This is an open letter to parents, many of whom are now thrust into the role of teacher. Welcome to my world. I have been an educator since 1976 and have taught ages from three to eighteen, both regular and exceptional education. Here is a little advice I will call “14 Things Every Parent Should Know About Teaching.” Parents, you can do it!
1 “Loving and kind” – always. If the teaching experience is pleasant, the brain will absorb information at its maximum rate.
2 “Do no Harm” Unpleasant educational experiences drive children away from whatever it is you are trying to teach.
3 “Whatever else you do, don’t be boring!” Make it interesting. Boring is the breeding ground for self-entertainment (mischief.)
4 “Reward Effort” – if a child is trying their hardest, that is all you can ask of a child. It doesn’t matter if they don’t “get it” yet.
5 “Success Breeds Success” If a child is floundering, back up until you find their competence level. Start from there and build up. It erases needless frustration.
6 “Don’t punish mistakes, correct them” Punishment produces avoidance, plus a mistake is a window into a child’s thinking process.
7 “The power of patience” Patience will allow a child to struggle in a pleasant atmosphere until they get it right.
8 “Forces at play on the child” What is a child’s self-view? Find a deep, positive view embodied in “what do you want to be when you grow up?”
9 “Teacher’s self-view” It is my job to get you there. Children will actually accept discipline if they understand where it is coming from and its purpose.
10 “Positive Discipline” Go to their positive self- image. “I know you are going to be a great firefighter and save lives when you get older, but we can’t have this” and then address the problem.
11 “Anger vs disappointment” Anger pushes a child away, disappoint pulls them to you.
12 “Make it real – the power of relevancy” Attach reading, math, etc. to their career goal and they will learn it much quicker.
13 “Is it “I can’t” or “I won’t?” Some children have learning disabilities. This becomes a very relevant question.
14 “Make a game out of it” Children learn quickest and retain longest if it is fun. And parents, you are definitely allowed to have fun with your children. - Bill Hoatson, author of “Lessons Learned the Hard Way: 16 Things Every Teacher Should Know,” firstname.lastname@example.org, www.childachievement.com