I want my daughters to be successful---personally, educationally, and professionally.
That sounds like a boring statement of the obvious. It is.
What's not so obvious is how to achieve that. There are many obstacles: personal foibles (mine and theirs), a larger world to work within, and so forth.
The key to achieving goals successfully is to break them down into realistic, smaller parts. We all need to feel a sense of completion and accomplishment. It motivates us, keeps us engaged. So I'm focusing on the here and now: school.
How can my kids be successful in the classroom?
As I researched factors that contribute to success in the classroom, I ran across a lot about assertiveness, primarily assertiveness with humility.
Ah ha, I thought, I'm not surprised.
But I am worried. Why? It's because of the feedback I consistently get about Patience from teachers.
I'd like to think that each and every teacher my daughter encounters is in the classroom out of a love of children and teaching and will encourage my daughter to love learning by supporting her as she is.
That's a fairly high---and unrealistic---expectation.
We're all biased with preferences. Some teachers simply will not like some kids. They'll be drawn to others. They'll feel a bit ambivalent about the others. I think my daughter Patience will more often than not fall into the third category.
As one teacher explained to me, kids like Patience are simply enough: smart enough, well-behaved enough, motivated enough, works well enough on her own, is self-disciplined enough, and so forth.
Although that sounds fairly positive as endorsements go, and appears to demonstrate that we've got a pretty good kid, it actually concerned me because what I heard was that my daughter is the kid the teacher doesn't need to pay any attention to and is the kid who just might slip through the cracks.
I imagine my daughter Patience will continue to be liked enough by her teachers, as she has been. I don't think she is overlooked, but I also don't think she stands out. Patience-at-home and Patience-at-school differ in many ways. One teacher assessed her as having "a quiet confidence that you might easily mistake for timidity or insecurity if you didn't pay close attention."
Close attention is exactly what I'm looking for. I'm Patience's best advocate, so I'm going to do what I can to foster the traits in her that will help her succeed in the classroom, but I also want to keep the bigger picture in mind.
What traits help children succeed in the classroom?
I suspect that the two I keep running across---parental involvement and assertiveness with humility---are the keys.
Will the traits that help her succeed in the classroom help her overall in life?
That's a bigger question, I think, than it appears on the surface.
I'd love your feedback about how parents should be involved in the classroom, how their involvement can help a kid succeed, and what types of kids are successful in the classroom. (Especially teachers and involved parents!) How does assertiveness fit in to this? What is appropriate assertiveness, in the classroom?
And in keeping with the theme emerging this week, this week's Hump Day Hmm is about assertiveness and gender politics. Take any angle you like, from school, to personal situations or professional situations. Discuss your experience, or tackle a public figure's experience. You guys had over thirty well-thought out and intriguing comments to yesterday's post...I'd love to see you expand on those ideas. Author Mom With Dogs, you who challenged us to turn the notion on its ear? I especially hope to hear from you tomorrow. :)
Next week...we're going to tackle the notion of free speech in writing, particularly blogging, considering that court cases are considering it fair to limit free speech on blogs and are definitely willing to use your words against you.
The following week, courtesy of Angela at mommybytes, "...describe an incident where you or someone was wronged, in what would normally be considered outside of the social norms, and how you reacted, how you wish you reacted and what is possibly the best way to inform these idiots that they screwed up if that is even possible." (Sorry it's a couple of weeks out, Angela! I already had this week's in mind and had promised the free speech topic a week or so ago. But I love your idea.)
Copyright 2008 Julie Pippert
Also blogging at:
Julie Pippert REVIEWS: Get a real opinion about BOOKS, MUSIC and MORE
Julie Pippert RECOMMENDS: A real opinion about HELPFUL and TIME-SAVING products
Moms Speak Up: Talking about the environment, dangerous imports, health care, food safety, media and marketing, education, politics and many other hot topics of concern.