Tips for Teachers in Elementary Education

Like all teachers, I look forward to the new school year being one of great triumphs in my classroom. Yet I know within a short time, I’ll feel somewhat like a hypocrite, trying to instill respect, integrity and a strong work ethic in my Grade 2 students while knowing that there are forces in our world that teach them otherwise.

The culprit here is the media and mass entertainment, which have come to glorify the criminal, the absurd and the ridiculous. When I was young, watching television, listening to music and viewing sports were entertaining diversions, not the child-rearing devices they have become. In all too many homes, it is the mass media that shapes our children. It tells them what to think, how to think and when to think, and these days the prevailing thought is “Anything Goes!”

The commercials have become disgusting, a growing number that uses “acceptable” foul language and not-so-subtle sexual inferences to sell their products. See a pretty female, young or old, advertising a product and you’re camera shots that compromise her private parts and her privacy. Listen to an urban-type commercial (code name, inner-city) and you’re sure to hear some cursing.
Meanwhile, we teachers try to teach our girls that there’s much more to them than sexuality. We also preach to all of our kids that using foul language is wrong.

Popular reality shows like “Survivor,” “The Apprentice,” and “Big Brother” sells the message that it’s okay to use deceit, sex, manipulation, backstabbing and overall meanness to get ahead. Heck, “The Real World” and “Surreal Life” loves to show their cast members getting drunk and seeking sex from anybody.
Yet, we teachers are supposed to sell kids that success and self-esteem come from adopting such virtues as honesty, kindness and self-control.

Hey, let’s take a so-called “family program,” 7th Heaven. This program features some of the most selfish, self-absorbed children in the world. In fact, the youngest daughter (from 9 to her teen years) is allowed to backtalk, get fresh with and lie to her parents without any repercussions. People speak to their pets nicer than she speaks to her parents, teachers and older siblings, but it is okay because Ruthie is precocious and mature beyond her years.
Meanwhile, teachers spend each day trying to instill kindness, respect, sensitivity and love in our students.

Does crime pay? It is if you’re rap singer R. Kelly, against whom there are tapes displaying acts of sexual improprieties with underage girls. Somehow Mr. Kelly is not in jail and his career continues to blossom. Meanwhile, educators teach child assault prevention classes, selling them on the premise that such behavior is morally and legally wrong, and pedophiles will be swiftly punished.

Adding to these woes are parents who’ve been brainwashed, courtesy of TV shows and movies, into believing that it’s more important to be a buddy than a parent to their offspring. Many have become scared into believing that any harsh discipline, whether it be an appropriate spanking (like the old days) or grounding, will be met by a visit by some social services worker. Other parents have allowed themselves to believe that any of their children’s desires must be met immediately. They have bought the notion that to say no is to be a bad parent.
I won’t give up, but there are days when I wish…….Oh well, that isn’t going to happen. Have a great start to your school year.