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Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2016

School bells are ringing for area's children

Wednesday, August 14, 2002

The following column is for adults only. Do not let children read this column! OK folks, you can keep it a secret no more. School starts tomorrow in much of our area and relief for parents is on the way. Remember the bright promise of summer in May when those long, lazy days ahead looked like they'd never end? Well they're ending tomorrow and it's the teachers' turn.

There are a few things parents should remember as the school year begins.

First, teachers are not babysitters. They are educators. The lessons of personal responsibility should begin at home and gain reinforcement in the schools. To think that these lessons are for teachers only is to abandon your role as a parent.

Second, parents should remember that grades are a measurement system but that each child should be asked only to do the very best they can. Condemnation for a C in some obscure subject should not be grounds for a family brouhaha.

Third, someday these children you place in the hands of public teachers will be grown and believe me, you'll miss these innocent days. So enjoy them and relish them. You'll someday miss them.

For all of its flaws, the public education system in this nation is the best in the world. We can never thank teachers enough for the value they bring into our lives. Teachers are consistently overworked and underpaid. But worse still, they are often under-appreciated. We should collectively be ashamed at the lack of respect often shown to teaching professionals.

And parents should remember too that education takes place both inside and outside of the classroom. The value of education comes not exclusively in the textbooks of our schools but also on the playgrounds and in the lunchrooms. It's there that kids meet and associate with lifelong friends. It's often there that memories are formed, bonds both made and broken and adults formed.

So parents, wish your students well tomorrow. Give them support. Give them encouragement. And finally, and most difficult of all, give them space to become the adults they will soon become.

Michael Jensen

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