Tuesday, September 16, 2008

How Are Parents Supporting Teachers?

Parents Supporting TeachersLately I've been sticking my neck out farther and farther on topics ripe for controversy and maybe this will be the time I go too far and lose what's attached but with the start of the new school year I've been thinking about teachers.

When I was a child--I am the oldest of six coming from two loving but strict parents--there was always one of us that was having trouble at school. We weren't necessarily being hauled down to the principle's office or anything but there was always someone with an "issue." Falling behind in homework, not paying attention in class, getting poor grades, not liking his or her teacher, acting up in class, at any given time it was pretty much guaranteed that one of us would be in a "phase" which translated into work and attention from Mom.

While I had no doubt that my parents loved me I also had no doubt that if I ever came home with a note from my teacher ratting me out for something I'd done at school I could expect Big Trouble. If I came home looking for sympathy against a teacher who'd punished me or given me a bad grade or even just didn't like me it was guaranteed that I wouldn't find an ally at home.

This may sound heartless (and I tell you I sure thought it was at the time) but as an adult I quickly saw the wisdom of my parents' actions. If there was a conflict between me and my teacher it was a given that my parents would side with the teacher, telling me that they loved me dearly, felt very sorry for my troubles but that I'd have to deal with what was happening. In essence, "Stop whining and get past it."

And oddly enough now as a mother of my own four kids I've found myself taking the same approach.

Does this mean that my children think I don't love them? Of course not, I have many ways I show my devotion to their happiness and well-being. Does it mean I would ignore hints of abuse in the classroom? Absolutely not--such behavior is not to be tolerated and unfortunately parents must guard their children against that kind of thing all too often.

But it does mean I won't treat my children's teachers as adversaries, nor will I berate them in front of my children or take my child's side when something doesn't go their way. Why not? Well I'm glad you asked because I'll tell you.

Promoting Maturity
Part of my job as a raiser of children is to train them into maturity. They come to me immature and when they go off to seek their fortunes 18 years later hopefully they've attained the ability to think for themselves, handle difficult situations and work hard to achieve goals.

If I swoop in and fight their battles for them then they'll never learn to do it for themselves and I've failed in my job. As long as they're not being threatened physically I feel it's in their best interest not to make their path in life easier and more comfortable by going to bat for them over unpleasantness with the teacher. Dealing with difficult situations and figuring how to survive things that don't go your way is how we grow and if I deny my children the experience by taking care of problems for them it's like stunting their emotional and social growth.

Promoting a Realistic View of Life
Is there anyone who has been to college who loved every one of their professors, who never had an unfair grade given to them and never had to figure out how to tolerate a boorish or irritating lecturer? I'm expecting that my children will one day enter college and if I run to the elementary school every time one of my kids has a less-than-stellar experience with a teacher what will they do when they get to college? Call me up and ask me to go talk with the dean because Professor Jones was being mean? Beg me to complain about the grade they received? Come crying that life isn't fair and they're being bullied? While we sometimes tolerate that behavior in a six year old in an adult it's debilitating.

What about the work force? Is there any office anywhere on earth where everyone lives together in perfect harmony? No matter where we go in life we bump into other people with difficult personalities and irritating behaviors--it's just life. It might even be that we're the ones who are irritating but at some point each person has to learn how to deal with people who don't like them, who are unfair or hard to work with and without this important life lesson we'd walk around whining about how unjust the world is and how people are out to get us. My kids don't need a victim mentality, I want them to be the ones in control of their lives and not at the mercy of their circumstances.

Promoting Authority in the Classroom
I'm not the only adult in my children's lives and I feel strongly that they must learn to respect other adults besides their parents. Children's television and movies seem bent on portraying adults as idiots and ineffectual leaders so that it's easy for children to go along with what they're being taught and think that the grown ups in their lives are nothing more than comic relief.

My children must learn to obey not just my rules but the rules of other adults and to treat the other authority figures in their lives--namely teachers--with respect. It may be that you get a teacher who deserves very little respect but nonetheless children need to at least respect the position if not the person. How I treat those teachers in front of my children will make a big difference in how my children respond to them and with 25 kids in a classroom the last thing a teacher needs is one more child who says, "You're not the boss of me." As far as I'm concerned, for those hours of public education the men and women behind the desks are most definitely the bosses of my child and the sooner my kids learn this the better.

There may be times in a child's life when they're struggling with learning disabilities that keep them from progressing--maybe they're not getting the proper diagnosis and help they need--I ran into something similar in a small way last year. For years David spoke with a big fat side lisp rather like Sylvester the Cat. I left things alone to see if he'd outgrow it but when it became apparent he wasn't going to I asked his teacher about my options.

Though I thought his teacher was generally a wonderful educator she did nothing. I spoke to someone else but was ignored, no one did anything and every time I brought the subject up it was forgotten as soon as I was out of the room. I'd like to think it's not because they didn't care or that they wanted to make life hard on David--I'm sure it was a matter of it being on a long list of items the teacher had to work on for the whole group, it was simply at the bottom of the list.

I finally insisted that he be evaluated and when someone finally listened and assigned David a wonderful speech therapist it was all of four months before he was speaking as correctly as the rest of us.

Now if I'd sat back and done nothing I suspect that's exactly what would have happened--nothing. Sometimes a parent needs to get involved in order to get their child the help they might need--after all, their parents do know their child the best. The trouble comes when parents go into that "Hockey Dad" mentality to treat teachers as adversaries or idiots, letting their children know that the teacher's rules are optional and that if the child misbehaves it doesn't matter what the school might say, the parent will absolve Johnny of responsibility for his actions by fighting to nullify the consequences of those actions.

When this is what a child sees they learn that they can get away with whatever they want as long as mom and dad are there to believe them and back them up. That's just not the kind of education my kids need--and it's not the kind of person the world needs. If we want better results in the classroom then we need to provide back up for those who are spending the time in the trenches. If it were me facing 25 kids every day I would be grateful for an ally or two.

***

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63 comments:

chelle said...

I couldn't agree more!

Robin said...

I think there's a HUGE difference between being a championing and advocating for your child, which both teaches and empowers them, and being a helicopter parent, which disempowers or even emasculates them.

When will they learn to take (age-appropriate) responsibility for themselves if not while they're at home, with parents who are supposed to be teaching them exactly that.

Linds said...

I cannot agree more. As a parent, I did exactly this, and I now have 3 grown up children, who can cope with life admirably, thank you. And as someone who has been in those trenches in recent years, can I say that I wish this could be handed to all parents on day one to read and absorb. Teachers have no authority at all in 21C schools, and the kids know just that. Anarchy rules. Simply because the children think they are answerable to no-one. "You can't make me " is a standard answer. And when you meet the parents, you know why.
Excellent post!

SuburbanCorrespondent said...

John Rosemond goes on at length about this. I do feel sorry for teachers - they often are caught between a rock and a hard place. My best friend has a son who is obnoxious and rude to adults; yet when the teacher mentioned this on his quarterly report, my friend shrugged it off as a "personality conflict." Aaaargh.

Stephanie said...

As a former teacher, all I can say is, "I love you!" :)

(Especially as I am enjoying some delicious strawberry jam for breakfast. THANKS!)

SuziD said...

As a former Community College instructor all I want to say is I wish more of my students had parents like you. Too many were 19, with the coping skills of a 12 year old. It was interesting to see the relationship between their level of academic (not to be confused with rote book learning) skills and maturity. To any new parents out there, remember success is built on failure and you only fail when you don't try, so let little Johnny or Joan try and fail than encourage them to try again.

Lis Garrett said...

Robin took the words exactly out of my mouth.

I spent ALL of last year advocating for Jacob and ALL of last year trying to get down to the root cause of Hannah's extrememly diminished self confidence.

While my issues with Jacob revolved around a school district that just couldn't seem to get its act together when evaluating and offering theraputic services (which have been resolved for this school year), my issues with Hannah stemmed from a teacher who couldn't see the bullying going on right under her nose, even when multiple parents brought it to her attention.

While I know we won't always have a positive experience with teachers, that particular one was a bad apple. And yet, I maintained a very polite and professional demeanor when speaking with her. The teacher is no longer working at that school, by the way.

In neither case would my children have been able to handle the situation, and I was prepared to step in. And while I'm not one to run to their defense with every slight, there are times, like you stated, when you just have to intervene.

My kids know that when they are at school, the teacher is the one to whom they answer. BUT - the teachers also know that I am a VERY involved parent. We are a team, in my opinion, and we work together.

Tim Appleton (Applehead) said...

I was going to say what my wife said, but I didn't think that would be appropriate...whatever. As another former teacher, I concur.
I love you.

The Source said...

Wonderful post. Yesterday one of my twins said something completely out of character at school and while the teacher did not hear him, several other boys did. (It was not about the teacher, but about a classmate who had been picking on his brother...no excuse, but he lost his temper.) He came home very upset because he was afraid she would find out and punish him. He's also very remorseful because his teacher likes him and had just sent a note home praising his pleasant, respectful attitude...and now what will she think of him?! He feels that he let her down as well as himself. He's been punished at home, but he will have to deal with the consequences at school. I'm betting no more foul lanugage will come from his 11 year old mouth.

Flea said...

Amen and amen!

My kids are a little different from the others in class, in that I homeschooled for 9 nine years and last year sent them to 4th, 7th and 8th grade for their first "real" school experiences. It was not at all the traumatic shock any of us thought it would be. It ROCKED.

My 4th grader I had to request testing for. He has some learning issues. But I didn't have to pester. The key was being involved with him here at home and communicating with his teacher. Not just about his problems, but helping her do her job more effectively. And staying out of the classroom directly. Not letting my child see me.

We started telling our children the first day of school last year, whenever they'd complain about something, that the real world wasn't going to be any kinder. We'd give them counsel on how to handle themselves, like I hope their adult friends will do eventually, but did our best not to step in.

And when the 7th grader's teacher - who deserved virtually no respect - called to tell me my son was standing and dropping books from shoulder height to hear them smack the floor? I had him give my son the phone and gave him an earful of mom's wrath. Respect that teacher, son. And apologize immediately.

Ugh. Parenting is hard.

Mina Jade said...

I have a rather bad opinion about schools, I must admit. I think many teachers often cannot handle just the most talented children. (By the way, talented chidren are more problematic than the less intelligent ones.)

An acquaintance of mine - an author, his IQ score is about 170, rather impressive - was a problematic student and failed at college, but he is one of the most intelligent person who I have ever knew.

Kellie Buckner said...

I enjoyed your post a lot. My dad is a teacher and was in administration until he retired. After he retired he realized he was bored and decided to go back to teaching. I did a lot of substitute teaching for the years before my kids were born. There is an unfortunate lack of partnership between teachers and parents in the area I substituted (part of this is because of cultural differences). Many of the teachers I've seen and interacted with have completely given up on their students as a whole. This creates effects such as student apathy in their own personal education, the education of their classmates, lack of respect for their teachers, and lowers the self respect of the students.

It's so important that if a parent notices an apathetic, overworked, impatient teacher, that the parent reaches out and says, "What can I do with my child to make it easier for you in the classroom?" Hopefully there will be an administrator in the school that the parent can talk with as well.

calicobebop said...

Love the post and whole-heartedly agree.

Scribbit said...

I should mention to--for those that may not agree with me--that I've generally been very happy with the quality of teachers my children have had so far. We're half done with the "kids in school" phase of life and so far the teachers are attentive and helpful and sincere in wanting to do their best for the children. This may color my feelings a bit--having a nasty conflict with the system would probably give me a slightly new angle from which to view things and would certainly make it harder to support a teacher.

Robin--that helicopter parenting you mention is just amazing. I was reading an article a few months back that talked about how it's becoming more common for parents to accompany children to college and job interviews, answering questions for them. As you mentioned, Robin, "age-appropriate" is the key. You don't want to throw them in the deep end and say "learn to swim."

Magi said...

I'm a high school teacher. I teach business and computer classes. My students can range from 14 to 19, in the same class.

I can tell you from my personal experience that the single most defining characteristic between students who succeed and students who don't is parental involvement.

One of the saddest things I see are students who've been taught that education isn't important. "You don't need school to get a job at the factory." I'd love to say that line is an exaggeration but it is a quote from a custodial grandmother regarding her granddaughter. If the parent/guardian doesn't value education and teachers, the child will not either.

There are exceptions, but most children do not have the tools to rise above their circumstance. Instead, they are left behind.

verygoodyear said...

I have every intention of supporting my children's teachers, and promoting them as authority figures that need to be respected. My mother was never one to stand for me whining about school; she was never one of those PTA moms that got together with the other PTA moms in some sort of "we are the matriarchs" union. As much as I'd love to be involved as a chaperone on field trips and help with bake sales or whatnot, I am putting my child's future in the hands of these adults and if I'm not 1000% behind them, I'm not doing anyone any good.

Debbie said...

Excellent post. I've heard terrible, upsettingly rude things come out of children at school about how their parents feel concerning the teachers. Not only do they not model support for the teachers, they apparently model blatant disrespect.

Anjali said...

This is a wonderful post, and I couldn't agree more. I suspect I'm one of the few parents that doesn't email the teacher unless I have to tell them about a doctor's appointment.

CassyT said...

Debbie said-
"They apparently model blatant disrespect."

I could not agree more and I loved teaching third grade. Parents forget that their children will tell a teacher *ANYTHING*. "Daddy's living in the poolhouse" "My mom said I don't have to do any reading at home." "Mom says you just don't like me."

As to helicopters, I actually watched a parent show up at lunch and spoon feed her 4th grader. Ick!

Final note - Most teachers know who you parents are and even though we are so thankful, sometimes we forget to mention it because we are being pestered by "Jimmy's" dad who is too busy bullying us to realize that his son has trouble making friends at school.

tjhirst said...

I'm now experiencing this same dilemma from the teacher point of view. It is difficult to set forth expectations in a classroom today with the culture of diminishing authority that you write about, especially with teenagers. I've discovered some parents who talk to their children an insist that these expectations be met and there are other parents who tell me, He can't or won't do it and expect the teacher to change, not the student. When that happens, it puts the teacher/student relationship from the stat in a defensive mode, which really isn't ever conducive to learning.

Sheri said...

I agree with you. I've always told my the same, the teachers have the final word and I will back up the teacher. They've never had a problem, hopefully in part because we've taught them to respect adults.

With that said, we had an incident the 2nd day of school this year, I blogged about it,where I felt the teacher used very bad judgment and made a very quick, incorrect assessment of my son, and was threatened some pretty severe consequences. After years of "not getting involved", I had to email her. It was a mild email, but I wanted her to know my son was not and had never been a trouble maker, and that she would realize that. A few weeks after I sent the email we had school open house, she couldn't really visit with me, too many people around, but she pulled me aside and said thank you, that my email was right and that he was a "total blessing" (her words). It was just a shotgun judgment, which I understand, but I was very concerned about the consequences so I felt I needed to let her know, as parents we are involved and vigilant.

It was hard for me to email her, but I felt in that case she was so far off base, it was important to show my son we supported him, and to let her know we were concerned.

So, I do agree with you, but now I've learned that, like everything else, there will be exceptions to the hard fast rules I've set,lol.

Jordan (MamaBlogga) said...

My mother was a classroom teacher (7th grade English) for . . . I don't know, six or seven years. The lack of support from parents (an inner city school) was shocking and disheartening (my mom was room mom, PTA president, book fair coordinator, etc. etc. etc.).

As other people have mentioned, teachers can sometimes be in the wrong. When my sister was 7, she thought she was about to miss the bus home and began crying. Her assistant teacher called her a crybaby. My mother wrote her a well-deserved reprimand.

Growing up, none of us really got in trouble at school, so it was actually more frequent that my mother had to advocate for us (and let me say, again, Ms. Library Assistant, I didn't check out the cowboy book you say I lost in the fourth grade!!!).

JENNIFER said...

SIGH.....we should truly be best friends. I feel exactly the same way. Too many people try to create utopia for their children and sadly life never cooperates with the utopia thing:)

Nate and Stacia said...

Wow! My husband and I have some opinions on schooling that the rest of the world doesn't seem to agree with anymore. My mother-in-law is a school teacher so we get to see both sides of it. I have been trying to put my opinions into words for the longest time and now you have done it! I couldn't have said it better myself!

Kelly @ Love Well said...

Amen.

There is a balance here. But too many parents today automatically side with their child over the authority figure.

Just one more reason you couldn't pay me enough to teach in the public school system.

planetnomad said...

I love it when you get on your soapbox! And, once again, I totally agree with you.

32 Flavors said...

I couldn't agree more. It is a fine line to walk between letting our children take responsibilities for themselves and stepping in and helping them when they are not yet capable of doing that for themselves. I see so many "helicopter parents" it makes me wonder what their children will be like as adults...as for me and mine, independence and accountability.

Erin said...

Way to go! Thank you for voicing what so many of us parents feel. My child is too young for school but I taught for years before I started staying home. I once received a call from a parent for "my side of the story." That was a sad day in my career. Teachers do need to be held accountable but also need that crucial support from parents!

Leslie said...

My parents and your parents sound very similar and I am predicting that I will be very much like you are. My oldest is only in Kindergarten at this point, but I hope to be supporting her education by supporting her teacher and helping her prepare for college and really...life in general. Thanks for your insights!

MommyTime said...

Thank you for this post. Thank you. As a college professor, I can tell you that in fact, we DO sometimes get calls from people's parents complaining that we were being "unfair" or "grading too hard" etc. etc. Seriously. I once had a grade grievance hearing in which a student who had clearly been cheating on multiple-choice tests all semester (no need for details; trust me, it was incontrovertible evidence) brought her MOTHER to the hearing and tried to have the woman intervene with me, and I was literally asked, sternly, whether I had a written policy against cheating on my syllabus. I kid you not.

Parents who hover and "protect" do all the disservices you suggest by making it completely impossible for their children ever to take responsibility for their own actions, not to mention undermining the education, authority, and experience of the teacher by automatically taking the child's side in a dispute.

I'm so glad you wrote this -- and glad to see so many of your readers agree.

Chrissy Johnson said...

Right on! Very eloquent!

Shannon said...

This is one of the best posts I've read Michelle. I have echoed almost all these sentiments at one time or another.

I worked as a counselor for almost 10 years before becoming a SAHM. For part of that time, I worked in a juvenile halfway house.

I say without reservation that one of the most debilitating things I witnessed parents do to their children on a regular basis was enable them when they should have been holding them accountable.

It's an incredible disadvantage to children when their parents fall into this trap.

LK said...

YES!!!!!! Seriously, I feel like you may be a mentor and I may become you in a few years (four kids and all)! I can't believe the fortuitous timing of this post--I JUST wrote something along the same lines in my own. AND I just wrote a note to the teacher outlining the change in regime we had a home and that my husband and I will fully support and defend any decisions she makes or consequences she enacts as a result of my child's behavior in her classroom. Essentially, letting the poor woman do her job without pushy, overbearing parents in her hair.

I want to hug you right now.

Jen at Semantically driven said...

I agree wholeheartedly with you here Michelle. My son has been in his fair (probably more) share of trouble this year and he's also been in trouble with me as a result of it. There's only once that I might have said something against the school, but I'm very careful about it now.

I'm also being his advocator and getting him some help he needs both in the school and outside it.

I don't think it does any good to mollycoddle because, as you say, they have to face similar situations throughout their lives.

Alison said...

Most teachers are doing a good job under challenging circumstances. I only homeschool 2 kids and that is enough challenge most days!

When my kids were in school I felt it was my job to support the system. When I decided that the system, as is, could not support the type of education I wanted for my children I decided to homeschool them. Schools and teachers can't accommodate every little need a child may have. What is the point in undermining a teacher's authority? That does not serve anyone well.

I could hardly believe the parents who would come in with great regularity to question the teacher, and disagree with what the teacher was doing, at the start of the day. How can a teacher do their job if they are busy talking with parents.

Schools are an imperfect system. If you don't like the system you can either leave it or advocate to change it. Advocating with an individual teacher is rather pointless IMO.

all over the map said...

I'm completely impressed with this post. It was so well written and you gave such clear examples.
I think it's so important to equip our children with tools they can use when they leave the house. It's so important for their well being and happiness. I know it's so cliche but it is true that when we grow older (and wiser) and have children we better understand our parent's ways.

Kim said...

I so agree with you!

I am a PTA mom (President, no less, maybe I can be the VP one day. NOT!) But, I am not one of those PTA moms who thinks that because I am involved and because I do so much for the school that my kids need to be treated special. Not in the least. I believe that if my kids are caught doing something out of line they need to suffer the consequences. That said, not one of them has ever been sent to the office.

I even had an occasion this school year where my 8th grader was failing to do his homework on the fourth day of school, so I took him to the office myself and let the assistant principal tell him how it is going to be. I stood there while she showed him what "assume the position" was and what it meant.

I do have one board member who thinks that being a helicopter is what is going to get her kids through. I am not even sure if she is not the one doing their homework, since she always refers to it as "we are doing homework."

Great post and I am happy that everyone seems to agree with you.

Written tonight from Ashburn, VA where we are evacuated due to Hurricane Ike.

Mirien said...

No controversy here! I have the same philosophy. When the teachers feel our support and know we're sympathetic to the demands and expectations placed on them, they are so much more willing to step in and help if our children need extra intervention. The children of combative parents often don't get the same attention, and those parents just don't understand why. Thanks for speaking up!

~TAMY 3 Sides of Crazy~ said...

Well said Michelle - AMEN!

Rhonda said...

Truer words have never been spoken. I always tell my kids that should a note come home...with "issues" they caused, that teacher/principal will be the least of their worries.

Laura said...

you and i think alike on this so much. over the years i have put upon similar expectations with all 5 of my children and school. it might appear to them that their teacher is not fair, nice or whatever but their teacher is the authority, the boss if you will, in their classroom and they are expected to do their very best to meet their boss' expectations. i see, especially with my older children, a sense of entitlement and lack of responsibility for their own actions among their peers. i believe a lot of this stems from the parenting where the little darlings are never bad, never wrong; it is always the teacher who is unreasonable and picking on them. at some point in their lives mommy and daddy can't come to the rescue and what will they do then when the college prof trashes their paper or the boss passes over them for the promotion they feel entitled to? these kids are in for a helluva letdown and it is because their parents let them down all along.
great post!

SabineM said...

I agree with you 100% and if I were still teaching I would also add "Ha if only MORE parents were like you!"

Mina Jade said...

I still could say the same I have said before. I tell honestly that I refused to go to school ever again, I have bad experiences about the teachers incompetence. They should be much more open-minded. There are some institutes like Waldorf schools or similar schools, but who could afford that?

Carinne said...

I totally agree with you. However, I think SOME teachers and schools are partly to blame for this problem. My kids' school is great - I really do like it. However, they are very forceful in making sure that parents know they are expected to volunteer and help in the school. They want parents in the class room and helping with bake sales and going above and beyond the normal "driving for field trips." It breeds an environment of hovering parents. I believe strongly in sending my kids to school and letting the teachers be in charge at that point. I get involved when I want clarification. I want to know if there is a problem with one of my kids. I also get involved if I'm concerned about a general policy or some such thing. Other than that - I want the teachers to teach my kids.

kkryno said...

Both of my daughters are teachers and I have to say they love their jobs. There is a real lack of parental involvement, which frustrates them both immensely. I know some of this can be attributed to two income families; however parents must make the time to instill a certain level of expectation of performance and ethical behaviour on both the students and teachers. I totally agree with allowing the child to find their own acumen and confidence, paired with an awareness that they should respect positions of authority. I also am a firm believer in "having their back" as well, so the lines of comunication must be open between parent and child. They HAVE to know that you will be in their corner, even if they do wrong. They will have to face the consequences of their actions, but have you to support them mentally should the falter.

Beth said...

You nailed it! I think overprotective parents are responsible for the attitudes of many of our youth today. So many of them have this false sense of entitlement because that's all they've ever known. Good for you for teaching your children how to work through their own issues instead of waiting for you to fight their battles for them!

Penny Ryder said...

By the looks of all the comments you got for this, I don't think you really need mine. But as a teacher I DO THANK YOU. We do need the support AND we also need to remember that parents are the experts on their own children. Too often we give the impression that we 'know it all'.

Org Junkie said...

I absolutely agree with this, every word of it. As a very active member of the PAC I know how much the teachers need us to work with them not against them.

Pamela said...

YES! YES! YES! YES!

(That's what I was shouting in my head as I read your post. The little boys are sleeping so I couldn't actually shout it.)

Motherhood for Dummies said...

I totally agree. It is all about finding balance. Being a parent that can let a child handle situations on their own and then stepping in during the situations where a child may need help. It is true... there are some poor teachers, but I didn't like all on mine and guess what... I had to deal with it. Just like there are people are jobs, church, play groups that people might not like... and we have to deal with it. Education is important, but I think kids learn something bad when everytime a teach does something they don't like their parent goes in and deals with them.

Sharlene said...

Thank you for blogging about this. I am so sick of parents defend their children's wrongdoings. There is always and excuse or someone else to blame. Heaven forbid little darling messed up.

Headless Mom said...

Exactly the reasons that I don't request teachers. They need to learn how to deal with all kinds of people, and the sooner the better.

Thanks for posting this!

thepipers said...

My father was a teacher for 30 years and recently retired. By the end of his career, he was so weary with parents constantly harping on him for the decisions he had made as a teacher, perceived as "against" their child. It got to be pretty ridiculous in a couple of cases.

Now my sister is a teacher, in her 5th(?) year. She is always telling me stories of parents who immediately side with their children, who do not trust her as an educator (though she is trustworthy), and do very little to actually empower their children because they fight all the battles for them, as you have said.

These children are not learning to stand on their own two feet whatsoever. It's very sad.

What a compelling post!

Jen said...

As a teacher in training i find your post on the mark! Some parents need (obviously some already rise to the occasion) to stop expecting teachers to parent their children for them. Parental responsibilities don't stop when children start school!

Aelwyn said...

Another former teacher thanks you! I loved working with students, but some, not all, parents quickly stole some of the joy of teaching. On the other hand, a few parents really were supportive and, joy of joys, even expressed thanks at times or volunteered their help.

Andrea said...

Hear Hear! We of course need to be advocates for our children, but snowplowing all of the bumps in the road so that life runs smoothly will not teach them how to survive in the world. My kids know that trouble at school means bigger trouble at home.

Capital City Mama said...

As a teacher and a parent, I could not agree more! Great post.

Jenn said...

I am hearing you loud and clear. I just attended a Back to School night at my kids' school. I was surrounded by parents who were more concerned with their kid's social life than with their education. These moms were texting while the teacher spoke, rolling their eyes, mumbling under their breath, and offended that their child would have to read 20 minutes a day. Thank goodness the kids were not there. It isn't hard to see why the kids don't respect the authority of the teacher, some of their parents don't either! Thank you for this post, I couldn't be more pleased with your opinion, and how well you articulated it!

Mama Luxe said...

Add me to the former teacher brigade chorus of AMEN!

I want parents to take an interest in their child's education, but the attitude that their child can do no wrong just has to go.

Sometimes there is an extreme situation and the parent needs to step in...but most of the time the parent needs to just listen to the child and then offer suggestions as to how to approach the teacher.

Most teachers WANT their students to succeed...so there really should be a way for everyone (parents, teachers, and students...and even, gasp, administrators) to work together towards the same goal.

The problem often arises, IMO, when a parent sees success as a spotless report card and the teacher sees it as learning.

Lisa @ Stop and Smell the Chocolates said...

I completely agree with you and applaud you for this post!!

Alice Wills Gold said...

I'm the 61st person to comment...and you reply to everyone...you are seriously insane...don't reply to me..really...I would love to save you a little work today.

I could not agree more with everything that you said...and I didn't even read the whole thing he he

Confidence said...

wow great blog I learned alot from it

momto2boys said...

I agree with absolutely everything you said with one exception. You said you take the teacher's side and not your childrens'. I disagree. Based on everything you said, I'd say you take your childrens' side by guiding them to work out their own problems and giving them the tools they need for the future.