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Sat, July 20

Parents go back to school
Students these days more advanced, parent says

Jennifer Trisdale takes a look at daughter Aliza’s work in Diane Hamilton’s eighth-grade English Language Arts class during Parent Switch Day at Bradshaw Mountain Middle School on Wednesday, Aug. 23.
Photo by Jason Wheeler.

Jennifer Trisdale takes a look at daughter Aliza’s work in Diane Hamilton’s eighth-grade English Language Arts class during Parent Switch Day at Bradshaw Mountain Middle School on Wednesday, Aug. 23.

Parents with students at Bradshaw Mountain Middle School got a taste of just what their kids go through on a daily basis by going to school with them on Tuesday.

All a part of the school’s Parent Switch Day, Jennifer Trisdale said she saw how stressful it is for young middle school students and how much pressure they have.

“As parents, we think they just go to school and they don’t have it that hard, but they do,” Trisdale said. “We’ve learned a lot today in each of their classes and they’re far more advanced than we were. The stuff they’re learning now is stuff we probably learned in high school.”

Trisdale also noted she liked how there wasn’t as much bullying and sad she was bullied a lot in school. Instead, the kids have a lot more respect for each other and respect each other’s boundaries more, she said.

Heather Sisson said she didn’t see many differences between school today and when she went to school other than the use of technology. During science class, the teacher told everyone to pull out their phones and take a picture, Sisson said.

“I thought that was cool that they have that resource to use,” adding that her son, Josh, came from Basis where phones weren’t allowed. “It was stick it in your locker, they’re not allowed. So I thought that’s cool that they’re using a thing that probably every kid in the classroom has to get them interacting.”

This was the fifth year that Bradshaw Mountain Middle School has done Parent Switch Day, said Principal Jessica Bennett, remarking it’s something she brought with her from a previous school. By allowing the parents to see the teachers’ instructional styles, what’s happening in the classroom and how the school day is structured, it helps when communicating with them, Bennett said.

On one hand, the parents find that trends and technology have changed, but on the other hand, realize that kids’ behaviors are still the same, such as finding lockers stressful and jockeying for the position of top dog on campus, she said.

“They’re amazed, too, at how instructional practices have changed. They appreciate that there’s a lot more hands-on instruction from when they were students in the class, that we’re focused on a lot of activities and questioning strategies with students,” Bennett said, commenting that they’re going home “very tired, so I think they gain a little bit more appreciation for their kids when they come home grumpy and tired, they understand a little bit more why.”

At the same time, Language Arts Teacher Diane Hamilton said she believes the parents realize they’ve forgotten how much work it is upon being thrown back into a full six-hour day of school. It’s a difficult adjustment, but they adapt to it easily and do well in participating, Hamilton said.

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