Adult Reality Check 101  

Put yourself in a teacher's class!

It’s an average day in an ordinary school; a teacher delivers the day’s lesson to a class of impressionable young minds. Little does the teachers realize, today’s lesson will resonate and be judged far beyond the classroom.

The students are young but carry an important opinion, one of which they will discuss with childish exuberance out on the playground. A judgment will be made among them about the teacher, the teacher’s lesson, the class in general.

A parent will then pick up the child and harmlessly ask “What did you learn?” The parent’s opinion of the day will be made up in the car, in the moment, and in the prevailing emotion, from what that child reports on that day.

The facts, feelings, and activities will be judged by a parent whose frame of reference can be biased and dated, by their age and their own learning experience.

The parent will then share their child’s school news through their circle of friends and family and another judgment will be passed on the teacher, the class, and even the child’s school to a significantly larger group.

Times that scenario by 30 plus students per class, + 60 parent advocates and perhaps 100 others in the family/friend circle and it’s no wonder the parents, teachers and public are having differences of opinion as to what really goes on in schools?

And how did this start again? Innocently, by one child’s account, and one parents perception, that when combined daily, can sometimes paint an inaccurate picture of a child’s life in the classroom. When one understands that the child’s frame of reference is still limited, still growing and is naturally self-regarding, and that they don’t fully appreciate the complexities of education, it’s really daunting to think that each teacher faces so much scrutiny, from so many parents, and so many people, so much of the time.

Maybe if some parents took a more active role in school and at home, a more accurate insight and better understanding of their child’s education would result.

The teacher has dads & moms, who can appear to be disinterested in the learning process altogether, choose to disregard the teacher’s educational advice, and then end up questioning the teacher about why their little darling isn’t passing their classes.

Put some homemaker moms in the mix, who have little formal education, but consider themselves to be the teachers equal on matters of learning, yet can only offer the latest Ellen advice as hard knowledge, to really test the patience of already overburdened teachers.

Add some dads in absentee, or who struggle with a collaborative approach, have arbitrary answers to what and how the child should be doing, and the teacher is left with a complex social puzzle to solve.

Teachers today stand on their own, with less social support from the historical allies such as churches, clubs, and youth groups as they had in the past. They have become the gatekeepers of structure, responsibility, and good citizenry; guiding children threw pubescence to adulthood under increasing scrutiny and little support from some parents.

And finally add a labor dispute, an inconvenienced public, and an inflexible government to the mix of an already stressed situation.

Perhaps given the modern challenges within the learning environment, the trials and tribulations with parents, and the inflexibility and disagreements with government, we should take a moment to reflect and be grateful that teachers still want to be there, to be in play, and be professionals every day.

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About the Author

Jeff Hunkin is a 47-year-old Community Service Worker working with autistically challenged male adults in Vernon. The son of a retired Edmonton city policeman, Hunkin was raised and educated in both BC and Alberta. Hunkin continued his studies of the Human experience for over 10 years, in 7 provinces, 3 states, 15 cities and at least a 100 postal codes.

At times he has known the privilege of materialistic wealth and at others lived in a world of harsh poverty.  He has loved and lost more than most people see in a lifetime, he has been a free, happy and unbridled spirit, yet for a period of time, imprisoned within the depths of depression, all the while studying and observing the human experience unfold before him.

Hunkin's subjects are the very topics we usually discuss in our staff rooms, coffee shops or dinner parties. For whatever reason; being fear-based, being politically correct, or just no mainstream media theatres of discussion, these subjects rarely see the ink of print. HER side, his side, their side, your side, you may not like it, but someone will. Hunkin will take it, talk about it, run with it, roll with it, and see where it takes us all.

If you want to contact Jeff Hunkin about this week's column please e-mail - [email protected]

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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