This article was written by Thomas Fuller — a junior high Social Studies teacher in Central Illinois. Check out his family travel Facebook page.
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I'm a big fan of teachers. Trust me. I am one. So is my wife.
But speaking as a parent, we are asking our teachers to do things we should be doing ourselves. While teachers are glad to help with the development of students, it is not their job to teach our kids to be good citizens. Teachers should be the BENEFICIARIES of us teaching our kids to be good kids.
Teachers should not have to teach my kids to say "please" and "thank-you". Teachers should be the BENEFICIARIES of me having already taught my children manners.
Teachers should not have to teach my kids not to be bullies. It is MY job to teach my own children not to be bullies and not to pick on other kids. Teachers should be the BENEFICIARIES of me raising my kids to be kind and considerate.
Teachers should not have to teach my children how to respect authority. They should be the BENEFICIARIES of my wife and I already doing that. When a teacher asks my son to do something, I should have already taught him to say "Yes, ma'am" or at the very least, ask “Why?” in a respectful manner.
Teachers should not have to teach my daughter the dangers of social media. They weren’t the morons who bought my kid a smart phone at age 12 and expected her to understand the responsibility that comes with it. Her teachers should be the BENEFICIARIES of me already having taught my daughter that Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and other social media sites are breeding grounds for bullies and jerks.
Teachers should not have to teach my son proper hygiene. They should be the BENEFICIARIES of me teaching him to shower regularly, use deodorant, and wash his clothes.
Teachers should not have to teach my children that they are not the only people in the world. That this great big universe doesn't revolve around them. That their words mean things and their actions matter. That being kind will get them further than being mean. That sometimes it's OK to say nothing. That keeping your cell phone in your locker during the school day will not cause you physical pain. That they won the genetic lottery and get to go to a school with electricity, running water, computers, meals, and teachers who care about them and want to see them succeed.
When we wonder why Johnny's not learning to read and write, please try to remember that having to teach our kids all the things referenced above can seriously hinder a teacher's ability to teach reading and writing.
Our teachers should not be expected to teach all the things I mentioned above. They should be the BENEFICIARIES of my wife and I already teaching our children these things. We parents need to do a better job of sending kids to school who are ready to learn scholastic lessons, not life lessons.
But as a parent, I know I often fail in my parental duties. And when I do fail, I’m comforted knowing there are dedicated teachers who will still take the time to remind my children to say please and thank-you, instruct them on the pitfalls of social media, advise them on personal hygiene, and teach them how to be better people—because that’s what good teachers do!
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