The Parent-Teacher Relationship

It takes a village to raise a child. It starts with the parents and the surrounding community which includes relatives and close family friends in the very early stages, teaching basic manners and basic communication skills and then it includes the school and teachers at that school who equip them with knowledge to conquer their world.

For some reason, the order gets flipped around, where it is believed that it starts with the school and its teachers and then the parents. It cannot be! As teachers, we truly do care for all the children we teach and we want to give them all the best possible support that we can. Unfortunately, parents seem to believe that that makes us their children’s primary caregiver, primary disciplinarian, primary everything.

We see parents everyday sending their children to school as a simple act of transferring their problems to become the school’s problem. This is the parent who knows their child has discipline and behavioural issues. This is the parent who knows they have been avoiding paying school fees for months, maybe years even. This is the parent who truly believes that the school is going to “fix” their child because they failed to set the record straight on the early childhood development stages. Submarine Parents – they are nowhere to be found, but are ready to blame everything on the school when things don’t go their way.

The parent-teacher relationship is an important one. It needs to be maintained. It needs to be transparent and honest. It needs to start with the parent actually being involved in their child’s schooling career, not just a dump and run. It is sad to see so many absent parents in my profession, because I see the direct impact it has on the child and then also how it makes the teacher’s life so much more difficult.

Parents need to take responsibility for what they have brought into the world. Parents need to be supporting teachers when they say, “Your child is difficult to work with.” Recently, I told a parent that their child was miserable at school. The parent found it surprising because at home the child doesn’t act like that. Well then, now that you know, what will you be doing about it? I told a different parent, that their child was the main distraction and never takes anything seriously at this crucial time of their lives. The parent felt embarrassed but goes on to say sometimes they let things slide because of how far they have come. Now that’s the problem, “letting things slide.”

There needs to be common ground understanding between teachers and parents/guardians. Teachers are here to teach and support a child’s learning. Parents should discipline and support teachers to be able to do their job. If a teacher has to discipline at school only for things to be let go of at home, then we have most certainly lost the plot and the ultimate goal.

As teachers we don’t want to blame parents. Equally, parents cannot blame teachers who work tirelessly to give their all to over 100 children per day. We are human not superheroes. Keeping that in mind and acting knowledgeable about it, would solve many problems in our society.

Let’s work towards provide what’s best from both sides to the children who are inevitably the future leaders of our country.

Thank you for your time! Happy Eid Mubarak to all who observe!


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