become parents?
There are two parts to becoming an adult: having a job and having a family. Schools prepare children for a job, and parents prepare their children for their future families. But what if a child has bad parents? Schools have sex education, but not parenting education. And, since sex education often fails, why don’t they follow it up with parenting education? People don’t just know how to take care of a baby.

At one time last year, I taught 13 pregnant girls between the ages of 15 and 18. They don’t know how to raise a child; they don’t even know how to take care of themselves while they’re pregnant. Some of them still party and drink alcohol while they are pregnant.

Parenting education would be even better than pre-K. The only argument against it that I can think of is that people don’t all want to raise their children the same. That’s fine, but they should at least know the facts about how children develop and the effect parents have. And students should at least think about what kind of parent they want to be, like “What values do I want to teach my child?” “What kind of environment do I want to raise my child in?” “What role will my extended family play in my child’s life?” “Am I going to work or stay home and raise my child?” “Do I want my child to be religious?” People don’t wake up and become the parents they want to be; they wake up and become just like their own parents.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Homework Policy

Alright, I wish this were better than it is, but here's how I handle homework.

I give homework everyday, except on days they take a test. It's consistent. They never go home wondering if they had homework, because they did. And I tell their parents that too, because kids go home and say, "My teacher never gives homework." Well, I do.

I give them a calendar to put in the front of their notebook and write down homework.

I always write on the board what they have to turn in because, especially with block scheduling, they forget.

I grade all homework for accuracy. I know for most, this is impossible, but if it isn't counted wrong, my kids will think they do everything perfectly. Last year, I started grading for completion around April, and my students complained because then they make the same mistakes on the test.

HERE IS THE KEY: LOTS OF PROGRESS REPORTS! My students literally think that if they don't turn something in it won't hurt them. It's like the homework was never assigned until I show them a progress report with lots of zeros. Then, if they want to make something up, I require them to stay after school, so they can't just copy the homework and turn it in late. And I take off 30 points. At some point (probably next nine weeks after they fail the first nine weeks) they will catch on and start doing homework.