Written by Dr Priscilla J S Selvaraj and published on 29 June 2021.
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.
"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 just imparting knowledge but also molding character—is a very significant one.
As parents, we must want to have meaningful and amicable relationships with our children's teachers. But sometimes we endanger the relationships by the things we say to the teachers.
Here are 10 things your child's teachers would never like to hear you say to 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 mold your child's character. Therefore, your child's teacher is as invested in your child's well-being as you are.
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, avoid accusing the teacher of not doing his duty. Instead, have a respectful conversation about how you can work together.
4. "You know, this particular teacher is very..."
Complaining about another teacher is unethical and could earn disrespect from your child's 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!"
Parents share equal responsibility for their child's schoolwork. 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' is very rude and discourteous.
6. "My child couldn't have done this. Are you sure?"
The key to a good teacher-parent relationship is trust. It's natural that you may be upset about what the teacher reports to you. But to the teacher, trying to overprotect your child can appear as being uncooperative and unhelpful. Instead, you could respond with, "How can we help my child?"
7. "My child is no good. Do whatever you want with him. I just don't care."
Detaching yourself from your child means that you expect the teacher to be wholly responsible for your child. But if you work together with the teacher, your child feels supported and encouraged by two caring adults
8. "I don't know what you will do... all I want is for my daughter to score a centum in all subjects."
Again, asking the teacher to fulfill your expectations of your child is unfair. The teacher knows what your child is capable of and will help her do her best. Understand your child's potential and set realistic expectations to relieve her from due pressure and stress.
9. "My child is like that. Nothing can be done about it. Just ignore him."
A teacher feels responsible for her students and expects you to support her in helping your child. Giving up on your child makes him feel abandoned, making it more difficult for the teacher to work with a discouraged and neglected child.
10. "How did you ever get into teaching? It's such a rotten system!"
While you are entitled to your opinions about the education system, let's not be disrespectful to a teacher's choice of profession. Appreciating her role in teaching and guiding your child will encourage her to do her best as a teacher.
So it's quite clear that when parents and teachers collaborate the children have reason to cooperate and do the best they can at school.