As a teacher, I believe that the collaboration between school and home is vital to students’ success. Hence, the opportunity to meet the parents or legal guardians of my students during parent-teacher conferences (PTCs) is something that I always look forward to.
This is the perfect time to discuss learners’ strengths and the areas for improvement, and to draw action items which can help them develop further. PTCs also give me a glimpse of the type of parents and the kind of environment that my students have — well, not because of me being nosy, but PTCs provide me a complete picture of my students which deepen my understanding of them, thus, helping me make informed decisions when planning lessons.
Based on the conversations from the PTCs I have had attended, I can’t help but notice the striking correlation that learners who performed well in their classes are the ones who are well-supported by their parents and who reside in a positive milieu.
Sad to say, many parents nowadays equate support with material things. I was appalled when one parent told me with conviction that he supports his child. He bought her the Macbook Air, an iPhone, and other gadgets that she wanted.
Seriously? How about giving her the things that money can’t buy, like time and attention? There are some parents who think that their absence can be replaced by showering their children with expensive stuff.
This kind of parents needs to have a paradigm shift and start realizing that making children happy doesn’t need to come with a price tag. Parents, I understand that you are busy growing wealth, because you would like to provide a comfortable life for your children. However, while it is true that bank accounts get fat, you are missing the milestones of your children and you cannot turn back the hands of time.
Another common scenario that I encounter during PTC is the comparison between siblings, especially if both of them are studying in the same school where one obviously outperformed the other.
I wonder if these parents have heard about the word ‘unique.’ Is it incomprehensible that the two have distinct personalities and capabilities? Why compare? Why say ‘be like your brother/sister?’ Please stop rubbing salt into the wound. Don’t lower the self-esteem of your other child which may even result to rivalry.
In addition, a father once told me that he knew why his daughter did not perform well. It was because the daughter was so hooked on social media, blah blah blah.
Although he has a valid point, it didn’t sit well with the daughter, because he sounded accusatory. What was supposed to be heartfelt turned into a you-versus-me act. Please avoid this sticky situation.
From the child’s standpoint, how could she trust herself to change for the better when her parents are even doubtful about her ability to change? Trust your children. Give them a second chance to learn from their shortcomings and build on that experience to be successful in school.
As human as you are, you also feel disappointed. That’s normal, but not to the extent that you give up on them. Please be the champion of your children.
Being the champion of your children doesn’t mean staging a war against the teachers. Remember, teachers are your allies and not your enemies. You have to strengthen your working relationship with them. After all, they fill in for you when you’re away which lasts for about one third of a day.
I know for a fact, too, that parents are parents no matter what. You love your children until the moon loses its footing in the sky. However, please don’t allow reversal of roles.
You can talk to your children in a friendly manner, but you cannot be treated the same way they treat their friends. You should not let your child control you to the point that you cannot do anything when he decides to lock himself up in his room. Draw the line.
Furthermore, many believe that numbers don’t lie, but please don’t allow your children be defined by just numbers. I am not sure if you heard about the adage: “It’s not about the destination but it’s the journey which matters.”
Yes, marks are important, because they are indicators of success, but much more important than that is the process of how your children acquire knowledge and how they develop the skills which will serve as foundations of their future learning. Give credit where credit is due. Appreciate improvements no matter how small they are.
Support is not just tantamount to putting food on the table, sending your children to exclusive schools, and providing them dwellings. Your role as parents is much bigger than that.