Being a teacher is akin to being a grandparent. Grandparents play a vital role in rearing and nurturing a child, but “you get to give them back” at the end of the day, or week or whatever. There are rest breaks and vacations and times to refresh body and soul because most children don’t stay with grandparents 24/7. So it is with teaching. No matter how rewarding or challenging my role as teacher is each year, I know that ultimately the students will go on to the next teacher and the next. And the bottom line is that the parent will be with them through all 15-20 years of their education.
I suppose that realization is why I often get frustrated with parents who are uncooperative and/or less than supportive of the education system. Each year I have at least one or two parents who, for whatever reason, ignore notes, do not respond to suggestions, do not help with homework, and do not seem interested in what goes on in the classroom. They also make excuses for their child’s behavior, work habits, and grades. Well, as a teacher I can only say, “Good luck with that attitude!” I just don’t think it’s going to improve anything about your child’s educational experience.
Why do some parents just not understand how school performance relates to the adult world of work? Are they fearful of placing too much responsibility on their child? Well the alternative to “too much” cannot be “none”. Life just doesn’t operate that way! From the time a child is born we are training it to live independently. And that training must include how to behave in society, how to make decisions, how to be responsible for our work and our actions, and how to use our brains to solve problems. School is the ideal platform for that training and experience. Where else will the child be supported by trained professionals, surrounded by students with similar abilities, and tested by standardized criteria?
I was a good student, but I also had parents who insisted that I take my work seriously. I did my homework even if I didn’t like it or the teacher or the school. I studied for tests even if we had other plans or I was tired. I behaved because I knew it was the right thing to do…and if I didn’t my parents would not only punish me, but worse, be disappointed in me. I never ever recall my parents saying that my behavior was dependent on whether or not I wanted to behave. I was expected to do so!
So if you are a parent with the attitude that school in general, or kindergarten in particular, is just “something your child does during the day” and you do not feel that it is in your best interest and his/hers to take an active role in education….good luck with that! Come back in ten years and tell me how that’s working for you.
(Note: I am posting this on two of my blogs- not because I’m lazy, but in hopes of reaching more parents with my message.)