As you know, on Tuesday of next week, we are going to have our first quarter parent teacher conferences. You may also know that for the first time this year, students will participate in these conferences. Students who are ready to do so, will even lead the conferences. They are busy planning for this now.
You may wonder why we are making this change. Simply put, we want students to be the "owner" of their education. If you are the parent of a young student, then you make most decisions for them. As they grow and mature, you will make fewer of their decisions. They will naturally grow into this role. You will be with them to advise them along the way. This is one step in the process of growth and maturity. In the same way students grow and mature in their education. That's why as a parent you increasingly make them responsible for the school work. It's a valuable part of the experience. We want our students to not just be passive learners but assertive leaders in their education process.
At the conference, depending upon their age, they will describe what they have learned, what they expect and hope to learn, and how their grades show this. As students are increasingly able to accomplish this, parents should get accurate reports on their progress from them in the future.
Although students are only present briefly on that day, it's an important part of their education and counts as a school day. I hope this helps explain why we are making this change. If you have any questions about it, please contact me. I love to hear from parents by email and especially in person.
In His Service,
October 6, 2014
There are several ways to look at motivation, and of course many books have been written about it. In this brief blog I'd like to focus on one of the simplest ways to look at this topic, pain or gain. At a later time I'll write more about other ways of thinking about motivation, but this one has been around almost as long as the human race. You can read more about this at Tim Elmore's website http://growingleaders.com/blog/two-greatest-motivators-students/.
Simply put, we do things to either avoid pain or receive gain. Stepping on a nail makes me more cautious when I'm around construction material. Getting a speeding ticket causes me to slow down, at least temporarily. Some insurance companies offer lower rates for avoiding a speeding ticket, and that may cause me to change my driving habit in an attempt to receive this gain. Likewise, I may set a goal for myself and change my behaviors to achieve this goal. We change behavior to avoid pain or achieve gain.
So applying this to students, the question becomes, do you as a parent know what they want to gain and what they want to avoid. Be careful about answering this question, because the answer changes. We may THINK we know, but as our children grown, they are intrigued by new things in life. Watch, listen, and ask them what they want to have. Help them see that it's not always objects. They may want something intangible, such as a hug or a listening ear from a parent, but are not able to express that. Watch, listen, and ask what makes them afraid. It may be as simple as lightning or as unrealistic as zombies. Often though, the fear is how their parents are getting along or that the other kids in school won't like them. Remind them that you can't change other people. You can only change how you respond to others. In fact when we act to exert control over that which we CAN control, our sphere of influence expands. We actually begin to have control over more of our environment. That may be a hard concept to act upon, but most children really can grasp it.
In short watch, listen, and talk to your kids. Get to know what makes them afraid and what they want. Help them understand what they can do to move toward what they want and away from their fear. Help them understand what they control and what they don't. As you do this you will be a real blessing to your children. And last but not least, teach them to pray for the wisdom and strength that comes only from God, our Heavenly Father.
In His Service,