Schools are in big trouble nowadays. Don’t worry, this is not a blog post about the failings of the school or how every parent should home-school (though I am a huge supporter of home-schooling). This is about the greatest problem facing teachers today; the age-old problem of parental opposition and/or denial.
Conflicts tend to be a part of our lives and for the most part, it is often inevitable. Dealing with conflict and disagreement effectively is half the battle and can create very positive outcomes. However, when conflict and disagreement is handled inappropriately, the outcome can be destructive and is rarely in the best interest of the child.
You may have a very valid concern about your child’s teacher. But take a moment and think about it. Every complaint a parent utters against their child’s teacher falls on their kids ever receptive ears, sprouting into the classroom as problems and disrespectful attitudes. After all, what kind of teacher assigns “too much homework” or “picks on only my child”? A parent who passes complaints on to her child is also likely to accept her child’s complaints as truth. When that child says these things such as, “my teacher is flunking me because she can’t teach” or “my teacher assigns things without telling me how to do them”, parents are quick to come to a defense against the teacher. We are all guilty as no mom ever wants to see their child suffer.
But God’s word is clear. “Do all things without complaining or disputing (Phil 2:14).”
So give your teacher a break! Keep your comments to yourself until you can voice them in a meaningful way at a conference with the teacher (without the child present). In addition, stay positive! Be careful not to undermine the teacher’s authority. Remember, your teacher wants the best for your child, too!
But here is the hard part: listen to the teacher. Work with your child’s teacher and not against them. Teachers have good and bad days too (we’re human) as does your child. We also need parents to step and help with responsibilities such as making sure the child has their homework done, has read their assignments, or quiz them on the upcoming test. Work with the teacher to prove they are not the two-headed monster your child has made them out to be.
Also, let the teacher know of any problems that may be happening at home. We don’t want to know your whole entire history, but if there are life changes or medical changes going on, it is extremely helpful for you teacher!
Instilling a love of learning is an important job for a teacher, however it starts at home. Here are some great ways to help your teacher and have fun as a family while learning at the same time.
1) Explore museums, the backyard, the park, and historical sites to turn learning into a fun hands-on activity.
2) Encourage reading time by reading every day with them or having them read to you.
3) Acknowledge your attitude about school, teachers, and homework. Notice what your child’s attitude is on these same issues. Talk about it.
4) Seek ways to verify child/teacher disputes before acting on them.
5) Pray with children before a big test, quiz, or difficult assignment.
6) Set aside homework time with no distractions (read: turn the TV off)!
7) Visit your child’s classroom to see the teacher/child interaction. Or visit as a volunteer parent during a party, or special event at the school.
8) Take time to ask your child what they like, don’t like, or what worries them about school.
9) Listen carefully so you may get the facts straight. Ask both your child and his teacher open-ended questions to fully understand a difficult situation. Ask for examples as well.
When both parties rely on each other to resolve their differences, it creates a better learning environment that will help every child be more successful.
An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest. – Ben Franklin