After Noticing A Disappointing Trend, This Teacher Is Urging Parents To Be More Involved

"The education and emotional stability a parent provides is priceless."

Amie Diprima Brown, a mother and middle school teacher from Rome, GA, has been teaching since 2003. After 15 years in the classroom, she noticed a disappointing trend she believes many may not be aware of. She took to Facebook to share it with her followers in hopes that it'll encourage change

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"Every year, for 15 years, I have sent home the same assignment on the first day of school. I send a letter home asking parents to tell me about their child in a million words or less," Brown wrote. "I go on to explain that I want to learn the child's hopes, dreams, fears, challenges, etc and jokingly ask parents to limit it to less than a million words since we all know we could talk forever about our children." 

She explains to the parents that the letters will not be graded, and she's not paying attention to grammar or spelling. She also doesn't care how they get delivered to her. But it's important to her that they do.

"These letters have been so beneficial to me as a teacher and getting to know my students on a personal level. I have learned about eating disorders, seizures, jealousy issues between twins, depression, adoption, abuse ... just to name a few things," Brown wrote. "These letters give me a huge head start on getting to truly know my students. I often pull them out when a child has a sudden change in behavior or issue that comes up." 

Sadly, Brown has realized that fewer and fewer parents are taking the time to do the assignment. When she compared the folder she has from 2003 to the one she has from 2017, she was disheartened to see the difference. 

"I know that the percentage of parents that complete this assignment each year has gotten lower and lower, but looking at the size of the folders shocked me," Brown wrote. "That first year I had 98 percent of the parents send back some type of letter on their child. This year... 22 percent. That's a lot of opportunities lost for me to get to know students. Sadly, more parents have access to an electronic device that makes this task even easier and less time consuming." 

Unfortunately, she's also seen her students' performance drop as well. "This year's average for homework turned in is riding at 67 percent," Brown wrote. "Parents continue to let their child rack up zero after zero. But then again, that average used to be around 98 percent as well. It was rare for more than 1-2 students to not have their homework 15 years ago. Now, it's just frustrating. " 

She added that this makes it more challenging for teachers to notice potential problems with their students. 

"With all of our other responsibilities in our profession, how are we supposed to get to know students so that we can identify the ones with the mentality and disposition to become a school shooter if parents are checking out of the academic process?" she wrote. "Don't wait until your child is the school shooter to let us know your child is struggling mentally. Don't wait until your child is ineligible for sports or the day before report cards to check grades and question the teacher on why your child is failing." 

Brown ended her post by urging parents to become more present in their children's daily lives.

"Be involved in your child's life so that you can help them through the issues with friends, the possible suicidal thoughts, and problems academically. I promise you, if parents spent more time with their children and got involved in their lives, we would see drastic improvements in our schools and our society," she wrote. "As parents, our job is to grow the most amazing humans possible. Its the most important job in the world. The education and emotional stability a parent provides is priceless."

In less than a week, Brown's post has been shared nearly 100,000 times. Many people feel helpless in the aftermath of a tragedy such as the recent school shooting, but there are still things we can do to help children in addition to fighting for gun reform laws. Brown's advice is one action that all parents and teachers can take right now to improve the lives of their children and students. 

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