Ron Jackson: We all play a role in teaching kids

August 19, 2018

It is back to school time around these here parts. One or two local schools already have begun, but next week, the 2018-19 school season begins in earnest. I think they, as in every person associated with the education of our children, are ready.

The adage “it takes a village” most certainly applies when it comes to educating a child. Typically, we associate the academic growth of children with teachers because they spend the most time and have the most direct influence. However, the village or network that has been given the responsibility of academically and socially directing our children is wide.

Last week gave me the chance to talk to a few local people in the education field. I spoke with some in administration, teachers, support staff, contracted service providers, parents and even a few students. Without fail, everyone said they are ready, prepared and excited for the new school year to start. And there was a consensus in the advice given to the community.

Naturally, teachers are ready. Contrary to myth, they have not been traveling the world since last May when school dismissed for summer. Many have been in training, studying and planning for the new school year. The few kindergarten to high school teachers I spoke with expressed their excitement about the new challenges every new year provides and admitted sometimes teachers might be more nervous than the students. But, we won’t let the students know that. However, they are ready. The classrooms are organized, and lesson plans are intact. All that remains is the anticipation of the bright eyes, big smiles, the shared first day jitters and the hope the community heeds their advice.

Before teachers can teach, students have to be delivered to them. For the majority of students, that challenge is given to the transportation department. Someone has to safely get kids to and from school. That someone would be the bus drivers. They have been trained and retrained. Their buses are ready. Their routes are familiarized.

School bus drivers are generally the first and last person a student interacts with every school day. Their ultimate objective is the safety of every child that steps on their bus, even those who may need a few extra prompts to exhibit proper bus riding behavior. Drivers, too, are ready and also hope the community heeds their bit of advice.

School administrators are ready. They are hopeful all the planning that goes on while school is not in session is enough to provide all the staff and students whatever is needed for a successful year. They, too, hope the community will be receptive to a little advice.

Not surprisingly, some parents are ready for school to begin. Registration is complete. The school shopping is done. The book bags are filled with supplies and are sitting by the front door. Just a few more red Xs to mark on the calendar.

To my surprise, many children are looking forward to going back to school. Of course, it is the social networking they miss most. Seeing their friends was the reason most often given when asked why they are excited about returning to school.

Oh, that little bit of advice to the community the education village imparts is to be supportive, involved and patient. Be patient when the bus driver gives an extra glance both ways before proceeding across the railroad tracks or is waiting on a child that might be running a few seconds late. Be patient and supportive of the teachers and children. Be patient when your child is struggling with new concepts. Support the process, show interest and take an active role. Be a part of the network, even if you do not have children in school.

It truly takes a village to educate. I believe our village is ready. To everyone in the village, my sincerest and best wishes for a very successful school year.

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