Right now middle school, and high school students are preparing for and taking exams. Actually this period they are taking exams. This means that some classes have either one student, or the whole class gets shut down. Sometimes you get those students who when in your class who feel that they can leave the stresses of academia behind. Those kids will come to your class no matter what. I will have a class with one such group I love spending time with students like that. We will have a topic based discussion for perhaps 10 - 40 minutes depending on the level interest in the topic. If they are not interested in the topic we will study our text book. All the while they pour out their hearts to me. I listen and ask questions, never judging, or assuming I understand what they are going through.
I aim to be approachable by all, including my own sons.
When I was a child I grew up in a loving household, with caring parents. My father and mother cared for me. As I grew up I realized that my father felt unable to communicate directly with me, and my brothers. This was hard on me. I made some stupid life choices which I feel would have been lessened if my father had spoken to me. Oh lets look at the whole picture. My parents decided to have too many kids. They did not realize that having a large family would cost so much. Times were changing, they had all 5 of us in a matter of 4.5 years (twins yay!). So, my father, being responsible took on three jobs! He worked himself to the bone. My mother was dealing with her own issues, a illness that was hard for doctors to diagnose. When they finally did it was lupus. I grew up learning mostly from my mother.
Now that I am a father, I have seen some pretty good examples of a father engaging with their kids. I emulated these people. Mr. David Noor, of the Indian Navy, was one mentor. Even watching my wife also helped me. Also seeing what my father did (working very hard) and didn't (not spending time with his kids) helped me. I do not want to sound like I am blaming my father. I can say I am trying to overcome our (my father and I) difficulty to engage with our kids. I feel it is a shared issue that was passed down generation to generation. So to Jose Hogan....I am so glad to have you as a father. Your shortcomings are mine as well. I was just lucky to have very good examples to teach me what you could not. This takes nothing away from you Dad. It is what it is. For me though..the buck stops here.
If I can spend time with my own students, overhearing them say "Oh I can't wait till it is tomorrow we will have Jemal for one hour". I want my sons to say the same thing. It seems to be working. I WILL NOT GIVE UP. THE BUCK STOPS HERE! When George and Jeyo are fathers this trend of having a very very hard time to engage well with their kids will be a thing of the past!