Tag Archives: kid

Parents Talking To Teachers Talking To Parents

Parents and teachers want what’s best for their students.

The problem comes in when we try to define best.

Is it happy and adored by all around him? Or is it buckling down and applying herself?

This lack of specificity simply showcases how vast can become the chasm between parents and teachers when no one can communicate effectively. Which is where the New York Times‘ parenting and moming blog, The Motherlode, comes in. The blog ran a couple of columns last month about what parents want teachers to know and what teachers want parents to know. Not I’m bringing them all together so you can know.

The first thing teachers want parents to know is that their children are more capable than most parents think.

Despite all evidence to the contrary, your children do not need your help tying shoes, zipping jackets, sharpening pencils, packing their backpacks and lunch, or any of the million other tasks they expect you to do for them every day.

In addition, it’s all right to pause a while before giving feedback to your child. Let the little dude figure out on his own if he did something right or wrong. He’s going to need to rely on himself eventually, so help him start out right.

I’ve said before that kids lie. A lot. I’m not the only one who thinks so. Teachers are offering to not believe the little dudette about everything that happens at home, if you parents won’t believe everything she says happens in class.

When your child comes home and claims that the teacher screamed and yelled at him in front of the entire class for his low test score, try to give his teacher the benefit of the doubt until you’ve had a chance to talk to the teacher about it.

These last two seem to go together. Teachers want to remind parents that children learn from what parents do more than what they say. Parents also need to show that making a mistake isn’t a sign of weakness, but a sign that you are willing to try new things and recognize it might take a while to get better at them.

On the other hand, parents have a few words for the teachers as well.

For starters, parents want teachers to tell the truth. I know it goes against everything teachers learn about dealing with parents, but we (and I include myself in here most definitely) want to know what you really think of our kid, what he’s really doing in class, how he really fares during lessons. Don’t sugar-coat it. Tell us how it is, then we can work together to help our little dudette achieve.

Here’s something most kids will complain about: Homework. In this case, though, these parents have a good point. A lot of times, teachers seem to forget that they’re not the only one assigning homework to the young dudes.

If parents get home at 6 with their kids, and homework requires a half-hour of whining, hand-holding, cajoling and general disruption to the family peace, that seemingly quick and easy 20 minutes of homework in a third-grader’s folder or an hour in a seventh-grader’s backpack robs the entire family of time together, dinner in a relaxed setting and a calm bedtime.

Finally, this last point goes hand in glove with the previous point. Parents would like teachers to keep in mind the big picture. Understand that students are taking classes in more than just your subject so talk to the other grade-level teachers before handing out that massive assignment that’s due on the same day as the term paper and the math exam.

You’d think that parents and teachers would understand the importance of communication, considering that’s basically what each must do with the kids every day. Still, it doesn’t hurt to undergo a bit of a refresher every now and then to make sure we’re all on the same page.

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Sunday Serenade: My Boyfriend’s Back

Well, not my boyfriend, understand.

Just, you know, in general.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Look, we’ve just escaped from Valentine’s Day (well, most of you, I guess. Lucky dudes.) and I thought I’d celebrate with the original song that tells the story of a woman, unfairly spurned, who takes her revenge by sicing a bigger kid on a smaller kid and saying kill.

“My boyfriend’s back and he’s gonna save my reputation.”

Yeah, because nothing says that your girl is pure, chaste and true than whipping ass on some random dude.

Man, the 50’s were a strange place. Am I right?

Anyway, it’s a short song by The Angels.


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Dude Review: Dhalgren By Samuel R. Delaney

Gravity’s Rainbow by Thomas Pinchon is one of the most difficult books I’ve ever tried to read. There are those who compare it to Ulysses by James Joyce in that the path does not follow a very linear narrative and the reader must work to even come close to understanding what’s going on.

I, however, am not one of those who compares those two books. To me, Gravity’s Rainbow most closely resembles (in spirit, alone, certainly not in plot or character) Dhalgren by Samuel R. Delaney.

Samuel R Delaney is one of the greatest living masters of the science-fiction novel, having written award-winning stories like Babel-17 and Dhalgren.
The man can certainly rock a beard, yeah?

One of American science fiction’s greatest living writers, Delaney has created masterwork after masterwork, each more controversial than the last, each examining racial, sexual and personal identity and how each relates to the outer society.

Often described as the most literary of science-fiction writers, Delaney isn’t fascinated by the economic impact that instantaneous, inexpensive teleportation would create. Instead, he’d rather look at the different ways in which the new technology allows men and women to indulge their more. . . slippery. . . impulses.

A man fascinated by the mechanics of the physical act of sex and the emotional aspects of love and hate, Delaney is one of those rare authors who can define or create a genre simply by going ahead and writing whatever the heck is in his head that day.

I’ve long meant to go back and try and read Dhalgren again, having run up against a brick wall the last time I attempted a read through. (Hey, I was in my teens and a callow youth. Gimme a break.)

So imagine my joy when I found out that I could get one of the first electronic copies of Dhalgren, made available through the good folks at NetGalley, which is a place where publishers can give out advance copies of their book in return for an honest review.

I got the book and the review is coming in just a second. After this, in fact. A quick plug that Dhalgren  and eight other Delaney classics are now available for the first time as electronic books, including the Nebula Award­-winning Babel-17, as well as Delany¹s Hugo Award-winning literary memoir, The Motion of Light in Water,  from online booksellers all over the world.

So. Dhalgren. This was a difficult read when I was younger. That, at least, hasn’t changed. Full of digressive runs and almost stream-of-consciousness narration, Dhalgren tells the story of the Kid, a mostly unknown ambisexual man, with very little memory of his past or his identity, recently arrived in the city of Bellona.

Bellona is located in the geographic center of the United States. The book opens some time after an unspecified . . . something happens that drives away most of the citizens of the city, leaving behind only madmen, criminals, the deliriously inane and the Kid.

As with so many young people, the Kid is searching for answers to the perennial questions of “Who am I?” “Why am I here?” and “What’s the point of it all?” Who, at one time or another, hasn’t asked those questions?

It’s possibly one reason that this book has such a demented pull on the minds of so many people. Despite the difficulty in reading this dense, interweaving narrative, there’s something about it that keeps drawing me back to it.

I did get through the end, although it wasn’t easy and I know I didn’t get from the book everything I should. The last part of the book consisted of “found texts,” excerpts from other texts, the equivalent of footnotes and other variations on traditional narrative take away whatever sense of temporal progress that had been gained earlier.

Dhalgren is without a doubt one of the most ambitious books published in many, many years. And, while I’m ready to admit to you dudes that it could be just me, I’ve the feeling that Delaney might have reached for something a bit to far for him to grasp this time.

Still, it’s not like I felt my time wrestling with Dhalgren was wasted. It wasn’t. I eventually made my way through Gravity’s Rainbow and managed to learn a bit about it with each attempt.

I have a feeling Dhalgren is going to be my next literary obsession, a book that I will return to and do battle with, over the next few years. It is a battle I anticipate with a great deal of excitement.

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