Forum for Fathers

I have been co-facilitating a Fathers’ Group at my school for about ten years. The group began in response to the suicide of one of the fathers in our school. This man was a beloved, involved father of four young boys, all under the age of ten. No one knew he was struggling and his death took the wind out of the sails of our entire school. Several fathers began to admit they also feel lots of pressure and while they were quick to assure others that they had no suicidal thoughts, they admitted they rarely share their struggles with anyone.

The Fathers’ Group was born of parents believing that there should be a place where dads can go to talk about themselves, especially to talk about their most important investments: their children. These brave men started to drop into our group sessions, often at the “gentle pushing” of their parenting partners. Many of them seemed surprised by how the hour meeting flew by and by the depth of the discussions. Therapy was not occurring, pressure was not put on anyone to share, but something unique was occurring for many of these dads.

It became evident to me that those of us who work in school settings and those parents who are able (or comfortable) to participate in school events are used to talking with others about issues related to children. While fathers are just as interested, forums for such discussions rarely exist for them; they are not naturally occurring in their work settings.

Our Fathers’ Group does not have a huge membership: some core attendees, some drop-in participants and even an occasional faculty or administrator parent. Our discussions remain rich and the feedback gives testimony to the value of giving fathers a place to connect.

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April 30, 2011. Uncategorized. 2 comments.

Student Motivation

We often hear teachers and administrators wondering why their students aren’t motivated to learn. For many educators this is hard to understand because they excelled and enjoyed school. Therefore, teachers question why their students don’t share this same passion towards learning.

It is probably accurate to say that for most of us we enjoy the things in life where we have found some sense of accomplishment. Most educators experienced this feeling in school. As we know, however, many of our students don’t feel successful in school. School has become an unpleasant place where some students are continually reminded of their incompetence. When we feel incompetent, we usually give up or look for ways to avoid an unpleasant situation.

Many of our students have given up. As teachers, it is our responsibility to provide opportunities for all our students to succeed. We must continually ask ourselves what we can do to help each child go home feeling successful. Assisting students to set goals, giving them a sense of mission, providing work at an appropriate level, making our teaching relevant, breaking down tasks, differentiating our instruction, and using universal design are some ways to help our students feel successful. It is also our responsibility to recognize in each student his or her particular strengths. When we feel good about ourselves we are more likely to try new things that might be a challenge.

April 1, 2011. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.