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Student homework

Hello again,
        Being a teacher, this one was interesting. There can be all kinds of
reasons for kids coming to this list and I think the majority of those have
been covered. I have observed these young student requests on occasion in the
past and was under the impression that most were handled by someone. I have
sent responses back to a few off the list and those I felt I couldn't help I
simply went to the delete key figuring someone would. I think each request
can be quickly screened and people can decide how they will respond if at all.
I get requests all of the time in my workplace to assist or evaluate  student
science projects and ideas via telephone and unannounced visits. If the student
has a project due the next day and is desperate for ideas and help I ask  to
speak to the parent or get the name of their school and science teacher. I
would never assume the child is lazy even though this is often the case. There
are students living in situations that are intolerable and get little or no
support from home or school. If this is the case, there is little I can do
for them but I will try to give friendly advice to them, their parents and
their regular teacher. The worst thing to be is another grumpy adult refusing
to listen. 
        Sometimes students don't wait until the last minute and want to do
a good job but again get little support at home or school. If time isn't
pressing then an offer to assist with constructive advice and suggestions
is appropriate. I don't believe in ever giving over the answers. The best
thing to do is make suggestions about where to go and get the answers. I
don't even think that it is necessary to give book titles. I always ask if
they know how to use their library and if they have been taught how to use
the card or computer catalog etc. A lot of kids need coaching and reminders
to use the skills they have already been taught. If I encounter a student
that does not no where to begin in the library then again a call home or
to the school may be in order. I am not suggesting that members of the list
contact any parent or teacher for these kids sending inquiries, but a little
compassion on the part of some list members might be in order. Volunteer
your wisdom to help guide a child in the right direction. An act of kindness
and sincerity will have benefits to all parties involved.
        It is obvious that many list members respond cheerfully to these
inquiries and often on the list. I  was amazed at the number of  friendly
humorous and serious responses that went to the recent request for info
that began with "Yo", I wuz sitt'n around chillin..... This thread about
answering or doing a childs homework began shortly thereafter. My ten year
old son always comes to me to find out the spelling of a word. I spell all
words the same  d-i-c-t-i-o-n-a-r-y. He knows how to use it and realizes
that I too am aware and that he will have to go there to get what he needs.
He is not asking as frequently,  however, he is a child and will forget or
will test to see if I have forgotten. 
        I don't personally think that the noise on the list from these  kind
of requests is out of hand. Just remember your "D" key if you don't  want to
be bothered. Also, remember that our strongest communities are those where
the entire community assumes ownership  over the responsibility  for  caring
for children and not just your own kids. In the community I grew up in, every
adult in the neighborhood knew who the children were and all assumed a role
that provided guidance and positive support. Too many of our communities of
today are fragmented with adults doing  their own thing and ignoring the
self destructive and abnormal behavior surrounding them. These people
eventually find themselves living in fear of these neglected  young people.
Let's  try to keep the electronic community intact by assuming and doing
our adult responsibilities to the young people that are exploring and show-
ing an interest in what this community has to offer.
Thanks for your attention,
Martin Tillett
Science Instructor
H.B. Owens Science Center
9601 Greenbelt Road
Lanham, MD 20706
301-918-8750   fax 301-918-8753
email mtillett@umd5.umd.edu