Some time back, I saw a humorous comic about the relationship between the parent, teacher and child/student and I laughed because it was so true.
And then I sobered up because it really wasn’t that funny. In fact, it’s a bit of a concern… Having friends in the education industry, I wanted to share what is probably mostly commonsense, but it’s easy to lose ourselves when we’re emotionally charged, and it’s easy to to get that way with things relating to the kids.
The role of parents has changed. We want to be more involved in our children’s lives and we want to give them more than we had. This means we expect much more from the teachers of our children than our parents ever did. When we’re not happy with our children’s progress at school, we criticise the teachers, we confront them, and we demand answers (just like the parents in the comic above). But here’s the problem with that: in order for teachers to educate our children, we need our children to respect them; and in order for our children to respect their teachers, they need to see that their parents respect their teachers. How can children respect their teachers as authority figures if they see their parents challenging their teachers?
“But my child’s teacher is hopeless!”
Yes, I get it. There are good teachers and there are bad teachers. There are also good parents and bad parents. Even a good teacher or parent is not good all the time – we all have our off days, some more than others. It’s called “being human”.
We are told that when it comes to parenting, we need to provide a united front with our spouses. Even if we don’t agree with our partner’s method of parenting, we should never openly challenge them in front of the children. Criticising and belittling your partner in front of the children undermines your partner’s authority over the children and it confuses your children. In order to parent well, we need to stand together as a team. If we disagree with our partner’s methods, the best time to debate it is definitely not in front of the children. The rules are also the same for the teachers – whether they are the ones from school, extra-curricular teachers, tutors, or anyone else who works with your child to further their development.
A teacher’s job is hard enough and they don’t need parents sabotaging them. If we truly want the best for our children, we need to start working with the teachers, not against them.
“But I can’t stand my child’s teacher!”
You don’t have to like someone to be able to work with them. And just because you don’t like your child’s teacher doesn’t make the teacher a bad one. Besides, being able to be civil to someone you don’t like will be a good example for your child about learning to work with people they don’t like – that’s a vital skill for life.
Give it Time – There is no Magic Bullet
Every relationship needs time to develop, so if it is the beginning of a school year, or the start of a new program that your child has begun, cut the teacher some slack and give them some time to work with your child. Miracles don’t happen overnight.
Perhaps it is because we have been brainwashed into expecting rapid results – “Lose 4 dress sizes in 30 days!” “25 pounds in 2 weeks!” – that we now expect instant change in every aspect of our lives. It is important to remember that real change takes time, especially if you expect it to last. Every time you feel frustrated about your child’s progress (or apparent lack thereof), remind yourself that this is a journey and you have not reached the end of it.
It’s a Team Effort
The development of our children is not solely the responsibility of the teachers and our schools. As the parents, we need to share the responsibility. Raising children requires team work – like a relay, we pass the baton to the teachers when we drop the children off at school in the morning and they pass it back to us when we pick our children up after school. Neither one can win the race alone, but if we work together, we stand a chance.
I’ve shared this before, but I’ll share it again because it is so true and so important if we truly wish to give our children the best: