Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Time for School: Who Will You Mentor?

When I was a classroom teacher, I always smiled a little bigger when both parents walked into the room to sit down for a parent conference. My bias was that it was a small symbol of just how important the child's education was to the family. Clearly, this is not universally true because with two teachers for parents, there were inevitably parent conferences that one or the other of my parents had to miss depending on what was going on in their school. Nontheless, I continue to get the warm feeling when I see both parents visible for their child(ren) when it comes to their education. Today I went to school with my little guy for the welcome back half day at his day care, and it was cool to see the number of fathers engaging with their kids on the playground while dressed in three piece suits. If you've ever been to the playground with a little one, you know that that means sand, wood chips, shredded rubber, or some other material meant to make falling down not so traumatic, and here were a number of dads in their business attire and wingtips having no problem riding the see saw, playing house, and drawing with their little ones.

The question that arises for me is what happens to the kid who doesn't have any of that support for their schooling? Who has their back? Our little guy is lucky that he has two parents with all kinds of degrees who can make informed decisions about the direction of his schooling and hold him fully accountable when he slips up. But more and more I think about the millions of kids who don't have that. I can't watch CNN or MSNBC without some pundit referring to graduation rates in urban areas, and more specifically male minority students. So I have resolved to use my skills not only on my son, but on any other kid with whom I come in contact who needs help navigating the educational road, which for minority males in particular, is wrought with landmines and pitfalls. With this post, I make the call for everyone to consider who they might extend their hand to. No one Superman is going to save all the inner city and suburban minority students who struggle to graduate. It will take the effort of many samaritans willing to reach back and share the lessons they have learned and the resources they have accumulated, both social and financial. It is easy to sit in your corner office, or suburban home and shake your head about the behavior and values of some of today's youth, but unless you are willing to do some of the work to fix the problem, then it will only continue to get worse.

1 comment:

  1. "How will they learn without a teacher?" Thanks for the call for all of us to give back when we can.