By Sulla Rose
As the new school year begins, it is imperative that parents focus on the work of teachers, honing in on any inefficiencies and ineffective practices, so that kids may receive the education they deserve. Below, you’ll find five easy tips to ensure your child’s teachers are actually working during the pandemic.
1. Surreptitiously take pictures or video evidence of the teachers’ workday. Are they spending sufficient time sitting in front of their laptops as they attempt to teach remotely? Are they shouting loudly enough through their masks for students to hear? Is every precious minute of instruction used efficiently? By documenting your child’s teacher’s workday, you will be able to assess whether actual work is being done and support your position if you should find that work to be inadequate. It’s fine if you have to hide in the bushes on the sidelines of the middle school field—you just need to get your evidence!
2. Should you catch the teachers not working-such as checking their phones or taking a minute to stretch-post the evidence on your social media pages. Better yet, post it on your town’s social media pages, so that other parents may be aware of the problems and discuss them at length. Bonus points if your post generates a lengthy discussion of the obscene amount of vacation time that teachers enjoy. Super-bonus points if your local news station reports on teachers “striking” based on the evidence you’d submitted.
3. Monitor remote classes as much as possible. Is your child’s teacher actually teaching the material, or just sitting there while kids are playing mindless games? Are they dressed professionally? Are they providing an adequate lecture on important topics, in your opinion—to the point that your child will be able to remember forever the important material being covered? Is there sufficiently beneficial class discussion, small group work, individual attention, project-based learning, social-emotional learning, curricular assessment, and rapport? If not, it’s best to nip the problems in the bud; see the next point below.
4. Express your concerns whenever you feel your child is not learning successfully or adequately. You may be no expert at the curriculum, but you ARE an expert at your own child! It is paramount that your child’s learning milestones are met, lest they never develop a solid foundation for second grade math. For maximum efficiency, it is best to address your concern to the top: rather than contacting your child’s teacher personally, opt for emailing the principal—better yet, go straight to the superintendent or your town’s school committee. Your child comes before any silly hierarchy, and change will not come about unless you speak up. How else will your child learn to color farm animals properly?
5. Accountability is key. Remember: teachers are public servants, and your taxes pay their salaries. Granted, you wouldn’t do any of the above to monitor, say, the fire department, but teachers are different; they are responsible for the future of entire generations and must be held accountable accordingly. Don’t worry about being dubbed “that one gloriously unhinged parent” or being regarded as “difficult.” That’s a risk you must take, and the greatest risks also yield the greatest rewards.
The bottom line: Everyone else has managed to get work done during the pandemic, and teachers should be no exception. Don’t be afraid to remind them that they chose their profession and must fulfill their professional duties. After all, where would you be without the teachers? Homeschooling, that’s where—and let’s face it: THAT is the last thing anyone needs.
About the Author
Sulla Rose (pseudonym of an author of fourteen non-fiction books) recently finished her first novel about New England suburban shenanigans. Follow her @SullaRose on Twitter.