Friday, November 20, 2009

Self-Advocacy

Why can't students advocate for their own needs? One student feels I don't like him, so dad comes in to confront me. Even though his son isn't following my clear instructions, he felt his son deserved a higher grade. Another young lady misses quite a few days of school, takes initiative to get some missed work, but doesn't complete it in the time frame I asked for. She doesn't earn a very good score on a quiz, so dad wants comes in to tell me I should fix the problem.
I am a reasonable teacher. If a student feels like he or she has a reason to complain, he or she should take ownership and come talk to me first. If the problem remains unsolved (meaning my answer is unreasonable), then mom or dad should get involved.
I'm already teaching toddlerTate how to self-advocate. Shouldn't a 14 year old have those skills?

UPDATE: I'm not the only one! See Joanne Jacobs.

6 Comments:

At 2:28 AM , Blogger Urban School Teacher said...

Absolutely! We do so much for them already but they seem unwilling and/or unable to do things for themselves. I am concerned about how my students will cope once they leave and are out and about in the world, without the false sanctuary of the school environment to protect them.

Yes, it is annoying and frustrating when the parents involve themselves unnecessarily, particularly when it would be easier for the student - whom you thought you knew well enough - to just have a word him/herself.

 
At 7:51 AM , Blogger HappyChyck said...

...and sometimes the students aren't really the ones who have the problem. It started with the parents and the kid says something about being too scared to talk to the teacher about something they didn't care about anyway.

I agree, though, it would be so much better if students would take responsibility for their own educations and advocate for themselves.

 
At 8:04 AM , Blogger Beth said...

You'd think the student would be able to come and talk to you about it, but I agree with HappyChyck. The students probably go home complaining, but with no intention of doing anything about it and then when the parents see the grades, they take out their child's lack of self application on you.

 
At 11:25 AM , Blogger Polski3 said...

Helicopter parents....my mother-in-law was a university counselor; she had parents calling the univ. counseling office to "change my (son/daughters) schedule because professor X (is mean to her/him, doesn't like him/her, gave him/her a poor grade on a paper or test.......).

Enabling parents like these are a ban on society.

I also love it when parents don't even talk to you, the classroom teacher, about their child's effort/progress/etc. in your class, but go straight to the principal.

And later, parents wonder why Johnny/Susie is 30 years old, jobless and living at home and wanting money to go party with their friends, or to pay their cell phone bill!

 
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At 10:54 AM , Anonymous K. Murphy said...

I agree. As a student my parents always made me go to my teachers if I had a problem, and then they would go talk to them if the problem didn't get solved. I feel it helped me in the long run because now if I need something or have a question I feel confident going to a teacher. As a student it was annoying to me when parents would come in all the time for their students. I feel like it made the students look incapable. I feel that self-advocacy is a life skill that many students need to learn.

 

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