Tuesday, August 28, 2012
New Academic Year, New Opportunities and Challenges
Opportunities abound for both of our children. They will learn new skills and concepts, build, comprehend and maintain interpersonal relationships, practice following directions from adults other than us, their parents, and become more independent thinkers.
At the same time, however, we are acutely aware of the challenges they and their teachers face. In California classes are bursting at the seams due to the budget cuts schools are enduring as our state continues to face the financial crisis that has become the new norm. Our son excelled last year in first grade and is reading much higher than his grade level; he was also identified as "gifted and talented" although don't worry, it hasn't gone to our heads nor to his since we understand what that means (and it doesn't mean he's "super smart" but simply thinks differently than other children at this stage). Despite all of this, he has been placed in a grade 1/2 combo class with well over thirty students. Although his teacher appears ready and willing to differentiate instruction and curriculum within the course —which is a fancy way of saying she has what it takes to create "classes within a class" to meet the needs of her various students—no one can argue that is an easy feat to accomplish. Kindergarten classes have not been spared either and our daughter's teacher must face a classroom of well over thirty eager and energetic little faces most of whom are ready but unable to read.
Despite the challenges, we and millions of other parents of students in public, charter and private schools send our precious offspring off to be educated by others. May our educators realize the weighty responsibility they have taken on and work diligently to ensure our students reach their potential! At the same time may we, the families, parents and guardians, also understand our role in this process and support our children, their teachers and their learning institutions by doing our part as well. Together we can build a brighter future and create the generations that will solve the major problems that confront us as a nation and as a global society.
Here's to a new school year, the opportunities and the challenges!