Resolve to get involved in kids’ education

By Greg Oliver - Contributing columnist

A brand-new year has begun, and we all thought about, or even announced out loud to those closest to us, our good intentions for 2020.

Even the most disciplined of us face the challenge to have the tenacity to stick to it and bring those resolutions to closure.

For those of us who work in and around education, we were quite sure that the students would return after the holiday, and they did. Now our job is to recapture their focus and provide for them learning situations that stimulate them to reach new heights both socially and academically.

It is not an easy chore to instill a vision and a passion for learning into every student that shows up for school. One thing is for sure, we need the support from every parent and community member in order to be the least bit successful in the classrooms of 2020.

Surprisingly, the research shows that today’s teachers say that the tuned-out teens are a bigger threat than violence, drugs, and limited school funding.

Teachers seem to lay the blame for disengaged and unmotivated youth at the door of the student’s home. There seems to be a perception that today’s parents are dangerously out of touch with what is gong on with the educational plan for their own children.

If this is in fact the case, then parents will be perhaps unwilling, unable, and unprepared to help their children with their school work. I believe that if parents are alienated from their children’s lives, how can we expect young people to develop the kind of values that will help them succeed in school and adult life?

I would propose to all parents of school-age children, the following new year’s resolutions to both your children and to the teachers who you have entrusted with your most precious contribution in life:

1. Be more willing and able to spend more time with your children.

2. Become more involved with what’s going on in the school were your children attend.

3. Continue to be that positive, ethical, and morally upright role model that today’s youth so desperately need. Say positive things.

4. Be less self-centered and much more attentive of the things that affect your school-age kids.

5. Be much more demanding with the expectations that you have for your children.

6. Frequently monitor their homework and limit the amount of down time that you allow them to have. It is easy to allow your kids to lock themselves in their room with videos and gaming.

7. Get to know each one of their friends. Screen who they spend time with. Know everything that you can about their parents. Spending time with wrong people can very quickly spell disaster for a student without focus.

8. Get to know each of the teachers that face your child daily. They genuinely care. Nice communications with them go a long way!

9. Be sure that proper rest and nutrition are a part of your daily prescription for success of your student

10. Listen with your heart and not just with your ears. The youth of today are craving to be listened to and to feel validated. So often we tune them out instead of taking time to be their valued friend.

Joining hands together, we as parents and teachers alike, can begin this new year with a common resolution; to be better at making the difference in the life of our most precious natural resource……the leaders of tomorrow.

We, as educators are the most fortunate of all who labor. Whereas a doctor can usher life into the world in one magic moment, we teachers can see life reborn each day with new questions, ideas, and new friendships. Treasure that opportunity.

A carpenter is aware that if he builds with care, his building will stand for centuries. We as teachers know that if we build with love and truth, what we can build will last forever.

Daily the teacher is asked to do battle against enormous peer pressure, negativity, prejudice, ignorance, and most of all fear. But as we begin the year together, let us draw upon our allies: Curiosity, Individuality, Creativity, Faith, Love, Laughter, and Prayer.

In this brand-new year, let’s hope that parental and community support will rush to assist us, and that we re-affirm our love for students — and we thank God each day that we can call ourselves — a TEACHER!

Greg Oliver served as teacher and administrator on the Laurel Oaks campus from 1973-1985, principal at East Clinton High School 1985-1989, and still works in education as Specialist of Alliances and Partnerships with Pearson Education, with a remote office in Wilmington, Ohio.

By Greg Oliver

Contributing columnist