It's parent/teacher night tonight at my son's school. He is in grade 8. The kids all meet outside the school and play. The parents meet with the teachers and worry about the children's behaviour in class and their academic performance.
My part in this process is the same every year. I meet briefly with the teacher and tell him or her that I will support every reasonable disciplinary measure necessary and that if there is even the slightest problem, whatever its' nature, I want to be the first to know. How could I act otherwise?
As the husband of a teacher and a friend of several other teachers, I know that the biggest problem in schools is the parents of the students. Many parents seem to think that their children are perfect, incapable of causing the slightest disruption and academically brilliant too. Other parents fail to grasp the importance of learning and seem to think that hockey practice or yodeling lessons are more important than homework completion.
We live in an increasingly complex world. We need to encourage our children to learn. We must support the teachers who are struggling to manage and educate too many unruly and distracted children. If we don't, the kids are going to end up in trouble and/or flipping hamburgers as a career.
Our schools aren't perfect. They never have been, even in the 'good old days' when I went to school. Teachers aren't perfect either. They are human beings just like the rest of us, who not only have their own children to raise, but ours too. They see our children more than we do. They are charged with educating our little darlings, when the kids would much rather be playing outside. They have to teach subjects that many parents deem to be irrelevant. They have little power to discipline anyone and no power at all to get kids to do what they have no interest in doing. Parents who have the 'kids will be kids' attitude towards unruly behaviour are being irresponsible. One trouble-maker in school can keep an entire class from learning anything.
Whatever problems I might have with my son (thankfully very few, so far) now, or into the future, I don't want to pass on to anyone else. My child has no right to keep your child from learning.
Someday, our children will either run the country or pump gasoline for those who do. It is our choice, as parents. There is nothing wrong with pumping gasoline. I worked as a gas jockey myself, in my distant past. We just have to make sure that our children have the option to choose their career path. A good education is part of that.