I recently volunteered for a day at Windsor Elementary, my daughter’s grade school, as part of the WATCH D.O.G.S. program.
WATCH D.O.G.S. (Dads Of Great Students) is a one-of-a-kind, school-based father involvement educational initiative of the National Center for Fathering. The program was developed to provide positive male role models for the students, demonstrating by their presence that education is important.
I’m not sure how much role model I was but I did learn a few things:
‘Down, lift, down, up, down’ is the correct way to write a capital M.
My first stop was a kindergarten class. I was assigned a boy, let’s call him Sam, to help him with the correct way to print this important letter. I was told Sam was a bright kid but didn’t have much of an attention span. He was so happy when he learned that I was going to help him. He pulled up a very small chair and told me to sit down. His first attempts looked more like scribbling. So I had him say the magic formula ‘down, lift, etc.’ and before too long, his M’s looked better than mine.
Recess has rules.
The next stop was recess monitor. The first graders had recess with the kindergarteners and my new buddy, Sam, was one of the kids. He immediately ran up to me to ask if I would play with him. There were many students on the monkey bars and Sam asked if I would lift him up – so I did. Well that’s when I learned about the recess rules. A teacher blew a very loud whistle and all the kids immediately froze in their place. Then the teacher, shouting in a voice that made me think of my Marine Corps boot camp days, said that only the upper classmen First Graders were privileged enough to use the monkey bars. I helped Sam off the bars and was glad I didn’t detention.
We aren’t born knowing how to use computers
My next class was the computer lab. The lesson for the day was how to type the letters “F” and “j”. I assisted the teacher by walking around the room to help the students position their hands correctly. This reminded me of my typing class, except this classroom didn’t have manual typewriters or carbon paper.
Milk cartons are hard to open.
Lunch was interesting. At first I didn’t know why the younger students would hold up their milk cartons when I walked by their tables. I soon learned that when little fingers tried to open their milk, much of the milk would end up on the table. I must have opened 40 cartons that day (and tied about 50 pairs of shoes).
Teachers are amazing time managers.
I was impressed with the teaching staff. Their days are planned down to the minute, and they move their classes around the campus with exacting precision. No child left behind!
And the best part…
… I got to spend time in my daughter’s classroom watching her learn important lessons in math that she will use the rest of her life.
In conclusion …
I am truly thankful for the opportunity to be a role model Dad for the day. I enjoyed helping the students and teachers. It was an exhausting day which made me appreciate the people who have dedicated their lives to educating our young.
More than 4,000 schools offer the Watch D.O.G.S. program. If interested, please contact your child’s school or visit http://www.fathers.com/watchdogs/.