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July 4, 2015

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A Teacher’s View:

Student responsibility needs to be nurtured

Whose responsibility is education? Some days it seems that our students view responsibility as a burden, some horrendous task that they are forced to take on. So often, responsibility for just about everything is projected by our students onto someone else.

I'm reminded of a colleague's classroom rules posted on her bulletin board that reads, "You will not blame your mother when you don't have your homework." Even though this is meant to bring humor to her classroom, the message to me is clear: Students need to take more responsibility for their own education.

Student responsibility doesn't just happen. Teachers and parents must expect it, model it and nurture it. An optimal educational outcome depends on collaboration between teachers, parents and students.

It comes as no surprise to me that parents have a tremendous amount of impact on their kids. The best way to teach responsibility is to demonstrate it. Let kids know that being responsible doesn't mean that you don't make mistakes. It means you accept the consequences for them.

Parents have the privilege of teaching good manners, self control and that there is a time for school work and a time for play.

Teachers also have a great deal of responsibility for education. It is not just our job to know and understand the curriculum, but we must keep updated on the best practices for delivering the curriculum to our students. People learn in so many different ways, and it is up to the teacher to teach the objective in a way that can be understood and mastered by the students.

The ultimate responsibility for education must come from the student. To be successful, students have to invest their time and effort into their own education.

The reality is that many students have all the support and encouragement they can expect from their parents and teachers, yet still don't take responsibility for their own education.

The key to learning is that outcome is tied into effort.

Even though schools play a critical role, they are not solely responsible for the outcomes of their students. Education is everyone's business and depends on collaboration between us all.

Cathy Estes is a fourth and fifth grade teacher at Vanderburg Elementary School. She can be reached c/o the Home News, 2360 Corporate Circle, Third Floor, Henderson, NV 89074 or

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