Coaching Our Children for Success in Education

One should guard against preaching to young people success in the customary form as the main aim in life. The most important motive for work in school and in life is pleasure in work, pleasure in its result, and the knowledge of the value of the result to the community.
Albert Einstein

The late 1990’s doesn’t seem as if it was that long ago, but in the world of technology it’s dog years. While it was common for everyone in business to have email, non-business folks hadn’t caught up. Schools were even further behind the technology times and would send notes home the old fashioned way – in kids’ backpacks. Parents would find ‘important’ notes buried in the backpack the last day of school along with crumbs and gum wrappers. I almost expected to find Jimmy Hoffa.

As a full-time working mother, school communication is especially important because you had to be uber-organized to keep it together. Since I often traveled, having the school calendar in advance to keep me informed would help me to be around to attend important school events. But when asking for the calendar in advance; you would think I asked them to split the Atom.

After numerous promises and no delivery, I approached the Superintendent of Schools and asked why we still relied on such an antiquated method of paper notes, and late ones at that, for important schools news while the rest of world was whizzing by. My intention was to create email blasts for parents, without upsetting the current paper delivery method.

Our Board of Education representative, who didn’t quite agree, accompanied me to that meeting and said, “When do we let our children grow up and make them responsible for this information?” I looked at her and said, “Not yet.”

Think of the ways others communicate with our children. The Internet, cell phones, media and marketing messages – parents need to hang on more than ever. Schools should embrace technology and ways to keep us informed, so parents can play an active part in their child’s education. After all, there are many ways to deliver a message.

The ability to inform parents of their child’s attendance, grades and even lateness for classes has been around for a while. PowerSchool is a system that is being used in schools. Parents can learn about grades, attendance and even lateness as it happens, rather than waiting for a progress report or report card. Most parents embrace this enhanced communication while others worry about playing Big Brother. I worry about just the opposite. Surprisingly, some kids like it because they can check on themselves as well, and let’s face it; they are very comfortable with technology. It’s almost as if they expect this.

Parents worry that they will micro-manage their children with this information. That is a choice you make. You would be better served to coach rather than manage. If you manage, you do so for life. If you coach your child, you are teaching them to manage their own education. Isn’t that the objective?

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