Teachers make great impact

Published 10:54 am Tuesday, September 11, 2012

By CAM WARD / Guest Columnist

School is back in session and that signals a lot of work for parents, kids and most of all, our schoolteachers. As parents, we prepare each day for the rush to get out the door, and there’s the sometimes-unpleasant task of riding herd to make sure homework is done and projects are completed.

One important assignment for us as parents is to get to know the teachers who are charged with giving our children the tools they need to be successful down the road. As parents, we must remember that it’s essential to become acquainted with the classroom teachers whose good deeds and often-needed tough love sometimes go unnoticed.

The challenges of the teaching profession have changed dramatically over the years—and sometimes, not for the better. With the growing number of one-parent families and chaotic households, teachers often become role models for young boys and girls who lack an authoritative figure in the home.

Unfortunately, in schools in some of our communities, teachers deal with challenges that never existed just a generation ago. In addition to drugs and the rise of cell phones, teachers today have to think about lockdowns, hostage situations and even death threats.

Building relationships with teachers is important for a number of reasons. First, it signals that parents care about the quality of their kids’ education, something that educators say is lacking today more than ever before.

Second, it opens the lines of communication so that parents learn before it’s too late that their child is not proficient enough in one subject or another to keep up. Third, it can prevent potential behavioral problems.

Let’s face it — teachers don’t enter the profession to become rich. They do so to work with young people in the hopes of making a positive difference. We often take their devotion and competence for granted.

If parents become involved in our children’s education, we become the support systems for the teachers, making their jobs much easier and taking the performance of our kids to a higher level.

So, when you get a chance, get to know your children’s teachers. Thank them for what they are doing to prepare our loved ones for a more competitive and complicated world in the future.

Cam Ward is a state senator from Alabaster.