A moment for educators everywhere.

Dear voters and supporters of my campaign,

It is time for my newsletter as I work on my platform:

  • Improve our Education
  • Fix our Infrastructure
  • Grow our Economy
  • Protect our Environment

The coronavirushas claimed the lives of many around the globe. I do wish our President would have taken this virus more seriously, earlier, and approached the virus head-on as South Korea has done. Now, we must come together as a global family and as tight-knit families and communities. Let’s continue to socially distance, hand wash, and stay home! Please make this a priority so we can demonstrate to each other that we have a genuine care for each other.

One theme that is center stage during this pandemic is the role of teachers. As parents work and home school, so many have taken to social media to joke about the difficulty of the content, instructional strategies and activities, and behavioral management. Teachers, in turn, continue to post lists of resources, games, and videos to help parents along the way.  

I think I speak for all educators when I say, thank you. We don’t do the job for the attention because most all of us are missing or thinking of students and their needs during this time. We all have that one student or family in mind that we want to ensure is okay when school is out, let alone during a time like this.

As an educator for 37 years and counting, I see the invaluable “job” teachers have done, and continue to do on a daily basis. As an administrator I always felt fortunate to observe so many impressive and passionate teachers in action. It was always my pleasure to observe, and see them “teach with their hair on fire.”

If you think about the three areas parents are now working to handle: content knowledge, instructional strategies, and behavior management, teachers earn anywhere from 24 to 36 credit hours in college to be prepared for in a classroom. Most teachers will agree that you learn more on the job and through experience than just in those credit hours.That is why I am a big proponent of more paid professional development days for teachers and related services (educational assistants, special services, etc.). There is so much to be gained from continual learning.

Teachers deserve to grow and develop in their craft, be paid for it, and pursue professional goals in a quality way.

If you are at home right now trying to educate your child, let me give you a few suggestions of things I learned as a teacher and a parent:

No one cares how much you know, until they know how much you care. If you are not fully engaged with your child, they will do the minimum or less. A student will match your level of enthusiasm or interest. Be authentic.

Read. Read together, have a reading party with snacks and classical music, and let children read something of interest to them! 

Write about passions and interests. When I grow up, I am going to be a ________. Now do some research. I sincerely hope children’s dreams are not parent’s dreams. Need not correct them to something more realistic or familiar. If I were five again I’d still say, “When I grow up, I want to be Willie Mays.” Well, I became a college baseball player, that helped me earn my degree and I got to coach high school baseball. Still, a highlight of my career. 

Everyone’s an Engineer. Buy some spaghetti and marshmallows. If you are adults at home, do this activity also. Tell your child to make anything they want! I had seventh grader once make a 4X4 Ford F150, a tenth grader once build a zoo where everyone went up and down a central elevator and rotated, so you got to see all the animals with little walking. It was made for handicap children in wheelchairs, which this tenth grade was handicapped. My favorite was a third grader who built a lemonade stand that ran electricity and plumbing to the stand. This way she could have water, ice, and everything she needed as she was going to make a lot of money.

Lastly, let kids be kids. Extend their playing time and challenge them to come up with new games, make them be creative. Hide and go seek? 

This newsletter is in no way a solution to help you get through the days with your children. However, this is a unique opportunity to relish in being your child’s teacher and parent. Remember, you are their first teacher, enjoy it.

This newsletter is dedicated to my mother-in-law, Delia Mary Chavez. She died one year ago today at Bee-Hive Homes in Bernalillo. Delia was a dedicated educational assistant and teacher in Santa Rosa and in Las Vegas City Schools for over 30 years while raising three wonderful children. She was a great teacher, wife, grandmother, great grandmother, sister, aunt, and friend. But most of all she was terrific as a mother. She was one of my best friends, and I miss her very much, “rest in peace mom.”