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Parents and teachers, working together

By Juliana Valdez

Lately I’ve been listening to the complaints of some parents regarding their role in the ongoing exercise of supervising their children’s online schoolwork. I’m hearing things like: “This teaching thing is not for me nah! I don’t have the patience!”

“God really have a special place in heaven for teachers yes!”

“Infant teachers have real blessings to get! How they does make out with dem little ones?”

“I have a new respect for teachers yes!”

And the comments continue. The teachers spoke of the initial struggles especially those who admitted they were not “techno savvy” and so had difficulties in mastering the system and the programmes.

But as it is said, practice makes perfect, and although there may still be hiccups, such as the faulty internet system, the “playing hooky” (absence) by some students, the lack of support and supervision by some parents, etc., things have greatly improved and teaching and learning is going on.

A comment made by many teachers about the complaining parents is, “Now the parents can see what we have to put up with in the classrooms on a daily basis!”

In a recent episode of Living Right with Dr Ray, the issue of parent-teacher relationship was the topic. Using role-play designed to inform about what is needed in this issue, Dr Ray Guarendi, clinical psychologist, highlighted the need for parents and teachers to work together for the students’ successful results.

One example shared was a situation where the parent was called into the school because of the child’s undisciplined behaviour. He refused to conform to simple instructions and was disruptive during classroom sessions.

The parent went into defensive mode immediately and informed the teacher that the child came home and complained that he was not favoured by the teacher and she always picked on him. The teacher’s efforts to explain were met with remarks such as, “It’s not my child’s fault; you don’t understand my child; you are not trained to be making suggestions that my child needs help.”

Flipping the script, the role-play highlighted a different scenario. The parent comes in to see the teacher and when told about the child’s behaviour, she acknowledges the complaints and asks for specifics to be able to go home and deal with the child.

Soliciting the teacher’s assistance, she questioned, “What can we do to resolve this situation?” The parent showed her willingness to accept that her child was at fault and was ready to work with the parent for the good and welfare of the child.

Dr Ray then gave guidelines geared toward improving the parent-teacher relationship, all for the good and welfare of the child’s improvement, academically and socially.

He advised the following:

  • Be cautious in accepting what the child comes home and tells you about the words and actions of the teacher. Take these utterances with not a grain, but with a pound of salt.
  • Don’t take the complaints about your child personally. It is not about you or your parenting skills.
  • Hear the teacher out and be willing to work with him/her for the improvement wished to be seen in the child.

It has always been advocated that parents and teachers need to work together during children’s education journey if these children are to emerge as successful individuals to take their place in society.

While the challenges of the current teaching/learning system are many, they can be overcome with understanding and determination on the part of all involved, teachers, parents and children.

The Mighty Sparrow sang “Schooldays are Happy, Happy Days”. In the midst of the current situation, this old adage can still be true.