The best teachers always say that learn just as much from their students as their students do from them.
Which must make it all the more frustrating when they realize that most of the parents, who also are teaching those students, are working on a whole different curriculum.
The New York Times’ parenting and moming blog, The Motherlode, had an interesting article a while back about what teachers want to talk to parents about when it comes to the students. Teachers talking to parents would seem to be an automatic, but it’s not necessarily so.
I realize that to most of you this does not come as a surprise (but you might be surprised by how many people are going to be gobsmacked by the following fact), but students learn from teachers and parents at the same time. Despite what we parents might thing when we’re asking for the seventeenth time for our young dude to take out the garbage, the young ‘uns watch us like hawks and learn by watching what we do. We are teaching them all the time.
The best learning takes place when teachers and parents are working together to help the young dude or dudette discover the learner within. When parents and teachers are working at cross purposes, that does not happen. Sadly.
When parents don’t stress the importance of education, their young dudes and dudettes won’t think it matters all that much if they pay attention in class, or show respect to the teacher, or do their homework. And that, dudes, is bad news if we want kids to learn and progress during their education.
Don’t even get me started about the time I was subbing in a middle school for a week straight in the same class. I told the class all week that there would be a test on Thursday. One student missed the test on Thursday and returned to class on Friday. She had a note from her mom saying the student should be excused and allowed to take the test on her own time because Mom felt her daughter needed to go shopping on Thursday. Which taught that young lady exactly the wrong thing about education.
Teachers talking to parents can be stressful because both parties often have different starting points and, oddly, different goals.
See, parents want their kids to be loved for the very special little apples they really are. Teachers want the kids to be enthusiastic about learning, apply themselves, and progress cooperatively through the lessons.
You’d think those two paths would end up being parallel, but that’s often not the case. A loving parent who just knows his young dude is a special apple is going to find it hard to believe when his teacher says the student is disrupting the class or loudly telling everyone it doesn’t matter if they pass the test.
All of which can make for a difficult situation when parents and teachers have to work together for the betterment of the young dudes and dudettes in class.
So, as a public service, I thought I’d aggregate a couple of good bits of dialogue in which teachers talk to parents for you all to peruse.
Not now, of course. But come back tomorrow and we’ll talk a bit more.