THE OPEN HAVERSACK: Parents in control?
Parents and teachers share responsibility for creating a working relationship that fosters the learning of children. It is great to have a high level of parental involvement in a school but this involvement becomes a problem when some parents want to take control of the classroom and tell teachers what to teach, when to teach and how to teach.
There are some parents who are bent on breaking as many school rules as they can. They have no regard whatsoever for the policies set out by the school, and that is cause for concern.
Some go further and want to tell the teachers how much homework to give and when to give it, what form of discipline they should use and how it should be administered.
Do not get me wrong – it is all good to show a keen interest in the well-being of your children but leaves much to be desired when parents want to take control.
Between the hours of nine in the morning and three in the afternoon the school is in control of the education of your children. After three it is the role and responsibility of parents to influence the learning curve of children by working with them at home and giving them lifelong positive experiences.
At some point as parents you may have concerns about a particular situation at the school of your children. Do not charge into the classroom spewing fire from your nostrils and uttering oaths under your breath because you are upset about a situation. There is a right way to do things.
The best approach is to first address your complaints directly to the teacher either in person or by telephone in a civil manner. If you are still not satisfied, contact the principal. Warning: it is wrong and an offence to harass a teacher on the job. You could be charged.
Use class-level and parent-teacher meetings to voice your concerns. Please refrain from using schoolyards or bus stops for this discussion.
Stop criticizing teachers in front of your children. You confuse them and put them in a very bad position in the classroom since they pick up the disdain or frustration that you express about their school experiences. Something to think about: most young children tell their teacher what their parents say at home, so be aware and think.
Stop “parking” your children at the school until later in the day while you go to town and shop or stay home and find other forms of entertainment. Shape up and act responsibly.
Parents, love your children, care for them, be concerned about their growth, development and their school life but please allow teachers to teach and children to learn. Respect the work of teachers. Remember, teachers affect eternity.
• Rhonda A. Blackman is an educator, a National Development Scholar and former president of the Early Childhood Association of Barbados Inc.