Being a teacher is not an easy job, especially in this day and age. This Teacher’s Day, we give teachers voice to say what they wish parents knew about a teacher’s role in their children’s lives
From the moment your child steps into class, his teacher is his supporter, his cheerleader, his guide. But “being a teacher is hard in today, no matter at which level,” says Ms. E, a mission-school teacher of six years. Other teachers — who have taught or who are currently teaching from infant-care to secondary school levels — agree. While fulfilling, their role is demanding.
Changing perceptions about education and child care have also added to their challenges. Add on a constantly evolving curriculum, pushy parents, and entitled kids? It’s a wonder teachers still want to teach! But they do, and they will, no matter how tough each day is.
As we salute them and thank them this Teacher’s Day (31 August 2017), they take some time off from teaching our children to tell us how we can improve the parent-teacher relationship. It’s worth a read; after all, our children are the ones who will ultimately benefit, won’t they?
(See also: DIY Teacher’s Day Scented Pouches)
1. Model Positive Behaviour
“Parents play an important role in teaching young children habits, relationships, behaviour, and ethical values. If parents love to read, their children will naturally love to read. If parents have compassion and love to help others, their children will also learn these behaviours,” says Ms. C, 45, a Chinese-language teacher at an MOE kindergarten.
2. Give the Gift of Your Time
Said Ms. E, a primary school teacher in her 40s, “Kids may demand toys and the latest gadgets, but children actually have very simple needs. They just want their parents’ time and attention.”
3. Be Upfront about Your Child’s Needs
If your child has special needs, let his teacher know as soon as school starts, or even before. This way, the teacher can adapt and modify her teaching to suit him. This is important as it is not easy for teachers (who may not be trained in special needs) to spot signs of mild autism or dyslexia. “I wish parents would not keep their children’s special needs a secret. It would be better if we could adjust our approach from the beginning rather than belatedly figure it out by ourselves at the end of the year,” shared Ms. D.
4. Trust the Teachers
Firstly, do not undermine a teacher’s authority in front of a child or talk negatively about him or her at home. If there comes a time when you need the teacher to discipline your child, guess what? Your child is not going to listen! Secondly, if you and your child are struggling with separation anxiety at preschool, do the ‘drop and go’ for best results. “Upon arrival at school, just leave your child with the teacher, and go,” teachers say. Ms. A, a preschool teacher for the last seven years, added: “Don’t have to stand there hoping your child stops crying. It never happens.”
5. Remember that Teachers are your Partners
Teachers are parents’ partners. “We care for your kids and want the best for them, too,” shared Ms E, a primary school teacher in her 40s. So keep teachers informed. Let them know if your child is late for school, or if your child will be absent because she is ill. Furthermore, do not rely on the teachers for everything. Values and good behaviour are learnt at home so teach your children to mind their Ps and Qs.
(See also: Teach Manners to your Kids aged 1 to 12 years)
6. Let your Child Fail
Ms. C does not believe in helicopter-parenting, “Do not overly care for your child. Teach your child to be independent and responsible. Sometimes your child may make mistakes – let him. Teach him to bear the consequences. Give him room to make mistakes and learn from them.”
Ms. F agreed, “Teach the child to stand up on his or her own each time he or she falls. Failure is inevitable and the child needs to learn that there is no shame in failing. The most important lesson is to emerge a stronger person after the failure”.
(See also: Grow your Child’s Sense of Grit)
7. Don’t Compare
“Never compare the child to another because every child is unique,” Mrs F said. More importantly, “Never expect your child to live your dreams. Your child should have his or her own dreams”.
If your child is not doing as well academically as you’d like him to do, find out why and work it out with him. “Some parents would rather send their children for tuition classes than sit down with them and discover their strengths and weaknesses,” observed Ms B.
Finally, said Ms. F, moderate your expectations. Expecting your child to score full marks in every subject will take away the joy of learning. Consequently, she warns, your child will turn his back on learning: “Only when the child enjoys learning, can the child excel.”
8. Be Responsible when your Child is Sick
Remember the book Germs Are Not For Sharing? Indeed, they’re not. So when your child is sick, keep her at home. Child care centre teacher Ms. B has seen mothers dropping off children who are coughing, sneezing, and dripping all over their pyjamas. “If your child is sick, please don’t send them in. Take initiative to find alternative. Please don’t say ‘nobody at home’, ‘I’ve got no choice’, ‘I just started a new job’, ‘I’ve got many children to see’, etc. It is not that we don’t want to accept the child, but that the virus can be easily passed on to other children or teachers,” Ms. A said.
9. Be a Supportive Parent
A parent can show support in many ways. Most importantly, Ms. F says, is never to belittle your child’s passion, no matter what it may be. “Instead, encourage the child to find out more about his or her passion and dream because only when you have dreams or goals then will you work hard towards achieving them,” she said. You can also show your support by being present at school events and activities, shared veteran preschool teacher Ms. B. There’s no need to attend every single one of them; your presence ar even one or two events is enough to show your child that you care.
10. Talk to Us
Communication is key. Teachers are always open to hearing from you, and will be happy to update you on your child’s progress if you ask. And if you think that your child’s teacher is doing a good job, let him or her know. There’s no need to wait till Teacher’s Day! As Ms. B admitted, (Parents’) words of affirmation are a pat on our back to support us in our task.”
So there you go. Your children’s teachers are their closest adult guides during the school year. It definitely makes sense to cement that parent-teacher partnership with understanding, respect, and consideration, as these teachers say. After all, teacher knows best, right?
(See also: 11 Inspired Teacher’s Day Gifts)