Just recently, we had several hundred parents inquire about a sampling pre-test to see how well their children would adjust to a new assessment in the state of Georgia. Like many parents in this state, they "talk the talk" telling their friends, family and neighbors of how important the test is to them and how they know their child is prepared for this high stakes assessment. Fortunately, I was able to see firsthand what a good parent actually does in order to help their child better prepare for the future.
Several weeks into the registration period and I felt as if I was hired as a Call Center Supervisor for my own company. Many questions were asked as to "how I know" what is on the test and what I provided in order to help these students. Unlike the standard tutoring operation that many people have here in Georgia, I pride myself first and foremost on research (okay, I let it slip - I've taken a few Graduate Statistics and Research classes) and correlation/causation/validity. All the terms that parents could care less about. Needless to say, many people asked about our sample test but a group of a select few took it upon themselves to take the plunge and find out, what this was all about.
Saturday morning and the first of several parent/children pairs come strolling into my office. I operate a modest and humble operation (similar to how I live my life) and was excited to see such a wonderful gathering. The children came in, sat down, and we had a nice talk about school, birthdays, and the wonderful weather that is an opportunity for mischief in this southern state. After the last individual arrived, we promptly began the test and the rest is expected.
As with many tests, this new test is in a league all of their own. Some of the children sighed as they perused through various sections of the reading passages; one almost looked as if he would faint after reading some of the questions. I was happy (despite the fact that I am no longer in a classroom) to see them work their hardest and overcome the insurmountable task of "finishing what you had started". The best part of the day was not grading the test, but in how the children, despite not knowing who the others were, could come together and behave as well as they do.
The parents that attended this session are the types of parents whose peers look up to. They are trailblazers in their community and are willing to do what needs to be done to help their child. I was excited to grade the work and as I read the responses from the different students in the group, I can hear them talking to me about what they had learned in that short period. It's given me insight not on what the child had scored well or poorly on, but their thought process and the way that they perceive the world.
Kudos to these parents. I know that you are great parents because when you are not there, the whole world can see how great your child is! Keep up the great work because we need more mothers and fathers like you!