Yesterday my new job, which is a charter school, welcomed its first kindergarten and first grade classes. The first graders seemed like old pros for the most part and were ready to go (again, for the most part). The kindergartners were a little more apprehensive, but no less enthusiastic. These kids are the kind of cute that you think you only see on TV. However, they are real and they are ready to take on the world, or at least their teachers. It’s an honor to work for a program that is so dedicated to to the future, and building the leaders that will get us there.
I’ll tell you this: kindergartners, and first graders?are a handful. It amazes me that we?don’t pay teachers (and social workers, but that’s another post) tons of money to?teach our children.?Teachers should be up there with doctors and lawyers on the pay scale. I?sit in awe of the educators?who take their jobs seriously and love what they do. No doubt they’re a little nuts for locking themselves in a room with a couple of dozen adorable monsters for seven hours a day, but it’s that good kind of crazy.
My boy will be starting kindergarten next week and I am excited as hell. He has admitted to being sad that he’s leaving the best pre-k EVER though he seems excited about?taking the next step in what I am sure will be an extraordinary life. We told him that?it’s OK to be a little sad and that we were too, but we?are also thrilled about his new school. Life is about stages and moving forward, and that’s what we are going to do – keep it moving.
I’m ready to rock and roll, folks. I have a good feeling about my son’s future, though I must concede that I am biased. He’s a big boy with a big brain and a big heart. He may well be the second black president. Readers, we are about the move into AFRICAN AMERICAN DAD: The School Age Years!?
The school age years, huh? I’m ready for it!
Kinder is a wonderful year…last year when my son started I saw so much growth in him both educationally and internally. Good luck, and strap yourself in…it’s going to be a bumpy ride.
I feel your enthusiasm…Mini started 6th grade this week…feels like we were off to kindegarten just yesterday…I am so proud of how enthusiastically she wakes up everyday ready to tackle her world…and Um, I don’t know how to break this too you, but your little one may be be the third black president…lol…Mini has just informed me that she is running for class president and needs to go in her room to work on her ideas for changing her school…Can a mom be prouder? I don’t think so…Let’s keep up the hard work…
I love your web site. Just found it today. It’s full of heart and integrity.
I am both an educator and a social worker. So please consider the following comments as being “in the family.”
The reason people take doctors (and nurses for that matter) more seriously is 1) they follow procedures or people die, 2) their industry builds on existing knowledge rather than “try this-and-that” in an atmosphere of “out-with-the-old-in-with-the-new.”
If medical professionals deviate too much from accepted practice, there?s a high price to pay. They are drummed out of the profession, or at least seriously penalized (as in law suit; money). Compare that to we educators and social workers who chronically cover for one another and support the ?creative license? to experiment on kids.
As Educators we too often think we should be able to do things however we want without censure. While the relatively new focus on ?research based? is an attempt to correct that, it?s an extremely distorted version of what the field of medicine implemented way before us; Evidence Based Practice.
As far as lawyers and many other professionals who make more money, they can be held accountable for bad outcomes if they didn’t follow known “best practice” procedures. The Bar for example takes complaints against its members very seriously, compared to any of the regulatory bodies that cover teachers and social workers.
Consider: Social workers are IMMUNE from being sued if they make a wrong decision when they come to your house and take your children away (as in Child Protective Services). In the greatest legislated abrogation of civil rights in our lifetimes, a social worker can come and take your children away, and never be held accountable for any damage done if they did so improperly.
Yes, I know there are reasons for that; I?ve been a social worker since before those laws were made. But in my view, those reasons are excuses. And this contributes to the public perception that we can?t be taken seriously. I mean, how serious of a profession can it be if you have to set things up from the get go so that the worker can?t be held accountable i they do their job the wrong way. Just as an aside, statistically the injustice from this kind of action disproportionately impacts minority families.
Nonetheless, a few years ago one of the major social work organizations took a poll among its members and 98% said we should continue to be immune from law suit or prosecution in such matters. You may have guessed I was in the other 2%. I want people to know they can hold me accountable to follow a reasonable professional standard of behavior. That inspires confidence. Would we like it if our doctor could say “I forgot to give him the shot befor the surgery; I was a little stressed that day because of my work load burden.
This post may sound scathing, but it?s just a point of view on one part of our work. I wouldn?t want to be anything else in the world for 5 times the pay. We are right there on the ground floor of making a tremendous difference in the lives of kids and families. Compared to just about any other profession, I see mostly hard workers day-in-and-day-out. I see more heart and caring in educators and social workers than just about anywhere else. And without a doubt, our professions are the homes of the “whatever it takes” mentality.
God bless you all.
Jay Jones, EdD, LCSW