Lessons from a Veteran Educator: Janice Rials
Today my friend, teacher Janice Rials, has done me the honor of being my first guest blogger. When I first met Janice I immediately felt a kinship with her. Even though we have very different lives we have something very important in common: We were both raised by strong women with spines of steel. Though our mothers never knew each other (Janice was raised in Chicago, I was raised in Houston) they most likely would have found common ground in their parenting ideas and techniques.
The lessons I learned from my mother I carried into my parenting years and still employ today with my grandkids. The lessons Janice learned she turned into a 34 year teaching career and earned Local School Teacher of the Year for 2018-2019. She has distilled the wisdom and experiences of her career- and her mother- into a fabulous book for parents and educators. There is No Moon at My House is the type of book you will read and reread , highlighting, underlining, and nodding your head in agreement at the profound insights you find. I hope you all enjoy it as much as I did. For more information visit Tandem Light Press and check out her book on Amazon or at Barnes and Noble.
And now, read some of Janice's thoughts in today's blog!
What Brings Me Joy as an Educator
As I enter my 34th year doing what I enjoy, this is what brings me joy:
A New School Year: As I listened from within my classroom there was an eerie silence that came over the hallways just before parents and children entered our building. Then it happened as always- the parents and their children entered the building bringing with them the sound of excitement, joy and hope. As they walked through the halls noticing that the building has been so lovingly cleaned, all the bulletin boards and classrooms have received a new beginning, with the feel of open arms welcoming them back. Some with their new school supplies, they eagerly rush down the hall to talk to their new teacher. They enter the class room with that look of hope for a new beginning no matter what happened in past years. The thing that brings me joy as their teacher is that I am able to nurture their hopes and enthusiasm no matter what their journey has been prior to entering my classroom door.
To my fellow educator I would encourage you to continue to welcome your students with open arms and a new beginning as did your halls and classrooms, unbiased and without prejudice while nurturing the hope and excitement of a new beginning.
To parents I would encourage you to remind your children as they enter this new school that this is their new beginning. No matter what the journey was last year they can and will do great things this year if they put in the effort.
Wishing everyone a Blessed new school year with lots of moments that matter!
How Your Child Can Have A Wonderful Year Of Learning
As Summer vacations come to a close parents find themselves focusing on the new school year ahead. As a parent your main concern may be that your child has a wonderful year of learning. Teachers as well as parents are assigned important missions to assure children success.
As a parent/ guardian your first mission will be to conquer your child’s supply list. As you shop for your child’s supplies this year think about how excited your children are about their supplies. Teachers are just as excited, because you have chosen to provide support of your children’s learning this year. Teachers are very busy also shopping for their students to ensure that their students have a successful year of learning.
I found myself in a conversation about how much money teachers make and how they ask for all these supplies. I kindly asked the following question: What did the classroom look like when they went to the school? They went on to describe what they saw in the classroom, it had lots of colorful baskets full of books, beautiful bulletin boards, every child’s name written on nameplates, special rugs, book boxes for each student, they went on and on about the classroom. I then requested that the next time they went into a classroom or visit the school to keep this in mind. Everything that you see in that class that is not metal or a school issued text more than likely has been purchased by the teacher. Thank You, to everyone that donates supplies to a classroom.
Parent your next mission will be to share your expectations with your children. Now this may sound like a simple task. Have you ever found yourself in this situation? You ask your child to perform a simple task of, let’s say, cleaning the dinner table after dinner. Sounds like a clear expectation, you are so excited that they finished in record time and say to yourself “Finally they did a task without me having to repeat it at least six times.” You are so proud until you turn around to see that the table looks no different except the damp trail that is now circling everything on the table: plates, cups, every silverware, and napkin, now you are ready to just explode. You really can’t because the child did exactly what you asked them to do-clean the table! At no time did you say to clear the dishes on the table.
Your expectations must be made very clear as you send your children off to school. Telling your child to have a good day or to be good are not clear expectations. You then leave the interpretation to the children and we all know it will look nothing like you expect it to look like.
Your final mission will be to maintain communication between home and school. Positive communication between parents and teachers improves student’s academic performance and also allows parents the ability to track their children’s social skills growth. When students know you have a line of communication with their teacher, they tend to be more attentive in school and behavior issues diminish. You must include your children in the communication, but not as a liaison, this can be achieved when you bring your child to parent conferences, trust them to bring notes to school in their agendas.
I have a former student that I taught in middle school that I am still in contact with from time to time. She was a student with great potential but often tested the waters. The one thing that she always says is “I have never heard of a teacher being a parent’s friend and could call them whenever you saw fit.” She always says she was just misunderstood and my reply is always “No we clearly understood you!”. She has grown up to be a wonderful adult. Communication between teachers and parents can make the difference in your child having a wonderful year of learning.
Keep this quote in mind as you move through the coming school year:
Education is a shared commitment between dedicated teachers, motivated students, and enthusiastic parents with high expectations.