Teachers must connect with pupils to put them on right path

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Too many young kids, particularly kids of color, are dropping out of school way too early. Our nation never will compete globally when almost half of Richmond County high-schoolers fail to graduate in four years.

Parents must encourage their children to complete high school, which must be a basic step toward a much bigger education. If there’s one thing I hope parents understand, it’s that education matters for your entire life.

As a former educator, I’d like to share some of my thoughts about my relationships and connections to pupils whom I was responsible for educating. It may help many of today’s classroom educators.

When I taught, I felt I needed to be a combination of an overseer, drill sergeant and consultant. Of course, I wasn’t perfect and I did make mistakes, but I encountered situations in which I had to perform those triple duties.

I was convinced that all of my pupils needed to see me perform all of these special and significant roles. I felt pupils shouldn’t have had any false perceptions about my commitment and high standards as an educator.

It was necessary for my pupils to be aware of my character traits so they would be in positions to cope or adjust to these societal mentalities in the real world.

Was I not supposed to have prepared my pupils for the real world? Or was I just supposed to set my pupils up to be ignorant and non-caring about the harsh realities of life?

AS AN EDUCATOR, I was afraid that if I didn’t take on these meaningful roles, I would have allowed easy access to the street pimps, drug dealers, child molesters and the overall criminal elements that negatively influence my pupils’ lives. I had to protect them for the good of themselves and society.

Of course, from all indicators today, it’s apparent that the criminal elements are winning over too many of America’s children. Does this mean that these criminal elements are being better overseers, drill sergeants and consultants than many of today’s parents and educators? I guess this question can best be answered by watching the television news at 11 at night.

I accept that I shouldn’t have been overbearing in these roles, but totally ignoring these roles as an educator would have been damaging and harmful for the future of America’s children.

I wonder: When a young male prisoner is being molested by inmates, is he wishing he had listened to his overseer/drill sergeant/consultant teachers about the right and wrong standards for governing himself in society?

When a young female’s life is being destroyed by drugs and alcohol, and she is prostituted, beaten and demeaned by her street pimp, does she wish she had been more tolerant and receptive of words of wisdom about the proper standards and conduct for becoming a productive member of society?

MANY OF THE pupils I worked with weren’t from rich and upper-class backgrounds. Maybe pupils from these environments were more receptive to having teachers with just consultant mentalities to help them with their troubles. It’s my belief that many of these consultant teachers may have been doing their pupils an injustice.

Many of society’s rich and well-to-do pupils truly have messed-up values, and pose great dangers to our society. If I’m not mistaken, too many of these individuals create mass destruction by shooting and killing large numbers of people in schools, shopping malls, etc. These individuals are just balls of confusion.

It was my belief as an educator that I had to make connections for what worked best. I didn’t have answers that would solve all of the societal problems that my pupils encountered, and I didn’t have answers to solve all of my problems in dealing with many of my pupils.

Also, I knew as an American citizen that my country didn’t have the answers to solve all of its problems. My situation mirrored American society. Through it all, I thought I made a positive impact on the majority of my pupils for the many years that I taught, even if I was an overseer/drill sergeant/consultant type of educator.

In spite of the pros and cons of my educational behavior, I was just doing what a teacher was supposed to do. All Americans should thank God for teachers.

Now it’s time for parents to step up in supporting teachers to help their kids to attain the highest level of academic and social achievements.

(The writer is a former Richmond County public school teacher with more than 30 years of teaching service. He lives in Augusta.)

Comments (14) Add comment
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avidreader
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avidreader 04/14/13 - 08:43 am
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Nice Message!

As educators, we must convince children that they are worthy of our love and respect. And yes, the highly motivated students need equal calculated direction and heartfelt nurturing. All children in our educational system must feel that their teachers care about their present and future lives. It is not an easy task, and there are always a few who are unreachable, but we keep moving forward. Some teachers have a gift for bonding with children, and some do not.

For me, it's an easy task, thank God! For others it is a constant build up of frustration and stress. I am lucky to work at a school where the vast majority of students are civilized and respond to authority, but I am well aware that all schools are not the same. I also work with administrators who vigorously support our efforts. They are not demeaning and egotistical. And once again, I am lucky.

ymnbde
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ymnbde 04/14/13 - 09:02 am
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glorious failure over humble success

every time in the education bureaucracy
this column is racist at its very core, and this paragraph is dangerously delusional.

"Many of society’s rich and well-to-do pupils truly have messed-up values, and pose great dangers to our society. If I’m not mistaken, too many of these individuals create mass destruction by shooting and killing large numbers of people in schools, shopping malls, etc. These individuals are just balls of confusion."

it was my misfortune to have had teachers who believed such nonsense. It was my hard work that prevented me from having to send my child a school with teachers who believed such nonsense.

Perfect example of what is wrong with our schools... perfectly terrifying example.

soapy_725
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soapy_725 04/14/13 - 10:49 am
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Success or failure in education untimately rests
Unpublished

with the student. If it rests with the parent, then the parent must sit beside their child for 12 plus years. If it rests with the teacher, then the teacher must sit beside each and every child for 12 plus years.

The sole purpose of the federal government and its NEA is a self propagating institution. As with our nanny state being god, the teachers have now become the focus of education. Not the students.

Education is a life tool. Not a life!!! Not the end, but a means to an end. Unless of course you are an academic and school is all your know. And you can only function in a school setting.

The school system should provide a safe, orderly facility with qualified instructors in a chosen curriculum. If the students cannot or does not learn, it is ultimately their choice. You can take a horse to water but you cannot make them drink.

The age of segregation in education is over. First it was that the books were old. The school building were old. The neighborhood was old. The teachers at the white schools were better. The white schools were better. The whites had a "head start" because of the parents.

We have faced about every possible roadblock to "equal education" that can be passed. And still we look for another lie as to why Johnny can't read.

Public education is not longer about preparing the young to function in a civilized society. Public education is preparing the young to be slaves of an all knowing, all present, all providing STATE MASTER.

InChristLove
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InChristLove 04/15/13 - 06:29 am
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Maybe I read this article

Maybe I read this article wrong but it appears (to me) that all Mr. Maner is doing, beating his chest on what a wonderful teacher he was, all the while professing how terrible our children (poor or rich) have turned out and how lacking today's teachers are.

Up until the very last sentence concerning parents supporting our teachers, this just appears to be a lot of boasting. My apologies if I read it incorrectly.

dahreese
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dahreese 04/16/13 - 10:28 am
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"It was my belief as an
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"It was my belief as an educator that I had to make connections for what worked best. I didn’t have answers that would solve all of the societal problems that my pupils encountered, and I didn’t have answers to solve all of my problems in dealing with many of my pupils."

Blaming teachers is a copout.

"Also, I knew as an American citizen that my country didn’t have the answers to solve all of its problems. My situation mirrored American society."

And you're supposed to teach "patriotism", "loyality to the country" and "say nothing" about our American leaders who are war criminals and who use the U.S. military like it is their personal little toy for personal and corporate gain.

Thanks, Ed.

Been there, done that.

Darby
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Darby 04/16/13 - 12:19 pm
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"Blaming teachers is a copout."

Not when they fail to teach, which is at least part of the problem more often than not.

And not when they teach ideaology instead of core principles and subject matter which also happens far too often.

For example, the Richmond Academy Social Studies teacher who told his class (My son included) that they were not responsible to their parents because they did not ask to be born. Whatever that means....

BTW, I scheduled a meeting with the teacher and principal and straightened that situation out really fast.

dahreese
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dahreese 04/16/13 - 03:25 pm
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"For example, the Richmond
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"For example, the Richmond Academy Social Studies teacher who told his class (My son included) that they were not responsible to their parents because they did not ask to be born. Whatever that means...."

Not knowing your son's age, and not knowing the teacher, and I was not, and not knowing the exact words used, I have a hunch the Social Teacher was teaching responsible citizenship and self-responsibility.

And, our children, just like us, did not ask to be born.

There comes a time when children see through the bullcrap they have been raised to believe; by their parents, their church and their government - although not all do.

Darby
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Darby 04/16/13 - 04:50 pm
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Nice spin, Dahreese...

And a lot of out of touch liberals would gleefully buy into that destructive, left wing, socialist excrement.

Anyone with more than two living brain cells would see it for just what it is. One would hope to expect better from you.

When confronted, the so-called "teacher", whimpered like a little girl and promised never to go near that subject again.

If he were as smart as you, (just kidding) I'm certain that he could have come up with the "responsible citizenship and self-responsibility" cop-out that you suggested.

I'm of the opinion that about ten percent (admittedly a guesstimate based on personal observation) of those who are paid to teach are more than qualified to do the job.

The rest contribute and give life to the long running survivability of that old adage, "Those who can't, teach."

Darby
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Darby 04/16/13 - 06:16 pm
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"Not knowing your son's age,

and not knowing the teacher, and I was not, and not knowing the exact words used, I have a hunch...."

.
You seem to be admitting that there's a great deal you don't know about my son's situation. I really appreciate your candor.

dahreese
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dahreese 04/16/13 - 09:21 pm
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"And a lot of out of touch
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"And a lot of out of touch liberals would gleefully buy into that destructive, left wing, socialist excrement."

Really? "Socialist excrement?"

Expand on that a little bit.

I've learned not to trust my government.

I've learned not to trust the Church.

I left the conservative church/government beliefs and thinking of my parents.

Show me the error of my "liberal" ways.

Darby
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Darby 04/16/13 - 10:15 pm
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"Show me the error of my "liberal" ways."

Can't be done. I've been trying for months now. All I can do is to rebut your flawed thesis in the hope of diverting other lost souls (No, not speaking in a religious context.) before they are drawn into the web of deceit and denial that you seem to suggest has enveloped you.

I don't "trust" the government either and while I have faith in a power greater than myself, I haven't been inside a church in more than twenty years, other than to attend a wedding.

That being said, I'll respect and never denigrate anyone who lives his or her life according to religious principles. I'm open minded enough to believe that they may just know something that I don't.

Although I don't trust government, I'll keep trying to influence and change it. Neither anarchy or socialism being, even remotely an acceptable solution.

Surrendering our children to the whims and vagaries of an all powerful state, as you proffered is at least as poor a choice. Almost certainly a dystopian nightmare come true.

Really sorry I can't help you.

dahreese
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dahreese 04/17/13 - 08:50 am
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"All I can do is to rebut
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"All I can do is to rebut your flawed thesis in the hope of diverting other lost souls (No, not speaking in a religious context.) before they are drawn into the web of deceit and denial that you seem to suggest has enveloped you."

"...web of deceit and denial that you seem to suggest has developed you (...not speaking in a religious context)"

That would leave my political and societal views.

Where do you see my going wrong?

Darby
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Darby 04/17/13 - 12:41 pm
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"Where do you see my going wrong?"

Guess you're not reading. Might have something to do with that enormous chip on your shoulder.

dahreese
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dahreese 04/17/13 - 03:38 pm
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"All I can do is to rebut
Unpublished

"All I can do is to rebut your flawed thesis in the hope of diverting other lost souls (No, not speaking in a religious context.) before they are drawn into the web of deceit and denial that you seem to suggest has enveloped you."

Your words, not mine.

Are you going to back up what you say with facts or just type to be typing?

Darby
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Darby 04/18/13 - 01:34 pm
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You are absolutely right...

They are my words and you did a marvelous job of cutting and pasting them.

Where is there anything in that clip that I said something specific that requires backing up? If you will point it out, I'll be happy to oblige.

I did say that I'll continue to point out your flaws and misconceptions. Believe me I will. If you think I'm going to attempt to convert you to my views, I'm not stupid. That's something that you will have to do for yourself.

I will, as I said, point out the discrepancies in your position with the intent of preventing others from falling into the same political and idealogical morass you have.

And now (I see it coming.) you will be inclined to challenge me to explain what I mean by "morass" and to state what is wrong with your position, as you have so often before.

Sorry, but as I explained above, that is your job and you will have to do it own your own.

It's not about you, it's about others who ARE open to change.

dahreese
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dahreese 04/18/13 - 01:47 pm
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"I'll continue to point out
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"I'll continue to point out your flaws and misconceptions."

That's what I asked you to do....

There comes a time when children see through the bullcrap they have been raised to believe; by their parents, their church and their government - although not all do.

Darby
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Darby 04/18/13 - 05:46 pm
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"That's what I asked you to do...."

And that's what I have done and will continue to do every time I disagree. Whether you like it or not, or agree with my rebuttal is of zero concern to me.

I seek the concurrence of the undecided, not your conversion.

What you want is a debate without a moderator. That, of course, is not a debate, it's an argument.

Not enough time left in the universe for that.

Darby
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Darby 04/18/13 - 09:09 pm
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"There comes a time when children

see through the bullcrap they have been raised to believe; by their parents, their church and their government"

.
Now, I'm betting there is an interesting story behind that heavily cynical statement. I'm serious. Could even serve as the basis for a vanity press book. Might even be worth reading.

dahreese
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dahreese 04/19/13 - 12:21 pm
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Cynical? How 'bout
Unpublished

Cynical?

How 'bout factual?

Edward Manor (above) asks an important question; "[Am] I not supposed to have prepared my pupils for the real world? Or [am] I just supposed to set my pupils up to be ignorant...."

Do you still believe the religious and political behaviors you were taught while growing up are factual?

Darby
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Darby 04/19/13 - 12:46 pm
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All I see is a validation

of my conclusion. Cynicism permeating every thought and deed.

My parents taught me to believe in Santa. I took the good from their intentions and applied those lessons to my own life. Didn't end up hating them for "lying" to me.

We are all free to pick and choose from the options open to us. What benefit comes from wallowing in misery?

How is that any different, really, from the nut job who stands on a street corner warning us all to "Repent because the end is nigh!"?

Again, this is my advice to others who may be inclined or influenced to see only the evil in our lives. Not directed at any individual.

Darby
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Darby 04/19/13 - 12:47 pm
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As for Edward Manor, he was right

to attempt to properly educate his students. On the other hand, no teacher should be allowed to be the sole arbiter of what is right or wrong in his/her teachings.

That's the perfect formula for losing control of not only our children but our culture and our future as well.

"The road to hell is paved with good intentions."

dahreese
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dahreese 04/19/13 - 01:03 pm
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"We are all free to pick and
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"We are all free to pick and choose from the options open to us. What benefit comes from wallowing in misery?"

That's my whole point.

And what benefit comes from living a lie?

Is it cynical to question the patriotism one was taught to believe, even though there are ample facts to the contrary of the purity of our political leaders and the motivations behind their behaviors?

It's cynical to question the religious beliefs one was taught to believe even though there are ample facts to the contrary?

Some of us chose from the facts we have learned as opposed to the facts we were taught.

And if breaking away from those bonds makes me a cynic, I'll wear the badge proudly.

Religious and political conservatives can't abide teachers like Edward Manor.

He's too liberal (and what he teaches can't be measured on a standardized test).

Darby
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Darby 04/19/13 - 04:49 pm
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"And what benefit comes from living a lie?"

Don't know how to answer that, in that I certainly don't live a lie and don't really know anyone personally who does.
.

"Is it cynical to question the patriotism one was taught to believe, even though there are ample facts to the contrary of the purity of our political leaders and the motivations behind their behaviors?"

No, but it is cynicism of the first magnitude to to question the patriotism of those whose goals are not your own and who have not drawn the same conclusions from life's lessons.
.

"Some of us chose from the facts we have learned as opposed to the facts we were taught."

To one degree or another, we all do that as we mature. Attempting to force our conclusions on others is where we can go wrong. Take what you have learned or believe you have learned and use it to better yourself.
.

"He's too liberal (and what he teaches can't be measured on a standardized test)."

But his failures can be seen down the line in the product he delivers. By then it is too late. Why should parents not be allowed to influence the educations of their children? Should one accept that our children belong to the state as one liberal American politician stated last week.
.

Still don't understand why we keep doing this. I tried to make it clear that I know I can't change your mind and you certainly can't change mine. Getting a bit tired of it, really. It's not at all productive.

We're both wasting our time.

dahreese
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dahreese 04/19/13 - 08:43 pm
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"...his failures can be seen
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"...his failures can be seen down the line in the product he delivers. By then it is too late. Why should parents not be allowed to influence the educations of their children? Should one accept that our children belong to the state as one liberal American politician stated last week."

I'd be the last to agree to turn over my children or yours to the state. But that's what happens except for teachers like Edward Manor who seems to stimulate thinking outside of the box rather than teaching acceptance of the status quo.

And, if you want to see the acceptance of the status quo (the failure of public education and parents down the line) you need look no further than the responses of the conservatives on here regarding their understand and acceptance of conservative politics and conservative religion.

And I might add, the gruel of the AC's "opinions."

"Getting a bit tired of it, really. It's not at all productive.

"We're both wasting our time."

Then, I will waste no more of your time nor mine.

I would not go back to that conservative wasteland I was raised to accept even if I could.

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