Google+ Badge

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Our Kids

Hilary Rodham Clinton coined the phrase (An African proverb), "It takes a village to raise a child."  She was quoted many years ago, but her point is even more meaningful today than ever. We live in a demanding, fast paced society where children are exposed to more material, and much of it they see well before they are ready to fully understand it. Simply put: it is downright hard to raise children! The poverty rate is rising each year in our country, and the dynamics of family homes have many faces.

Classroom teachers face an extreme challenge of engaging many students on various levels each and every day of the school year. Every child is coming from a different scenario. Some come with full bellies, others are starving. Some slept in a bed the night before, others left school not knowing where they would lay their heads down. Just as parents/families have the incredible responsibility of raising their children, teachers have the responsibility of preparing kids to become lovers of learning, knowledge seekers, and problem solvers. 

Children represent such innocence and purity. They have their whole future ahead of them, and we often do not praise them for how resilient they truly are! As I reflect on some of the faces of the children I know, it amazes me to consider how strong they have to be to survive in their situations. Some of them handle their situations beautifully, smiling through it and keeping their positive dispositions. Others express frustration, anger, sadness, and fear by acting out, shutting down, blaming others, etc. I cannot blame kids for these could I? Having not experienced much of what they do, how can I judge them, shame them, or punish them for reacting to school this way? 

The conclusion I have reached is this: Hilary is right! None of us are capable of raising or teaching kids on our own! It takes all of us working together to make it happen. These are OUR kids. We claim them ALL. Every person in a community shares a role in the rearing of children. Everyone who works with kids has an opportunity to assist in the efforts of raising a child to become successful. What an incredible responsibility we all have as adults to support OUR kids. After all, isn't that what we would want for the children in our own families? 

Teachers and families, you are not alone. We are in this together. We can raise OUR kids with love, support, collaboration, and consistency. We can teach each other. We can learn from each other. We can be there for each other when challenges arise. A culture of "OUR kids" doesn't happen overnight, but it does happen. It starts with communication and connection. Engaging the community through shared experiences helps everyone have the same perspective of the challenges facing families and schools. By establishing relationships and communicating effectively to foster them, we begin to grow a culture of working together to raise OUR kids. 

As educators, how can we make a more conscious effort to engage all shareholders in this vision of taking responsibility for OUR kids? What ways can we reach out to others, inviting them in to our cause? What can we do this week to communicate with the intent of connecting with families, community members, businesses, and other organizations? 

 Establishing the culture of "OUR kids" starts today. Let's do this!


  1. When we work together, with a positive vision, we are also setting the best example for OUR kids of how they can do the same! Talk things through, really communicate, problem solve, and explore through their own student, teacher, family communities. We are leading by example!

  2. Love this, Beth!! I have the utmost respect for teachers, simply because they are given a room full of unique learners, and somehow manage to help each one reach similar goals. I think parents and community members would agree with me if they had the opportunity to see a real classroom lesson in action.

    How do we engage all? I don't think there is one answer. Each and every one of us (in the school and community) need to do whatever it takes to make sure everyone feels included, safe and empowered to wonder and learn. Our needs, obstacles and resources vary and are ever-changing...with that we much adapt our approach to how we go about connecting with and helping "OUR" children get the most out of their education. I do believe it most always requires school, parent and community leaders to be the ones to extend a hand and open the doors first. It is up to the leaders to ask questions, get to know the community and address needs....and to best do so, requires listening without judgement.

  3. This is why I cringe when (talking specifically about anxiety) I hear phrases like "at least it happens at home so we don't have to worry about it". "Our" kids means family & school 24/7 - and whether we see alignment between home & school or different behaviours between home & school - it lets us see how we might better support "our" kids!

    P.s. I did a happy dance a couple weeks ago when one of my teachers declared that "we" have to get over isolation & work with "all our" kids no matter who the classroom teacher is! A strong SEL community is growing!