Thursday, July 16, 2009

When Parents are More Concerned with Their Cell Phones than Their Children: a Teacher's View

Teachers see just about everything. So did kids, even little ones. It's important for parents to demonstrate that their children are important through their actions. Here's an example of what not to do.

It is not always easy for working parents to find the time to come into school, but when they can, their children are proud and pleased to have them there. For Roxanne’s fourth birthday, her mother and father both came to school to share in her celebration. We typically invite the family to come for about a half hour. That gives us enough time to sing happy birthday, enjoy a special treat, and if the parent wants to, he can read a story to the class.

Roxanne’s father came ten minutes past the scheduled time, and walked into the classroom talking on his cell phone. He didn’t acknowledge the fact that he completely interrupted what was happening in the classroom. Five minutes later, he got off the phone, not even uttering an apology or explanation. We sang happy birthday to Roxanne, and while the children were enjoying their snack, her father read them a story.

Midway into the story, his cell phone rang again. Unbelievably, he answered the phone and proceeded to speak to the caller. He talked for a couple of minutes, hung up and then continued reading the book.

I have no doubt that he was a businessman who believed that his phone conversations were important. Yet, his utter disregard for the students, his daughter, and the teachers was unconscionable. He should have turned off the phone before coming into the room, but if he had some emergency to handle, he needed to explain that and then take the call out in the hall. This man was concerned only with himself and had no appreciation for anyone else. The only thing that mattered was what he needed at that moment, even over his daughter. At four years old, kids already understand where they fit in the pecking order. What kind of lesson was this to teach his child?

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