The parent-teacher relationship is a very significant one. Sometimes, parents err by telling their child’s teacher what they shouldn’t be. Here’s one such list. Avoid saying these things.
By Dr Priscilla J S Selvaraj
“A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops” – said the famous American historian Henry Adams. Yes, the influence a teacher can have on his pupils is amazing! And, the role a teacher plays in the life of children – not imparting knowledge alone but also moulding character – is a very significant one. This Teachers’ Day let us salute all teachers and honour them. And, as parents, if we need to have a meaningful and amicable relationship with our children's teachers, here are 10 things we should never tell them.
1. “Let me know if my child does something wrong before you go ahead and discipline him.”
Sorry! You cannot dictate terms to the teacher. It is the teacher’s job to discipline your child just as it is yours. But, that doesn’t mean your child’s teacher has to let you know every time your child errs.
2. “Who are you to discipline my child?”
A teacher’s primary duty is not only to impart knowledge but also to mould your child’s character. Therefore, you have no business to question your child’s teacher about his rights to discipline your child.
3. “You’re supposed to be teaching him that. Am I his teacher?”
During a PTA discussion or a one-to-one interaction with your child’s teacher, don’t ever accuse the teacher of not doing his duty. This will sour your relations with the teacher. Have a gentle conversation about how both can work together.
4. “You know, this particular teacher is very…”
Never ever point your finger at another teacher accusingly and complain to your child’s teacher. Such backbiting and gossiping will not help your relationship with your teacher. If you are upset or unhappy about something, take up the issue with that particular teacher directly.
5. “Why should we, parents, sit with our children for their studies? That’s what you’re there for, right? In fact, that’s what you’re paid for!”
You cannot wash your hands off all responsibility regarding your child’s studies. Maybe the teacher’s role is the primary one, but you need to play an active role too. And, accusations such as, ‘That’s what you’re paid for’ are very rude and discourteous. Avoid such phrases completely.
6. “My child couldn’t have done this. Are you sure?”
Don’t you ever doubt your child’s teacher. The key to a good teacher-parent relationship is trust. On the contrary, you can say, “I never imagined my child could do this!”
7. “My child is no good. Do whatever you want with him. I just don’t care.”
You can never detach yourself from your child no matter what her ability or attitude may be. Work together with your teacher to set things right rather than ignoring your responsibility.
8. “I don’t know what you will do… all I want is for my daughter to score a centum in all subjects.”
Again, you cannot dictate terms to the teacher. Remember, marks are not everything. Understand your child’s potential and make sure you do not set high expectations.
9. “How did you ever get into teaching? It’s such a rotten system!”
While you may have given life to your child and brought him into this world, it is your child’s teacher who teaches him how to live this life. Don’t ever speak ill of this profession. Remember, it is teachers who create doctors, engineers, lawyers, great leaders and so on.
10. “My child is like that. Nothing can be done about it. Just ignore him.”
A teacher cannot ignore any child’s wrong behaviour. It is her duty to correct the child. Give her that freedom. Do not curb it. Also, remember, the teacher will know better means of dealing with your child. So, do not discourage her.
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Dr Priscilla J S Selvaraj