The Pros And Cons of Public School

When sending your child to school, there are a lot of options out there, not just public schools. It can be overwhelming to make a decision with so many options, what are the differences between public schools and charter schools? What about private schools? Is homeschool an option for your family? 

Over the next few weeks I am going to break down facts about different types of schools, listing pros and cons and points that may help you better make a decision. For today- let’s talk about public schools. 

Public schools are scattered throughout the nation, typically with boundaries throughout neighborhoods saying which homes attend which schools. Because they are open to the public, they are inexpensive. Usually, only a small fee for registration, if that. 

However, with the boundaries public schools bring, oftentimes it can mean lower-income students are clumped together and higher-income students are clumped together, which can lead to lower diversity levels. This stems from redlining. 

Public schools can create a sense of community for kids because they go to school with the same kids in their neighborhood. They walk together, play together, and go to school together. Another great aspect of public schools is oftentimes they are located close enough to homes that your child can walk or bike to school. 

A downside to public school is the amount of time it takes for new innovation to be adopted into the curriculum. Typically charter or private schools are more likely to bring in these methods before public schools do. 

It can also be hard to obtain a more individualized education because of larger class sizes, many parents can find concerns in not enough time and attention on their student and the help they need. 

Public schools are government funded, therefore the government plays a big role in not only the funding, but the teaching, the policies, etc. 

Overall, public schools have multiple pros and cons. And while some of these points may be a positive aspect to one person, it could mean a negative point to another. The purpose of this article is not to sway you one way or another, but to simply inform. 

What else would you include about public schools that might help a parent make a decision about what type of school they would choose for their children? 

A Book For My Book Buddy

https://honorsgradu.com/10-read-alouds-for-upper-elementary-grades/

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, schools shut down and children started learning from home. Everyone was very focused on making sure kids had the proper technology for at-home learning, and rightfully so. Teachers also worked overtime to set up bags of additional resources such as pencils, notebooks, and more.

But in some homes, especially those of lower-income, there were additional missing resources. Books.

Reading, and the love of reading is so important for children! But one teacher in Nampa, Idaho was set out to change that. She teaches in a low-income school where her students don’t have as much access to literature and were learning from home. So she reached out to family and friends asking for them to become “book buddies” with the 25+ students in her class.

All she asked was for them to send one book a month to the student they were paired with. I had the wonderful opportunity to become one of the book sponsors for this program. I’ve been able to send one book a month to my little friend in second grade. He even drew me a little picture and thank you note back!

I was so impressed with Rachel because she had the books delivered to her house for these students and personally drives around town to deliver each one to their homes.

It’s incredible to see the ingenuity, sacrifice, time, and love these teachers have for their students. What other incredible things have you seen teachers do for their students during the pandemic?

Talking To Students About Current World Affairs

It’s no secret that the United States is going through some historical times right now. A historical election, storming the capital, Black lives matter movements, and all during a global pandemic. 

It’s vital for us as educators and parents to talk with our kids about these events as they happen so that they can understand what is going on in the world around them. But it can be daunting to bring these conversations up in a classroom setting, especially in classrooms with older kids where conversations can run deeper and you never know where they will end up. 

Here are a few tips to be able to bring these conversations up in a civilized way in your classrooms. 

  1. State facts only, no opinions. It’s not our job to sway our students in a political direction, it’s our job to foster a learning environment for them to decide their own political beliefs. 

“Some individuals that identify with the republican party made the decision to riot and storm the U.S. Capitol.” 

“People in the Black community felt like they have not been treated equally with those in the White community, so protests are happening around the nation.” 

Yes, there is a lot of emotion in both of those statements, and your students will likely dive deep into them. However, just remember that your job isn’t to sway their political stance, but foster their education on both sides. 

  1. Be clear about what happened. Especially in the younger grades, they don’t need a lengthy background on what is going on. They need clear, cut-to-the-chase points. 
  2. Validate emotions. Again, emotions will come up and be high in a conversation regarding these events. Their emotions are valid and a natural reaction to the situation, validate them! Even if you disagree! 
  3. Set expectations for discussion and stick to them. Give a gentle reminder if needed. 
  4. Don’t be afraid! It can be daunting, but you never know where the conversations may go! Your students may surprise you with their insight and ability to regulate a conversation. 

Do you discuss political happenings with your kids? What other tips would you include? 

Historical Teaching

When I was in school, my absolute least favorite subject was history. Ugh. Every year I received my school schedule (back when it was mailed to you, not just found online), and would roll my eyes when I saw my history class. It didn’t matter what type of history! U.S. history, World History, Ancient history. Nope. I just couldn’t stand any of them! 

Until one day… 

I walked into my American History class in 10th grade to a teacher that was new to the school. She sat at the front of the classroom like she meant business, and I respected that but also went in with the knowledge that I already hated her class and everything she taught. The first few weeks were just getting to know the classroom and procedures, but eventually, we got into the thick of American History. 

This time the history I was learning was different… I actually cared and enjoyed it. 

No, this couldn’t be right! I hated learning about history! But this time when we got into each different unit, I cared about the people and their background and what they had done for our country. What changed? Had I suddenly become a history guru?? 

Here’s what I noticed. I was caring about the Wild West and the California Gold Rush because my teacher cared about it. She had a light in her eyes when she taught that she genuinely loved what she was teaching, and passed that passion along to us. 

She cared about her students. 

She cared about the content she was teaching. 

She didn’t just recite historical facts to us, she told us stories about history. 

She made me realize that learning and teaching about history and social studies can be exciting and more than facts. It can be full of story telling and looking up to idols, not just memorizing dates and people. 

She also taught me a new way of teaching, that we aren’t there solely to cram information into student’s brains, but to build relationships and have them learn to love the material as much as we do. All because she cared. 

Check out this TedTalk about teaching history in the 21st century.

Let’s Get Behind This #ClearTheList Movement

If you’re an educator out there, please tell me you’ve heard of the #clearthelist campaign. If you haven’t please look into it! If you have, please make a wishlist!! Some background to the #clearthelist idea: one teacher in Texas named Courtney Jones used her social media as a powerful, powerful tool to share her Amazon wishlist with friends and family of different items she would need in her classroom. Which then spread to her sharing the idea as far and wide as she could. 

Teachers spend so much money out of pocket on supplies that are so beneficial to their students. And on top of that, there are so many generous donors out there willing to help how they can. Courtney’s goal was to connect the two, and she has very, very successfully! 

This campaign has gone so viral, even celebrities are posting about it. 

Sometimes, big companies choose one #clearthelist to actually…. Clear the list! Like how T-Mobile decided to help this teacher out. What warms my heart the most is that she turned around and tried to pay it forward to as many teachers as she could. 

What an amazing project started by this teacher! We love innovative thinkers who can use social media for good (for example, have you seen our yearly scholarship?)

Look how excited teachers get over these donations! 

For the past two school years, I have dedicated a small amount of money to donate to other’s #clearthelist Amazon wishlists. I typically donate to friends and family first, and then I choose a stranger from social media to donate to. 

Finding Amazon wishlists to donate to can be so easy for you as well! 

-Ask your friends and family that are educators if they have an Amazon wishlist they can share with you. 

– Do a quick social media search (on basically any social media site) with the hashtag #clearthelist. Read through other teacher’s stories and why they need the materials they do. Then choose one to donate to! 

There are Amazon lists with $3 items, and some with $500+ items. Even just sparing $3 for an educator can make the biggest difference in their classroom! 

Do you have any success stories with #clearthelist you want to share? Leave it in the comments! We would love to hear! 

Graphic by Kelsie Housley

Back To School Fall 2020

I know I just wrote about my blog schedule and that Monday’s are dedicated to past teachers and the influence they had on me/ still have on me. However, I felt like this subject was important to write about and it has been on my mind for weeks and weeks. 

Schools going back in the fall. There are so many politics behind this that I will not get involved in, but I still have been thinking about so many other situations. 

I worry about teachers who are putting their health at risk by going back. 

I worry about teachers who financially rely on this income to support their families and do not have the flexibility to find a new job, especially in this economy. 

I worry about retired teachers and those who have chosen not to go back next year that feel guilty for not being on the front lines as a teacher, but shouldn’t feel this way. 

I worry about the students’ health. 

I worry about COVID outbreaks in schools. 

I worry about the parents’ mental health either with sending kids back to school and the stress that comes with that, or keeping them home and again, the stress that comes with that. 

I worry about the students that utilized school as their refuge from undesirable home life and will not have that in their life. 

There are worries left and right about going back to school, keeping kids home, and all of the inconsistency this Fall brings for us. 

But we do have one certainty we always know to be true- The teachers will show up. They will adapt to online learning, socially distant classrooms, and more. There may be anxiety and stress behind it, but they will show up. It has proven true time and time again, and with my own teacher friends I’ve followed on social media. Most of them have expressed their frustrations and concerns, but at the same time, I see them wearing masks and making their classrooms socially distant. They worry about their students too and how much they will miss if they are learning from home without the proper support. 

How is your school going back in the Fall? What are you worried about and what can you look forward to? 

It’s Summer, Take A Break Teachers!

Whew. 

Who is ready for a good, long summer break after that school year? Is anyone else filled with worries about your students after such a rough spring? Maybe miss them because you weren’t able to say your goodbye’s before you left? Scenarios of next year play out in your head about your past students and how they will do advancing to the next grade, as well as your future students and how you will handle the lapse in the curriculum. 

*deep breath* 

I know it’s worrisome, but we did it. We all made it through. Now, it’s time to relax. I know, it can be hard, but here’s some ideas of how you can (somewhat) take your mind off of school for a time and enjoy your summer break. 

Read a book! No, not your math curriculum book. A book of your choosing that is fun. If you want an easy, fast read with some juicy drama, try The Selection Series by Kiera Cass. It’ll give you a few days of distraction because you’ll be so sucked in it’ll be all you can think about! 

Visit the beach, the lake, the pool, and get in the water! Swim with your kids, your nieces, and nephews, your grandkids, whomever it may be! 

Go hiking, or go for walks around your neighborhood. 

Check-in on other teacher friends. Laugh about the fun times you had with your students, both in the classroom and on Zoom! 

Pick up some new (or old) hobbies like sewing, crafting, biking, sailing, or building. 

Start or work on your Twitter or Instagram, or any other social media! 

Read teacher memes to keep you laughing. 

Take a stroll on a local scooter or bike share, but bring the Clorox wipes!! 

Summer can make or break teachers. We can think and plan, never giving ourselves a break, hoping to make next year less stressful, but it can also do the opposite by not giving us the time we need to check out. This summer especially, given the current circumstances. 

Take a breather. Take some time. Enjoy your summer! Stay safe and wash your hands!