From the Superintendent’s Seat:
Challenges of Motherhood
We are now celebrating Women’s History Month. It brings to mind a conversation I used to have with my own children. It came up every May and June when we observed Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. They would ask, “Why isn’t there a Children’s Day?” To which we, as so many other parents also responded to their children, “Every day is Children’s Day.”
The role of women in our society has undergone such an evolution that every month could also be Women’s History Month. However, it is fitting to take the time to honor the legacies of the many great women throughout history and at the same time, to acknowledge the women of today and how they are continuing to transform traditional roles into futures in which our daughters and granddaughters can be whatever they choose.
Being Superintendent of an extraordinary school district is an enormous responsibility and a privilege for which I am very grateful. My greatest joy, however, comes from seeing my own nine grandchildren begin to navigate their worlds. My grandchildren have three wonderful mothers, each of whom is choosing her own path regarding career, parenting, and educating the children. All three mothers have advanced graduate degrees of their own.
Erica has the oldest three children, a girl and two boys ages nine, six, and three. Laura, the mother of a five year old, a three year old, and a one and a half year old, is currently back in school pursuing a graduate degree in educational guidance. Tracy is a graduate of Wharton and a full-time executive. Her daughter is five and her sons are three years old and seven months old. Regardless of their job or school status, all three of these women are full-time mothers with many concerns about how to ensure their children receive the best educations possible. Each is also fortunate to have a supportive, involved husband and father to share the joy of parenthood.
I asked Erica, Laura, and Tracy to share with me and with the readers of Education Update, what most concerns them about their childrens’ educations, and what they believe should be a parent’s role in school. This is what they had to say:
Erica: Staying home full time with my children has enabled me to see how important a role the schools play in their overall development. Parents should be involved in their children’s school without being intrusive. The role should be as a helper. The same is true for a child’s schoolwork. Parents need to let the children do their own work and enable them to take pride in their accomplishments.
Laura: My children are young and very close in age. My biggest challenge is to give each child the individual attention they might need from me. I’m an advocate of early and preschool education and also the importance of physical ability skills. I’ve enrolled the kids in dance now and hope that I can continue to keep them involved in activities that will serve them well.
Tracy: As a mother of three who works full time in a demanding corporate position I face the stress of having to juggle the school’s schedule with my work schedule. I am hoping that schools will continue to be more sensitive to working mothers, although I realize that it is an issue that has no easy remedy.
To be continued…#
Dr. Hankin is Superintendent of Syosset Central School District. Randi Sachs is Public Information Officer of Syosset Schools.