It’s report card season.
For parents of achieving students it’s a time to celebrate your child’s hard work.
For parents of under-achieving students it’s a time that is not looked forward to.
For parents of teens, it can be a whole other issue altogether. (see previous entry about how parent-teacher interviews can go horribly wrong)
Teens can be uncommunicative at best, so one school in Baltimore came up with a unique solution to talking to teens about report cards—they brought in neutral third party from John’s Hopkins who are not invested in the report card results.
The third party is objective and not likely to be upset by poor grades the way a teacher or parent is. The third party has a better chance of communicating with the teen about poor grades without the teen getting defensive or upset.
And so far, the program is working. It’s an opportunity for teens to talk formally about their progress and goals with an objective adult—a system that is especially good for teens too proud or embarrassed to ask for help.
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With report cards on the horizon, parent teacher interviews are not far behind, which reminded me this unforgettable story that actually happened!
This story is true—and hilarious.
It was the week after report card cards and this father (names changed to protect the innocent and guilty parties) was scheduled at a parent-teacher conference for his tenth-grade son. He announces that he is leaving to meet the teacher, and asks his son if there is anything that he needs to know. The son shakes his head and does not reply.
The father gets to the school and introduces himself to the teacher.
“Hello Teacher, I’m Mr. Smith, father of Tim. How is my son doing?”
The teacher gives the Father a quizzical look.
“Mr. Smith, your son has not been in school for about two months!“
The moral of this story is: Don’t be a Mr. Smith!
Stay in contact with school teachers and keep the lines of communication open with your kids! Read these tips on homework help and how to get involved.
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Ask any random group of kids about reading and they’ll tell you that it’s boring. Reading is old news—a holdover from a bygone era. Remember when children strained their vision reading by candlelight or by flashlight under the covers? Those classic images of childhood are relics.
Kids today will more likely be remembered for their above-average video game prowess or their knowledge of browser specifications and music video streaming speeds.
That fact that today’s kids are so wired and trained by instant technological entertainment gratification— pleasure is never more then a flick of a button away—is one of the major reasons that reading has fallen out of favor with today’s youth.
This techno factor is also to blame for the fact that books don’t get the same media attention that video games or movies do. Where are the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys for this generation of kids? Sure, there’s Harry Potter and the Lemony Snicket series, but unless books garner the attention of Hollywood, they’re not likely to get the attention of children.
But why is reading books important anyway? After all, kids read enough in video game instruction and while text messaging. More than likely, the quantity of reading is not diminished by technology— it is the quality of the literature that is not up to snuff.
Reading books—in the old-fashioned, alone and quiet sense—does more than simply help to develop a strong vocabulary—it helps instant-entertainment children learn how to delay gratification. It teaches how to self-amuse and be patient and to focus on one thing at a time. Reading a book is like a debriefing for media-saturated children. It helps them be able to focus on a single thing at a time. There is a clear ramp-up time to a book—sometimes it can take two or three chapters get hooked, teaching perseverance and patience.
But more than that, spending QT with a good book helps children develop skills that will pay off in the classroom. Reading teaches the importance of seeing connections and new meanings. And one thing that video games will never be able to do is transmit the emotional development of its’ characters. If nothing else, a book teaches children how to empathize with others.
Getting your child to unplug and read a book isn’t an easy task. This article has some great tips on developing better reading habits.
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