On Monday February 11th, I took the day off from work and spent it at Cox Elementary School as a Watch D.O.G.S. volunteer. This spring, Wylie ISD in Wylie, TX added the program to Cox Elementary after success on other campuses last year in the district. The program which is sponsored by the National Center for Fathering was launched in 1998 by Jim Moore in response to a middle school shooting in Jonesboro, AR.
The purpose of the program is to get fathers, grandfathers, uncles, and any other male father-figures to participate on the campus of their child's school. The program firmly believes that more fathers and father-figure involvement in the student population cuts down on bullying and harrasment and most pointedly school violence. Fathers have historically taken a "back seat" to mother's involvement in PTA and other school activities. The Watch D.O.G.S. program provides an opportunity to remind their children and their kids' peers that Father's care about school and about the students.
When I arrived in the morning I was met by the school counselor, given my t-shirt which signifies to the students and faculty that I have passed a complete background check (every volunteer must complete this prior to their volunteer day). The really neat part was my son got a matching t-shirt so everyone in school knows who's dad is the D.O.G. that day. We got our photo taken and I was given a very thorough agenda for the day.
My time was spent in 45 minute increments with my sons kindegarten class assisting them in a project to write their numbers from 1-100. From there I visited a 4th grade class and worked with 5 students on converting fractions to decimal points which you KNOW the math geek I am just loved that! From there I helped a 2nd grade class do creative writing and a 1st grade class practice learning how to tell time. (that one seemed kind of odd to me because I figure most of these kids are going to live in a digital world and probably don't "need" the skill of knowing the little hand from the big hand, but hey....I'm not the teacher). I also helped 2 3rd graders with reading comprehension.
The best part is the time spent assisting with lunch and recess. Most of the adults kids see at school are obviously faculty who are there to work. Recess and lunch is a much-needed break time for teachers. So for the kids to have an adult there that was excited to be there was a big lift for them. I had so much fun during the day that I really am tempted to do it again next month. It certainly makes me excited about the things I'll be able to do once I retire.
So fathers, if your school has the program you need to suck it up and take the day off of work. You have no idea how cool your kid really is until you see them in their normal school day. Just like you should take them to your work once a year so they can see how cool you are at work.
©2008 Ken Stampe
Ken Stampe is a Mortgage Loan Originator, Mortgage Author and Mortgage Loan Officer Instructor living in Dallas, TX. Ken provided his first client a mortgage loan in 1996 and writes about home buying and mortgages to aid clients in making a smart home mortgage loan decision. Contact by email at Ken@KenStampe.com
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