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A Teacher's Plea to Parents: 'I Want to Teach Your Kids, Not Raise Them'

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After ten years of teaching elementary school, Lisa M. Calicchia is fed up with parents not doing their part to raise their kids. So the single mother of three daughters is taking parents to task and asking them to step it up with her new book, “I Want to Teach… Not Raise Your Kids!” She shares with ESSENCE.com the major crisis facing children today and why good parenting is needed now more than ever.

Everywhere you go you see children who seem to have lost their minds, having tantrums and disrespecting their parents. I see the foolishness at the airports, supermarkets, post office, malls, on public transportation and everywhere else. It sometimes seems they are taking over and enough is enough.

There are many challenges in teaching and the biggest one is the decline of parental involvement. Children won’t care about anything if their own parents and family don’t show any interest in them. We as teachers can give them all the love and support in the world, but what they really want is validation from home.

I’ve been teaching for ten years and what I love most about it is seeing when a student gets that “ah ha” moment when they understand a new concept. It just makes it all worthwhile.   

Now, after years and years of testimonies from teachers, supportive parents, staff and everyday people, I recognize they feel the same way I do— too many people are raising other people’s children. I’m angry, hurt and fed up with how unprepared, heavy burdened and behind academically Black students are. I cried writing this book because so many of our children are set up for failure at home. But all is not lost.  

First and foremost, parents need to be the primary positive role model of their child, and not try to be their best friend. Children learn from what their senses take in on a regular basis. A parent shouldn’t tell their children all their personal problems and concerns. Parents stop cussing your children out and breaking their spirits with hurtful words that can never be taken back.  

And it is never too late if your child has started veering off track. The older the child is, the more work it’s going to take for the parent to turn things around, but it is still very possible. In some situations, parents need to admit they are wrong for something that has caused their child to go astray. For the parents who have been missing in action for months and years, it’s never too late to show up and try.

The differences are so obvious for the students whose parents are involved. They score higher academically and do better with negative peer pressure. We need a lot more parents to get involved in the life of their child. The future of us all depends on it.

Pick up Lisa M. Calicchia's new book, “I Want to Teach… Not Raise Your Kids!,” online and in bookstores everywhere.

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