Ask a Pro – Part Two of a Two-Part Series

By Theresa Phillips, AAFCS Member

Dear Pro:  With all the budget problems and cuts, last year was really stressful.  Any ideas for making this year less stressed?

One of the great things about FCS is that we teach our own solutions.  Evaluation, the last step in the Management/Planning Process that you’ve been teaching your students, is a great way to look at the situation and decide what you need to do for this year.  Then apply the Problem Solving Process to decide how to handle it.

One teacher I know was told not to worry about cuts because her “program would never be cut because the community would never stand for it.”  Becoming a teacher like that is not all that difficult.  We already have a great curriculum that’s vitally important to students lives, both now and in the future.  The trick is getting people to recognize that fact.  Here are some suggestions on how to do it:

  • Make sure students understand “why we’re learning this and how it will help you” for everything you teach.
  • Keep your administrators informed.  Invite them to every activity going on in your room (guest speakers, labs, pre-school visitations, student presentations and projects.)  Especially highlight your focus on mandates you’re helping them to meet (Fire Safety, Safe Schools, Bullying, etc.).
  • Challenge students to take FCS out of your classrooms.  They can write articles for the school or local newspapers, create PSAs, do service learning, create puppet shows on foods for preschoolers, make brochures on food safety for the local SNACK Program, teach something to others, etc.  If you give them points for teaching others and make administrators, media, or elected officials worth more points, you’ll be amazed.
  • Use the media. Invite a local news reporter to your class and/or send them news releases. Update your school web page regularly.  Put something in every school newsletter, even if it’s only one paragraph.
  • Involve parents whenever you can. Having students interview them about jobs or parenting or showing them how to use  or practicing any of the skills learned in the classroom at home is not only good learning for your students but also helps parents learn what we do.
  • Connect with the community. Every time you have a speaker from a local agency, that agency learns what FCS is about and how we can help each other. They will then become an ally.

While you’re evaluating, don’t forget to remember all the good things that took place this past year and all the students that you helped.  If you allow students to do an anonymous evaluation of your course, you’ll be surprised at what they learned and what a difference it makes in their lives. 

What would you like ideas, suggestions, or advice about? Just email

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