Sorry I missed a week, notes to parents #2

When ever you get into something new, you do research and get to know your product, Now I know a child is not a product. However, it is very important that you get to know your children. Out of all of the things that I have heard from parents, there is one that really gets to me. Let’s imagine a child curses out the teacher. The teacher calls the parent of the child and explains what happened. Many times the result is that one thing I cannot stand to hear: “I know my child did not do that. They have never done that before!” If we really think about it, everything we do has to be done a first time. Not only that, a parent cannot always be sure of what their child has done previously. A lot of parents think they know their children because they raised them. The truth is that although you may be the greatest influence in their lives, there are other influences. Friends, music, television, movies, school and various experiences are influences on your children as well. It is of utmost importance that you have great communication with your children to get to know them. You may be surprised at what you find.

In addition to an open line of communication, it is important to know your child’s temperament, learning style and their intelligence. These can be found by using the free test that can be found online. The knowledge that you will gain from these assessments can bridge that gap that exists between many parents and their children. It can help you to aid your child in a plan for their future. It will also be valuable for your children’s teachers as they seek to accommodate your children.

Getting to know your children is key in providing a great education for them, but I suggest that you get to know yourself in the process. Take the assessments with your children. It can add to your life and it will show your children the importance of knowing themselves.

Brian J. T. Watts, Ed.S
Motivator, Educational Consultant, Student/Parent Advocate

As promised, notes to parents #1

As promised, I am writing to attempt to bridge the gap between parents and the educators that teach your children. This article includes what I believe to be the first step in parents understanding what is going on in the school system today. It will take some time parents, but I assure you that it will help you to better focus on your child’s education and needs. It is a process that teachers and administrators must go through to be ultimately successful as well.

In order to truly understand today’s education system, you must try not to compare it to the system where you were educated. So many things have changed from the top of the educational change to the bottom. I am not saying that you have to give up the lessons you learned, just that you must realize that things are drastically different even though the classrooms, books and methods of delivery may look the same. In addition, you must also realize that things are changing at a rapid rate.

If you are over 40, you may remember being young and seeing the same toys on the top of the list for Christmas. There were not many changes back then. When changes did come they were few and far between. Nowadays, a toy can be released to the public today and be obsolete in less than a month. The same is true with electronics and appliances. This is comparable to what is going on in education. The changes are coming from the top and I cannot promise you that all of the changes are good for the students. We are living in a new world. Years ago education was a state responsibility and only a federal interest. Now the federal government is dictating many of the moves in education across the country.

You need to know this so you can adequately judge what is going on at your child’s school. Keep yourself educated on what the government is doing in education and you will be ahead of the game of what is happening locally.
Next week we will begin talking about getting to know your child.

Brian J. T. Watts, Ed.S
Motivator, Educational Consultant, Student/Parent Advocate

SOCIAL MEDIA WOES

Social media is not a new phenomena. I remember my first encounters back in the late nineties with Black Planet and Black Voices. I met some really interesting people and I made one good friend. After the new millenium there was a boom in social media sites (2002 – LinkedIn, 2004 – Facebook, 2006 – Twitter, 2010 – Instagram). Today there are more sites than you can possibly belong to or check in one day and although there are many positives, we are experiencing some social media woes.
I believe that it is of utmost importance to reveal and discuss these woes now before they create (or continue to create) anti-social media behaviors. We have to learn to use social media in a way that promotes our society instead of allowing it to be used to destroy.
I attended A. Philip Randolph High School years ago and social media has helped me connect with many of my high school friends and acquantances. It has also helped me reach out to family and friends from college (Oakwood College) and even friends from elementary school (R. T. Hudson) and my old block where I grew up (St. Mary’s Projects). This has been, for the most part, a positive thing. However, there are many issues that are creeping into our lives due to social media. The biggest one being: THE ABSENCE OF SOCIALIZING!
I must admit that as a young fellow I felt that I was a social misfit. I did not always know how to act or what to say. All it took back then was for me to take some time, step back and watch what was going on. I saw how the “cool” guys spoke to the girls they liked (and how those girls responded). I saw how friendships were cultivated and maintained. I saw cliques and crews that lasted and some that broke up almost immediately. I saw disagreements, arguements and fights, but I also saw the healing and/or toleration that resulted. This was meaningful social interaction. We talked to each other and read each other’s nonverbal communication as we listened to the verbal communication. This type of interaction is almost extinct today!
Now I know that in our global society, we cannot all get together to talk. That is understandable, but we have allowed the art form of communication to regress to an unrecognizeable state. People are texting marriage invites and funeral notices. Some of my friends only found out that close friends and/or relatives have died because they saw a thread on Facebook. Relationships are suffering because between our phones and our social media accounts, we do not have time to communicate effectively or in some cases sincerely.
So, like Justin Timberlake did with sexy, I am bringing social back! Why? Because it actually isn’t the social media that is the problem. It is they way we are using it! I know for a fact that my personality is one that doesnt always translate on social media. I have made innocent comments to friends that resulted in them getting angry and lashing out. They totally misunderstood me and my statement.
I have a few ideas that can help us get back to being a social community again. This list is not exhaustive. If you have some tips to add, feel free to do so.

1. When you see friends/family you have not seen in a while greet them with a hug, kiss or the appropriate gesture for your relationship. Don’t just wave because you see them on FB all the time.
2. If you are offended by a post a friend has posted, inbox them or better yet call them. Don’t start a war on a thread.
3. If someone is much more than just a facebook friend and you have their phone number, call them on their birthday.
4. Don’t get involved in twitter wars.
5. If you are interested in someone and they are interested in you…PUT DOWN YOUR PHONE AND STAY AWAY FROM YOUR COMPUTER!!!!! Get some time face to face so you can connect for real!!!! Spend time together when you can and make it quality!!!
6. Get LinkedIn with people for business purposes and nothing else!
7. Realize that there are people watching you on all of the social media sites. Some for good things and some for not so good things. Keep your social media image consistent with your real image.
8. Have real conversations on the phone and/or in person. Texts. tweets and posts cannot always adequately express what needs to be expressed.
9. If you are not interested in a person’s post, pass it by. You do not have to comment on everything.
10. If a post is for a certain group of people and you are not one of them, STAY OFF OF THE THREAD!
11. Call a friend and tell them you miss them. Tell them how much they mean to you.
12. Have a small gathering or reunion.
I am sure there are many more things we could do! Let me know what you think!

Parents, let’s talk a bit first!

Hey parents (and others), I think that before I start exposing you to the things you may not understand about education, we should come to an understanding. At first, I thought about telling you the positives about the upcoming articles. Upon pondering the idea further, I decided to tell you what this series of articles are not.
This series of articles are not meant to embarrass anyone. Although some of the situations may be real and/or apply to your situation, I am not calling you out. I am simply using real life situations to expose a point and create a learning experience.
This series of articles is not an indictment of poor parenting. I am not trying to call anyone a bad parent. I have heard many people say that parenting is an extremely important job but there is no manual for it. I totally agree. On the job training comes with trials and errors. In addition, being raised by great parents does not make you a great parent just like being raised by unskilled parents doesnt make you an unskilled parent. These articles are to offer modern procedures and an understanding of what is going on in your child’s school.
A lot of things have changed in our world. Although school still looks the same on the exterior, there are many operational changes. In fact, some things may be changing while this article is being written.
The goal is to catch you up so you can have a good relationship with the school and an improved relationship with your child or children. I hope you will join us for the ride!