Since time immemorial, teachers have made invaluable contributions towards nation-building by educating children. It’s time we understood what teachers expect from us to help them do their duty well.
By Arun Sharma
“GururBrahma GururVishnu GururDevo Maheshwaraha
Guru Saakshaat ParaBrahma Tasmai Sri Gurave Namaha” — Guru Stotram
“A load of books does not equal one good teacher.” — Chinese proverb
Both the Guru Stotram and the Chinese proverb extol the virtues of a teacher and help us understand the vital role a teacher plays in moulding a child into an asset for the society. However, changing times and values are gradually driving a wedge between parents and teachers, and the child. As a result, unfortunately, very few parents are willing to acknowledge the fact that teachers need their support to perform their duty to perfection. It would help if parents understood teachers’ expectations from them.
Read on to understand what teachers, in general, expect from parents.
1. “Trust and respect us”: Even with a teacher trying her best, a child may face certain setbacks or difficulties. For example, he may perform badly in a subject (sometimes more than one) or get into trouble with his peers. Teachers would like parents to remember the fact that no teacher ever wants a pupil to do badly or face problems. Parental actions like blaming the teacher or getting into an argument with her not only undermine the teacher’s authority, but also creates a chasm in the relationship between the teacher, and the parent and child. So, trust the fact that a teacher would do everything within her powers to set a child on the path to a bright future. Express your respect by accepting even critical feedbacks in the right spirit and offering to work with the teacher to set things right.
2. “Be involved and responsible”: Entrusting the responsibility of your child’s education to a teacher doesn’t mean that you can absolve yourself of the onus of your child’s academic performance. For, parental involvement and a child’s academic performance are interlinked. So, make it a point to sit with your child while he is doing his homework, check his notes and diary every day, urge him to read more, and encourage him to communicate with you. Show your responsible side by allaying any fears your child may harbour regarding academics or school, attending to signs of troublesome behaviour, and not packing him off to school when he feels unwell.
3. “Communicate with us”: An adverse feedback or the child getting into some trouble shouldn’t be the only reason for parents to show up at school. Teachers are more than happy to spare a few minutes to update parents about their child’s progress and sort out any issues that may have arisen. You can open communication channels with teachers by attending parent–teacher meets, and maintaining contact through phone calls or by exchanging messages through the pupil’s diary. Not only does it help the child do well but also cements the parent–teacher–child bond.
“The communication between a parent and a teacher most often ends up in an argument because the teacher has something to say and the parent has something to defend. But it could be benefitting if both have the child as the crux of the matter. It is the issue that is of concern and not the child.” — Ruth Anand, educationist, Chennai
4. “Don’t compare but extend support”: Categorising and comparing to determine how we fare against others is irresistible to human nature. While comparing comes naturally to us, numerous scientific studies have revealed that comparing children with others affects them in many adverse ways. So, have reasonable expectations from your child. And, when she falters or stumbles in her attempts, instead of comparing her with others to make a point, extend your support and encouragement. Guide your child in discovering her passions and motivating her to achieve them. This would reflect on her academic performance as well.
5. “We are parents too”: Parents worry about their children when they send them off to school. However, they fail to take note of the fact that, along with being an educator, most teachers are parents as well. As a result, teachers can visualise both a student and a child in those they teach. Not only does this help teachers understand a child’s personality, just as parents do, but also guide her towards making the best use of her potential.
Sandra B. Loughran published a study titled, ‘The Importance of Teacher/Parent Partnerships: Preparing Pre-Service And In-Service Teachers’, in the Journal of College Teaching & Learning (2008). According to her, “The function of a good parent-teacher relationship is much more than just a vehicle for status reports from teacher to parents on a child’s performance or behavior. It is really a partnership providing two-way information flow from the teacher to the parents about the child’s classroom achievements and persona and from the parent to the teacher about the complementary elements in the home environment.”
We hope that reading this article would have helped you understand what every teacher desires from parents. And, now that you understand your child’s teachers a little better, it would pave the way for a more fruitful parent–teacher relationship, and a happier child.
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