Parent Teacher Book Club? You Heard Right!

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Photo by Paige Zepeda

Teachers and guest parents sit and deliberate the novel, “How to Raise an Adult”

Sterling Southerland, Staff Writer

Word on the street is that there is a parent-teacher book club here on campus that promotes parent and teacher interaction. Not only does this group have the potential to benefit parents and teachers, but students as well.

Sage Creek’s very own English teacher, Mrs. Corrie Myers, has recently founded a parent-teacher book club along with other parents and teachers in which they can build community and discuss the similarities and differences in raising teens.

The first book of choice is How to Raise an Adult by Julie Lythcott-Haims. In this novel, Lythcott-Haims draws on research on conversations with admissions officers, educators, and employers. In addition to that, Lythcott-Haims also draws upon her own insights as a mother and as a student dean to focus on the parenting flaws that prevent children from having a smooth and steady transition from childhood to adulthood.

Photo by Paige Zepeda
Parents and teachers share their opinion of the novel “How to Raise an Adult”.

“The goal is that we change how we do things. As parents and teachers, my hope is that we make some changes in our expectations and how we raise teenagers,” Mrs. Myers said.

As a teacher and a parent, Myers understands the hopes and aspirations of parents, teachers, and children, since she has been all three. Myers elaborated on personal student issues which inspired her to make a difference.

“I’ve listened to too many students share about their stress and I watch them as they’re crying in my classroom when they are overwhelmed by their workload,” Myers said. “My students are the ones saying ‘this isn’t the way I should be living.’”

The input from her students helped Myers better understand the intensity of this situation and how she could help those in need.

“I had heard everything. When I picked up the book, it felt like this was the answer to all of it. Something needs to change and this book has a way for us to do so.”

As the topic of raising teenagers is so prevalent, the club is striving to bring teachers and parents of all backgrounds together to solve this important issue. The club hopes to attract as many people as possible so everyone is represented and all opinions are discussed appropriately.

“I was really excited by how many parents came and wanted to have the conversation,” Myers expressed, “Everyone was there on the same team trying to figure out how we can help our students be most successful and healthy at the same time.”

Although parents and teachers are working together to help their children and students, the adolescents are just as important. After being asked whether there were any restrictions, Myers gladly explained that this club was open to everyone.

“No restrictions. In fact, we want to hear from students too,” Myers said.  “We want to hear what they think about the content and what they think about the pressure of what colleges, parents, and teachers are expecting. It’s not just talking about you guys [students] but to you guys. How students share candidly is something that we’d like to hear,” Myers answered.

Expectations are high according to Myers as she hopes the club develops efficiently. “It’s a long book and there is a lot to it. I’m hopeful that in the future we do more reading, learning, and growing together. I think that’s what makes a really strong community when we are growing together,” Myers said.

Parents are feeling the positivity as well. Sage Creek parent Liz Lichtenberger stated “I love that the Parent-Teacher Book Club provides a way for parents and staff to have a dialogue about how we can collectively work to improve our students lives.”

Although it’s currently just a parent-teacher book club, Myers hopes to add students to the club when it comes to reading and discussing.

“I also think that it would be cool to pick a book that students would be interested in reading. Right now it’s strictly parents and teachers. In the future I’d love to do a parent-teacher-student book club,” Myers said.

In regards to the productivity that the book club could achieve, Myers has some concerns that may affect what she´s trying to achieve.

“My concern would be that we aren’t honest enough with what needs to change. However, that’s no longer my concern because everyone that was there was there because they wanted to become better parents and teachers and they want to help their students strive. We all have the same common goal,” Myers stated.

Mrs. Lichtenberger discussed the outcome of the previous two meetings.

I have been awed with the enthusiasm of every participant and how honestly everyone as shared their thoughts and opinions,” Lichtenberger said, “The meetings are only an hour each, but we could collectively keep talking for much longer about the book’s topics.”

Although not everyone could make it to both meetings, Mrs. Myers explained that “the learning and growing doesn’t just happen in the book club, it happens in our day to day lives.” She explained that she didn’t want anyone to be left out. She understands that people can’t make it, so she suggests that people read the book, watch the TED talk, and discuss the topic with family and friends.

The absence of many parents and teachers can be discouraging to those in the club, so I spoke with Lichtenberger and Buscher in order to figure out how the turnout of each meaning affected their overall experience.

I’m really impressed with the number of our teachers and staff that have participated in the book club,” Lichtenberger noted, “Having a nice balance of parents and teachers/staff makes it clear that we equally care about our students, and that “it takes a village” to raise them.”

On the contrary, Mrs. Buscher felt the need for improvement when it comes to additional teachers attending the book club.

“I, personally, would like to see more teachers partaking in these discussions,” Buscher said.

After speaking with her, her hopes were high when it comes to encouraging participation at the book and developing healthier relationships with not only the parents and teachers within the book club, but with her son and others in her family as well.

On the subject of relationships, Lichtenberger and Buscher were pleased to tell me about their improvements upon relationships after engaging in substantial discussions.

The conversations that I have had about the book ‘How to Raise an Adult’,  I think have strengthened my relationships with my friends, my spouse, and my kids,” Lichtenberger said, “Talking honestly about how important it is to let your kids make their own mistakes and not worry about the exact path that they are taking, has allowed me to get even closer the people that I talk about the topic with.”

“I have gained a deeper insight into a couple of teachers lives, which I have found to be very interesting and pleasurable,” Buscher added.

Both parents and teachers have a high level of optimism for this club can be seen to have a lot of potential. The club encourages the growth of internal and external relationships through a multitude of discussions about life and the book itself.

I feel really encouraged that together we can shape our community in a way that helps our kids,” Lichtenberger said.