Asking the experts

Retiring teachers are an excellent source of insights on how to help our kids thrive

By Ken Partridge

Parenting is the most important and hardest job people ever have.

Yet it’s a position anyone can hold. No experience required, no qualifications, no application process, no interviews.

They used to say it came with no manuals either, but that’s no longer true. Bookstores and the Internet are packed with help from experts. Many have only theoretical experience, but the availability of information is light years ahead of what our parents had available.

Our Children sought out our own experts for this issue. Our cover story speaks with teachers about to retire from the classroom after years of spending almost as much time with our kids as we do.

They’ve seen the disappearance of some issues, the rise of new ones they never even considered until faced with them, the impact of technology, and perennial problems. They’ve seen what works and what doesn’t, so their insights come from a place of intense knowledge and practical experience. We’re not talking untested theories here.

One source of some of those issues is income inequality. Today’s public-school system often has students from across the income spectrum in a single class. Fitting in can be tough to do at the best of times, but adding an income component makes it almost impossible.

However, there are ways to make it easier. Freelancer Kristen Frisa takes a looks at how to engage our kids in discussions about income inequality and make them part of the decision-making process.

This is our last edition of the 2018–19 school year, so we’re focusing on most kids’ favourite part of school: summer vacation. As referenced above, differences in income mean not all of us will be heading off to exotic locales around the world, but there are also great vacation opportunities closer to home. Two Our Children contributors, Helen Earley and Katie Ingram, have plenty of suggestions for budget-conscious families looking to get away during the summer months without sacrificing the opportunity for our kids to keep learning.

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