How teachers and parents can team up

How teachers and parents can team up


How teachers and parents can team up

The nurturing-learning environment of the school and the healthy relationship between parents and teachers are crucial for the holistic development of students, opines Sonia P Thomas

While waiting near the principal’s office, I saw a student walking along with his parents towards the principal’s office. Most of the students and teachers were in the classrooms as it was already time for the first session. After a while, the class teacher of the sixth grade was called to the principal’s cabin at the behest of the parents.

As the teacher returned from the office, looked at me and said, “Now, teachers need counselling because students are not supposed to be corrected.” She updated me on the incident of the previous day. The student was corrected for misbehaving in the classroom saying, “Have you not learned how to behave?” The student narrated the incident to his parents, and their ego was hurt. The day breaks and the parents accompany the student to school to question and correct the teacher.

Shocked? Strange as ever, when teachers appreciate students, how many of the parents come to thank them for those great words? Whether you are a parent or a teacher, your primary intention should always be the integral formation of the student. The nurturing-learning environment of the school and the healthy relationship between parents and teachers influence the overall formation of students. The educational process shapes and designs the spiritual, emotional, intellectual and psychological development of a student.

What is the scenario today? A few decades ago, the formation of a student was entrusted with teachers. But today, teachers are sidelined by parents and guardians. Living in the fast changing digital world, students lack screening and pruning. Fascinated by the digital world that moves much faster than their conscious development, their innocent mind is vulnerable to potential pitfalls. As a result, the well-being of students decreases and the number of students who experience loneliness, depression, anxiety and suicidal tendencies is on the rise.

Every student needs guidance and assistance for self-formation. His or her emotional well-being may not improve through digital world and computer games. The plethora of information available to the students needs to be screened before reaching them. Students, specifically, need guidance in distinguishing the right and the wrong.

Changing times

A few decades ago education was not available to all. Many did not complete their studies, and many did not even go to school, but the values and formation of oneself was a priority. Old age homes, orphanages and sexual crimes were less in number. Men often worked in the agricultural settings, and women were usually homemakers and therefore, largely preoccupied with the raising of the children.

Here, again, many children went to school for a few years just to acquire basic survival skills of reading, writing and simple mathematics. Teachers were expected to transmit knowledge and discipline students. This was all recognised as right and fair. Parents rarely visited schools to discuss the student’s improvement or their troubles. Teachers were always right in the eyes of parents.

However, in the recent times, the equations have changed dramatically. Parents began to be part of the school and daily visitors to school to enquire on students’ progress. In addition, parents started to express their opinions and many find ways to defend their child in spite of the mistakes committed. Students get a chance to defend themselves rather than to mould their behaviour.

Unlike yesteryears, both parents are employed and find difficult to spend quality time with their children. Besides, to occupy them, many parents provide the most sophisticated electronic gadgets and video games. Weekends are mostly spent in shopping malls and theatres. The formation of a child is mostly decided by different gadgets and media. As a consequence, the self-formation of a student is neither happening at home nor in schools.

Teachers, today, are almost helpless in matters of discipline. They often fear the consequences of even a mild correction. Since such repercussion can be anything from a verbal confrontation to threats of a complaint, and the risks are high and the reward is minimum. This clearly lowers the motivation for teachers to discipline the students and form them as good citizens.

A spider’s web is incredibly fragile and yet so strong. But, no spider stops spinning because it gets blown away by the wind or destroyed by someone. The spider continues to web again. Then, it’s the responsibility of the parents and teachers to make sure students develop sufficient mental power to persist through struggles or daily challenges of growth.

If students do not get an opportunity to form their character, to refine their self, and practice the values of life, they will remain forever individualistic and not ignited. Parents and teachers need to be aware of the importance of students’ self formation and the importance of refining oneself in the development process.

A significant factor for improving the self formation of a student is a good collaboration between teachers and parents. Healthy collaboration between teachers and parents can bring not only successful school life, but also improvement in other areas of students’ life such as interpersonal relationship, emotional development of students, positive atmosphere, better conscious formation, perseverance, risk taking attitude, positive mindset and so on.

For better relations

With the primary goal being the self formation of a student, teachers and parents need to pay attention. However, creative teamwork with the active involvement of parents is the sole responsibility of the school authorities and teachers. They are educators and specialists in educational issues. So, it is the responsibility of the teachers to find ways to include parents in the school’s activities. Some of the ways are:

* Develop mutual trust: Unlike earlier times, parents are also qualified professionals today. Therefore, parents and teachers need to value each other’s opinion that work best for students’ growth.

* Student-centered discussion: Parents and teachers should always remember to conduct discussions on student-centred issues. Teachers and parents should work collaboratively to create the best plan that suits students’ personal development.

* Foster interpersonal relationships: Schools and teachers need to find ways to attract the participation of parents in school life to facilitate productive collaboration. Parents and teachers need to build mutual trust through interpersonal communication.

* Discussion forum: Create a parents’ association to share and discuss the needs and problems of parents in a mature manner.

* Decision-making: Include parents in the decision-making process regarding major changes and significant issues of the school.

* Partners: Treat parents as partners in the growth of the students and not as clients who are a threat.

* Training programmes: Conduct training programmes for parents and teachers based on the current needs and trends of the school.

Teachers should never give up on any issue. Instead, they should include parents as collaborators and not as inspectors. The digital world has made it easier for students to learn with devices now, but nothing can come close to the experience of being taught by an inspiring teacher.