The Extra Baby & Why Children are Better Than Adults

The Title One school where I work had Open House today. It amounts to registration and meet your teacher day.

Everything went without a hitch, except of course for the parent-initiatied incident of the “extra baby.”

At one point, a family could not get their pram up the stairs, so they rolled it into a classroom near the bottom of the stairs and disappeared for 30-40 minutes. Luckily, the teacher there is a loving mother herself, and although rather surprised to find an unannounced 6-month-old awake and crying, carried the baby around, soothingly, until the mystery was solved.

As the building filled up, I loved it. Schools without children are just tombs of directionless souls, bumping into one another, with no other purpose than to get ready for their purpose. “Purpose,” we learned in our weeks of not having one (or at least getting ready to have one), is critical to happiness. Well, in retrospect, THAT explains a lot.

But the kids were back today. The directionless souls came alive and focused. Hugs were given and received – much more so than when the staff got back together. It’s not that we don’t love one another–we do.

It’s just that we all share a common trait. No matter how much we might love our co-workers, our husband, wife or soul-mate. We all know, down deep in our hearts, that children are just better than adults.

This realization came to me during my first interview to become a teacher, six year ago. When asked by my interviewer why I wanted to spend all day with children instead of adults. I said, almost to myself, “Unlike adults, the personality foibles of children, are rarely self-inflicted.”

Language Barriers and Parent Involvement

I have a diversely populated class. Many of my students’ parents speak little or no English at home. I can see they are interested in their student’s progress and would provide more support for their child if language were not a barrier. What are some options for enlisting their help with their student or in the classroom?

A: Some options:
• Find a “parent buddy” who is fairly fluent in English, is comfortable helping an adult, and speaks the same language to serve as a resource. They do not have to have children in the same grade. This person could help acclimate your parent to homework and school routines, translate or even volunteering in the classroom.
• Meet the parent with a translator to “break the ice”. Maybe your student or an older student in the school could help translate if an adult isn’t available. You would want to be sure you aren’t discussing anything confidential about the student. Limit this ice-breaker to small talk. This first meeting could be a great investment in the rest of the year
• Using a “buddy parent” or the student to help with language you could have a parent training demonstration for parents who would be willing to file informational flyers that get sent home from the school, copy materials, create folders, file books, etc.
• Find a way to have your Back to School Night materials translated in your major languages. Keep the text simple. A college or high school student may be able to do this as a service project at no cost to you. Your city, county, or library may also be good resources for translation services.
• Remind parents that their first language is important to maintain at home. Students who can speak, read, and write in more than one language have great educational and employment opportunities as adults.
• Good luck!