“Teaching kids to count is fine, but teaching them what counts is best.” By Bob Talbert
I mentioned that around the time I was 9 my life drastically changed and I moved to SC. Well, when I first moved here I went to a school where there were ONLY three whites in the entire school (including me.) Now, for the Yankee that I was, seeing nothing but blacks around me was a bit intimidating. Where I came from you never saw a colored person at ALL. It was a bit scary for the blond headed, blue eyed, skinny child that I was. The colored boys had a field day with me. Then I got smart and wore my cowgirl boots to school, and gave one of them a good swift kick where it counted. Of course, I got called into the principals office, but she let me go after she found out why I did it. However, they never bothered me again, and I made darn certain my boots were on my feet as much as possible. (Ladies, boots are more than just a fashion statement, they make great protection.)
Anyways, I failed everything ON PURPOSE trying to get my mom’s attention. I flat out knew everything that was being taught, I’m sorry folks, but northern schools do not play around with making sure kids are up to speed. (At least they didn’t when I was growing up.) Since I did so well on my SAT and ACT tests the school passed me. However, Mom had nothing to do with that, she decided that since I wanted to rebel that I could take the fifth grade over again, but in another school.
That’s where this wonderful story truly begins. I was put in a math classroom, and mind you I love math. At that point in my life I was faster than you could put into your calculator at figuring the answers out regardless the type of problem you gave me. I use to amaze people with being able to figure problems that quick. Anyways, on the second day of school, my math teacher learned pretty quickly that I would disrupt her class because I was bored to death. (Yes, I do suffer with ADD, that’s why I’m constantly usually doing more than one task at a time.) She was a strict teacher, and she would walk around the classroom with a long wooden ruler and dare us to cut up. I was extremely bold and stubborn, and A MOTOR MOUTH! She slapped that ruler on my desk so many times. I didn’t have a care in the world, and I looked at her and it and didn’t flinch. I made mad as steel, and she yanked me out the chair and took into the hallway, and stuck her finger and her face within a few centimeters from my face, and yelled at me, “I looked at your records, and I know what your capable of doing. I also know there is something going on at home that is causing you to act like this. The ONLY person your hurting is yourself. Your education will be the key that sets you free. Now you can get your act together and give me good grades until you graduate and actually become somebody or you can end up in jail.” I started shaking in my boots then literally. My first thought was how in the world did she know what was going on in my life at home? Then my second thought was she was right, if I got good grades I could do anything I wanted with my life.
She found out that using me to help tutor and at times teach the class was as beneficial for her as it was me. That same year this teacher got the teacher of the year award, and I cried with her. She changed my life by being bold enough to risk her job by being so utterly mean. However, I KNEW she cared about me.
From that point on, I worked hard at setting my life up to become a teacher. I was a teacher assistant from the 9th-12th grade, teacher cadet my junior and senior year, was on the Student Activation for Education as the state secretary, and I was a library assistant. I also was a substitute teacher my senior year of high school. I made certain I graduated with honors. I knew teaching was what I born to do. I wanted to teach kids that were troubled. Then I went to USC-Aiken, an amazing college, and started teaching right away, K-8th graders math, science, and computers. I had one student in one of my classes (with their teachers in the room too running their mouths) who wouldn’t be quiet. So, I literally stopped teaching and her and the teachers all got quiet. I’m sorry, I still feel to this day that I shouldn’t of had to stop teaching because they were running their mouths. Well, I got called into my bosses office and got advised that I wasn’t allowed to discipline in any way in those classrooms. I didn’t make a scene, I just got quiet. I gave him my notice and told him I would finish out the semester and that was it.
I see all around me teachers can’t discipline worth a dime. Parents are having to fight to be able to discipline their kids, and to me that’s the biggest reason why kids aren’t striving to succeed. I’m not the world’s best parent by any stretch of the imagination. However, I do make darn certain my boys know that the world doesn’t hand them things on a silver platter. (They are extremely spoiled due to my in-laws being so close to us, but they have learned that when I put my foot down I mean business.) I believe in what my mom did with me, she made me work hard for everything I got. I’m grateful to her everyday for doing that to me. When I went through my first divorce and had to get my licenses back, and a new car and support my daughter and myself, I was able to do it. I don’t look at hard times and give up. I look for ways to make things work, and I work harder if I have to.
Teachers aren’t really able to teach worth a darn in the classrooms. Even private schools, there is issues of teachers trying to control their students. My son was one of the trouble makers, but we HELPED the teacher nip it in the bud. There are to many parents who don’t believe in being mean and harsh to their kids because they were raised up that way, and they didn’t like it. No one really likes it, but in the same token, what are you giving your kids by letting them get away with doing wrong?? What are you giving your kids if you let them believe that they can have anything they want without working for it? Teachers have their hands tied way to much. Then everyone wants to complain about our kids not learning anything in school and they BLAME the teachers. That’s what baffles me! We, as parents, need to look the mirror first and really ANALYZE how WE are raising our kids. Are we raising our kids to respect us and other adults? Or are we raising them to believe that they can get what they want if they cry or misbehave to the point that we can’t take it anymore?? Are we doing to much for them??? Or are we teaching them to be independent?
Some principles that were extremely pushed in the past should definitely make a come back in my book!! The big question is how, when, and who is going to push to make it happen??? Our kids and our future depends on it more than people want to realize.