Photo Credit: The White House
We often think about what more can teachers do to help our kids in the classroom but what about what more can we do as parents to help teachers? During a recent women's online summit at the White House with Dr. Jill Biden, the wife of the vice president and a full-time teacher herself, and the four finalists for the National Teacher of the Year title, one of my reporter colleagues asked that very question. What we got is a list that I find invaluable and hopefully you will too. After all, we all want to do what's best for our kids, and how great to hear from some of the top educators in the country about what they think we can do to help our kids thrive in school.
What Can Parents Do? -- Celebrate Diversity
Dr. Jill Biden: "I would say promote and understand diversity...Coming from a community college, I see students from all over the world, and I think if they are respectful of other people and their cultures, I think if you pass that on to your child, I think that's really an important lesson."
Don't Limit the Possibilities
Jeffrey Charbonneau -- Winner, National Teacher of the Year and 2013 Washington Teacher of the Year: "Don't limit the possibilities for your own child. I had some parents who would email me and would say, 'Is my son really ready to go into chemistry?' Well, why not, why wouldn't he be ready. Let's try it, let's see what happens and most of the time, they're already ready. They just have these preconceived notions of things they might not be good at but they never really tried. Allow your student to try those new opportunities in education, allow them to have that unlimited potential, and second to that, when the going gets a little rough in class, convince them they have the confidence and ability to continue."
Less Emphasis on Grades
Rhonda Holmes-Blankenship -- National Teacher of the Year Finalist and 2013 Maryland Teacher of the Year: "Foster a love of learning, not so much emphasis on grades...Too many high school kids, they're almost programmed, 'Just tell me what I have to do to get the A.' I want kids who come in and are excited to learn and take on something that's challenging because it's fun and interesting and they'll actually learn."
Hug Them Every Day
Heidi Welch -- National Teacher of the Year Finalist and 2013 New Hampshire Teacher of the Year: "I would say...give them all the support you can...Some of (the students) don't have it at all and I didn't, so seeing that need...I just want to take their parents and say just give them that love and support...and with all of that...they will have the confidence and strength to go forward and make a difference in their own world...Hug them every day."
Help Students Learn From Each Other
Alex Lopes -- National Teacher of the Year Finalist and 2013 Florida Teacher of the Year: "Exposing your children to cultural...diversity...so that we can build a big community of learners, so that we don't waste time preventing bullies...We can get our students to learn from one another and with one another...so the students take ownership of their learning...and then it becomes a true community of learners."