Lance Scranton: Students are community’s primary resource
February 7, 2012
“The resource potential our school system is attempting to realize is one measured by success in two areas: academic and athletic. This resource is children 5 to 18 years old and their success sometimes hinges on laborious mandates from local, state and federal agencies.”
— Lance Scranton, a Moffat County High School teacher and coach, in this week’s guest column
Moffat County is a land with incredible natural resource potential and companies have been around the area the past couple of years trying to realize that potential.
The resource potential our school system is attempting to realize is one measured by success in two areas: academic and athletic. This resource is children 5 to 18 years old and their success sometimes hinges on laborious mandates from local, state and federal agencies.
If you were to talk to teachers in our various buildings about how we can be more successful academically and athletically, you would get some very different answers.
Some believe we focus way too much on athletics to the detriment of classroom performance. Others would state emphatically that without sports, many kids fall through the cracks, aren't challenged enough, and need the outlet academics doesn't provide.
Both have a point, but we all need to consider some realities.
A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about three options for moving ahead with sport and athletic success in our community.
I received an e-mail from a former Moffat County resident who stays up with Craig by reading the paper online. He said "things certainly have changed over the years, can you imagine the changes since 1954? As you fully realize the major changes are families and culture."
Family and culture — two very important components we know impact everything from how students learn, how their free time is spent, and how they view others.
On a recent Saturday, I spoke with a proud father who is home schooling his children. I asked him why he felt the need to educate his children at home.
His response was that, among other concerns, he was tired of public schools teaching the theory of evolution as fact. I said the last time I checked, the theory of evolution was still a theory and I apologized for the school's lack of sensitivity to a proper education.
I'm not going to argue the finer points of this issue except to say how we educate students has an impact on how they view culture around them. It's not about which side of the debate you come down on but how you deal with those whom you might disagree.
Listening to the views of others can be difficult and time-consuming because we often want to plow ahead with what we see as the right course.
Much like the views of how we should best move forward to make academics and athletics better. Some think we should fire some coaches and find some who know what they are doing so we can win.
Others point to poor student test scores and blame it on poor teachers. Both views could be right, but is there another side and would you be willing to listen?
The best assistant coach is the mom and dad who help their son or daughter become a better teammate by supporting the effort of the coach. They might not always agree with the coaching philosophy, but they know it's important to let the coach do his best in a supportive environment to put together a winning team.
The best classroom tutor are parents who decide television and video games are a weekend thing, from Monday to Friday school is the priority, and that if all electronics are taken out of the bedroom, it might become a place where kids sleep again.
Blaming family and culture is way too easy and much too general.
But maybe these small steps could be a beginning point for making certain teachers, coaches and administrators can win battles we fight at school each day.
Parenting is the toughest job I've ever done and raising four boys on a teacher's salary can be a challenge, but I am committed because the resources I am most excited about are the children of this community.
What do you think? I'm listening.