Maintaining a good relationship with your child's teacher is more important than you think. Find out why it's important and what you can do to build this partnership.
By Kannalmozhi Kabilan
The early teens are never easy. It’s when the world of innocence gives way to a world where your friends are no longer friends; there’s name-calling, teasing and backbiting. It was no different for Anita Vasan’s 13-year-old daughter. She would wake up in the morning and refuse to go to school. Soon, it became a cause for concern and Anita was at her wits’ end not knowing how to handle the situation. She reached out to the principal of the school where her daughter was studying. Without complaining or pointing fingers at anyone, Anita sought guidance and support, so her daughter would learn to handle the situation by developing emotional strength. The Principal, in turn, understood Anita’s concern and acted quickly. He introduced her daughter to the school psychologist who helped her overcome her challenges and regain confidence.
A few months later, in the same school, there was another case of bullying. In this case, however, the parents, instead of seeking the school’s support, went on the attack mode. They accused the school, principal and teachers of being negligent and went on a rant against students they assumed were the bullies. Charges and accusations were traded, and soon, this led to an atmosphere of anger and mistrust. It became a no-win situation for the girl who was caught in the midst of this bitter dispute.
Same school, same authorities, yet one child benefitted, the other one was hurt even more. The difference is the attitude and reaction of the parents and teachers in handling the issues.
Importance of parent-teacher partnership
Collaborations, in any field, are made for the mutual benefit and betterment of all parties involved. Nothing proves it more than an efficient partnership between a parent and teacher in the education of their ward. “The parent is the teacher at home and the teacher is the parent in the school,” says Ezhil Uzhathi, teacher at one of the government schools in Chennai. “An actively involved parent helps make the child’s education truly wholesome and worthwhile. This kind of nurturing support from a parent not only positively influences the child’s academic achievements, but also enhances his overall growth and well-being,” she adds.
For a teacher, information about a child’s home environment helps structure her teaching methods to suit the child’s needs. For a parent, a clear picture of the child’s school environment helps contribute better to his education and grooming.
When things go wrong
By the time Harini’s son Kiran reached kindergarten, he was properly potty-trained. But, Harini noticed him returning home with soiled pants, day after day. Kiran claimed that his teacher didn’t let him use the bathroom when he asked. When Harini met the teacher to enquire about the issue, he explained that he did not allow multiple visits to the bathroom. The reason he gave was that children asked to make frequent visits to the bathroom only to kill time. When informed about the soiled pants, he immediately advised Harini to consult a doctor about her son. Disappointed with the off-hand reaction, Harini was forced to take the issue to the next level of authority.
Your child will be at the receiving end of such unpleasant consequences when the parent and teacher don’t see eye-to-eye. Complications between the two parties, ultimately, affect the child’s academic performance, involvement in school activities, interest in education and overall well-being. It's important for the parents to make an effort to see things from the perspective of the teacher.
Therefore, it is essential that parents and teachers work in tandem. And, such working together should begin right from the start of the new school year.
“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much,” said Helen Keller, who was fortunate to have a great teacher, Anne Sullivan. Yes, that’s what partnership is all about. So, here’s wishing a successful collaboration!
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