Good parent teacher relationship : some helpful tips

Has it ever occurred to you that teachers are spending almost as much waking time with children as are their parents? Good parent teacher relationship is therefore absolutely important in order to ensure the best all round development of the child.

Teachers were once very highly respected in society. Parents listened to them and there was usually a good rapport between the home and the school. Over time, this feeling of good will have been eroded to the extent that there is more animosity between these two groups than corperation. From my point of view, this is more to the detriment of the student and later the society, than its betterment.

In order to change this, here are some tips for a better relationship between parents and teachers.

Get to know the teacher

In the days when corporal punishment was still allowed in school, my parents – especially my father – would visit the school every so often. As a matter of fact, on a daily basis, either he, or my mom would come to the school, set up a stall and sell condiments, ice cream and snow cone to students and staff. So they were pretty well-known around the school. While my mom was basically an introvert, my dad made friends quite easily, so he came to know a lot of my teachers.

That had its benefits and it’s drawbacks. It was quite easy for them to talk to him if I misbehaved in school – something that I very seldom did. At the same time, it was very easy for them to find out how I was progressing in my academics. My father had a high regard for teachers and the trust that he placed in them by allowing them to look after me for at least six and a half hours every day.

As a result, he would often tell the most trusted ones – most times they were the real disciplinarians on the compound – that if I stepped out of line, feel free to apply the rod. Thank God that that never materialized but those teachers always took the opportunity to remind me that they had my father’s approval to do the needful if it became necessary.

This was because he had gotten to know them, built a trusting parent teacher relationship with them and so viewed teachers as an extension of himself when I was not in his presence.

If as a parent, teachers are only seen as robotic dispensers of information, then it would always be easy to be antagonistic toward them. I have often asked myself why parents take such an anti-teacher stance in today’s society. One of the reasons that I have come up with is that most times, the teacher shows them their short comings when it comes to an aspect of their child training.

So, the student is disrespectful to the teacher and the teacher seeks to correct her. No one, without the right attitude, takes correction easily. Especially if it is done in front of their peers. We lash out, seeking to hurt the one who provided the correction. The student goes home and relates an incident to the parent and without hesitation, the parent descends on the school, ready to destroy the teacher who dared to correct their child.

I have witnessed cases where parents and or guardians (grandparents, siblings) have visited schools and turned the administrative area and or the wider compound into a cussing arena. I have also heard of incidents where parents have physically assaulted teachers, going as far as wounding them. This should not be.

You know, this period of Covid-19 lock down have been an eye-opener for parents. Many are longing for schools to reopen so that they can escape from their own children. They are just beginning to gain an appreciation of what teachers experience daily when they have to interact with their children. And this is not as a result of an understanding of how difficult is can be to teach the curriculum but instead, a realization of how challenging their children are in character.

Isn’t that interesting? So parents want to get away from their own children because they can’t control them, but they expect the teachers to keep them in line with no help at all. I know that you agree with me that this is almost impossible, except in the cases where the child has more love and respect for the teacher than their own parents.

When we as parents, get to know our children’s teachers, then it is easy to reach out to them when our children come home with a complaint.

I recall one of my children coming home with a complaint against his teacher while he was in primary school. He felt that she was favoring another pupil over him in every thing. At first, I encouraged him to ignore it and do his best to improve, but the complaints kept coming. I knew the teacher, and so, one day, when we met outside of the school environment, I had a chat with her. He did not know of our talk, but after that, the complaints ceased.

Have you ever attempted to get to know the teacher/s of your child or children? Yes, it will take some effort from you, but it would be worth it. Try it and you will see for yourself.

Reach out to the parents

Just as the parent needs to know the teachers of their children, teaching would be made so much easier if the teacher reaches out and gets to know the parents of his student.

It is important that a teacher understands the background of the students in his class and not just teach in a vacuum. Each child has his challenges and depending on his environment, would face issues that would bring about different behaviors and responses from the others. When teachers appreciate this, and seek to better understand the child, it makes teaching easier.

The best way to understand the child is to know and understand the parents. When a teacher reaches out to parents with a demonstrated interest in the well-being of the child, they would find that in many cases, the parent is much more receptive to them and willing to work with them. Under such conditions, information may be revealed about the child that otherwise would not have been known. That information most times leads to a better understanding of and treatment of the child.

When my youngest sister was about five years old, there was an earthquake in our area. She was out in the yard when it occurred. None of us could explain why but after it had subsided, she was left with a continuous trembling. Her growth was also affected and she lost weight and became withdrawn. She was so frail that we began to call her “dolly”. (The name stuck and she answers to it even up to today).

When she began primary school, my mother visited the school and had a chat with the principal about my sister’s challenges. The principal spoke to her staff and they treated my sister accordingly. Later, doctors determined that there was need for brain surgery as they were seeing something that they could not identify.

I told you that my mom was a praying soul, right. Well she took the issue to the church and the brethren got together and prayed. My sister came out of the hospital not needing the surgery and with the trembling gone. Today, she is a healthy adult female.

Her teachers understood her background and treated her appropriately.

So if you are a teacher, reach out to the parents of your students, especially the more difficult ones and with genuine love and interest, attempt to understand what issues they are dealing with. I have found that with understanding, there is a difference in the way we treat others.

With the right approach to both parent and child, teachers can find that they are much more successful in the classroom than they presently are. This partnership/relationship, has become much more essential under the present conditions of the Covid19 pandemic. Parents now have to become more involved in ensuring that teaching is not only done, but that their children are taught.

So corporation between parents and teachers have become even more essential to ensure that the upcoming leaders are well-prepared for their responsibilities.

Parents, speak positively about teachers

In many cases, the attitude of the child to the teacher is a reflection of the parent’s attitude to the teacher. The attitude of parents to teachers is most times colored by their own experience while at school. Have you ever taken the time to evaluate your attitude towards teachers, even those who look after your children in preschool?

Most times, without even realizing it, that attitude is transferred to the child, even from when they begin preschool. Parents who ended school having good concepts of their teachers, usually pass this on to their children. They treat teachers with respect even when the teacher may have taken a negative attitude to their child. It is therefore important that you find out what your true attitude to teachers is.

I encourage you to always speak positively of teachers to your children. If you are not, or don’t, the teacher would know because your child would show no respect to the teachers at school.

Keep in mind, that to do otherwise would be to expose your child/children to the possibility of missing out on a beneficial education. Most people are reactive and if your child is disrespectful, the likely response from the teacher would be to ignore your child in the classroom. In addition, the child would have little or no interest in what is taught because we seldom pay attention to those we do not respect.

Consider it, do you pay much attention to someone you have little or no respect for? Hardly ever. Instead, you would want them to know of the contempt that you feel toward them. That would mean finding ways to show that contempt. For a student in the classroom, this would translate into disrupting the class in any way possible.

When she is focused on that, there is no way that she can learn and most times, the teacher has to put her out of the room in order to reach those who want to learn. Of course, this action causes the situation to escalate and parents are called in. Your response then, determines if your child changes course or continue down the destructive road.

Even then, it is not too late to help the child, but you would need to have a change of attitude toward teachers. If you teach your children to disrespect their teachers, it would not be too long before they disrespect you.

Show that you respect yourself, teacher

One of the worse things that a teacher can do in a classroom, in my estimation, is to get into a word slinging match with a student. You will not win even if you are able to silence the student. They are backed by their peers and if it really gets out of hand, you can be left with ‘egg on your face’ in the end.

Early up, establish your authority and do not surrender it. This does not mean being dogmatic but letting the students know what are the standards for your class.

I recall entering a classroom about a year ago – I am not a teacher but had to do a presentation to the class. As I entered, as is custom, they all stood up. There was a bedlam of noise as the chairs and desks scraped the floor. They continued to speak to each other even as they stood. I stood before the class with my arms folded and after a while they began to hush each other. I told them to sit and once again there was the scraping of desks and chairs on the floor.

I asked them to stand once again and the noise continued. The stand and sit process was repeated on about five occasions without me saying anything more. By the sixth occasion, they had gotten the message. There was no more scraping noises. The session went well and was quite interactive. Whenever they became boisterous, I just went quiet and folded my arms. They hushed each other and I was able to do what I had to do. I left them with smiles on their faces.

I know that this was one occasion, but I have had other opportunities to work with different classes and though some challenged me more than others, I can’t recall getting into conflict with students.

At the same times, students have complained about teachers calling them names. In my respectful view, dear teacher, such behavior is childish and self depreciating. You lose your class when you disrespect them. When you maintain respect even in the face of disrespect, even the disrespectful student/s will respect you.

So in spite of every thing, keep your composure. At times, you may need to isolate the troublesome student but even in doing so, let it be seen that you act justly. And believe me, your students know when they have gotten under your skin and when you are not acting justly. They too have a certain level of expectation of you and when you drop that standard, you drop them too.

Seek to always be self-controlled.

Resolve that conflict

When there is conflict between parents and teachers, someone has to take the necessary steps to resolve the conflict. That which is the common denominator between both parties are the children. They are who brought them together. It is a love for the children that will see them both wanting the best for them. This too would result in sacrifices for the ones they love.

Thus, whenever conflicts arise someone – it would be ideal if both are – must be ready to extend the hand of reconciliation and resolve the conflict. If it is not amicably resolved, all three parties would end up losing. But in order to have proper reconciliation, parent and teacher must be willing to do the needed work.

At times, there may be need for a mediator if you find that you are unable to reach common ground. I am certain that this can be found within the school environment itself. If not, there are always people in the community who are willing to assist. However, I have learned that reconciliation that comes out of a willingness to find common working ground is more lasting than one brought about by forced intervention.

To parents, it is to your benefit and the benefit of your child if you seek always to promote a friendly relationship between your child and his teachers. You will have that added assurance that while he is absent from you, someone who has his best interest at heart is looking out for him.

The likelihood of him succeeding increases and so too does the possibility of him having negative encounters with the police decrease. It also ensures that he will always hold you in respect and assure his care for you in your old age.

If not, the opposite is most likely.

Teachers, always let your students know and see that you love them and have their success and future in mind. Let them see that your care is almost equal to the love and care that their parents have for them. Win their confidence even while you maintain that appropriate distance that is important to ensure that the lines are not blurred.

Keep in mind that the report they take home to their parents will have a decided effect on their parents’ relationship with you.

I have witnessed great parent teacher relationships as a result of the child letting the parent know that Sir/Miss cares about them and is always seeking their good.

At the same time, you are paving your future, for these students will one day mature to be your President, Prime Minister, Doctor, Mechanic or Builder. Consider their response to you if you have been good to them while they were at school.

I have witnessed great teacher/student reunions, and I also know of teachers who have no desire to meet their former students.

I also know of parent teacher relationships that have gone on long after the student have graduated to higher levels of education. The love and respect in these relationships are genuine.

Good parent teacher relationships are most times driven by a love for children and a desire to see them become the best that they could be. This would be most effective if both parties have the right attitude from the beginning. It is important therefore, to prepare to be a good parent in every area, and an effective teacher to those that you serve – both parents and students.

Let us unite and love them up as we build a better future.

Please feel free to leave a comment and or share your experience in the space provided. I would be delighted to hear your thoughts on this.


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