Parents are anxious to know about the progress of their child and depend largely on the teachers. Whereas the teachers feel that their efforts can go in vain unless supported by the parents. This gap can make the child suffer and a partnership can make the child prosper. Find out how?
‘Please meet the Class supervisor’
‘Please meet the class teacher – it’s urgent’
“I want to meet the parents”
“Parents, we need to talk about your child”
These are some of the notes from a child’s school diary.
Here’s an excerpt from a conversation on a PTM-
Teacher: ‘Sir, your son is always disturbing the class. I have been writing the notes in his diary for you to read, but none of those notes are counter signed by you.’
Parent: ‘Notes? I haven’t seen any of them. He has never shown his diary to me.’
Teacher: ‘Actually Sir, it is your duty to check your child’s diary regularly. That’s exactly what we had told all the parents on the orientation.’
Parent: ‘Ok, but he has been pretty well behaved at home. We never have had any such problem. There must be something about the school or class that he is behaving like this. Or maybe the other children are instigating him.’
Teacher: ‘Sir, this is the problem with all parents – when we tell them anything about their child, everyone starts blaming the school for the deeds of their child.’
Parent: ‘If everyone is saying something like this – then there must be some truth in it!’
Does the above conversation sound familiar? On every PTM, the child and the issues he is dealing with takes a back seat and the tussle between who’s responsibility is it becomes primary. The reason can be any– the child is not studying, doesn’t concentrate, no support at home, is not interested, is hyper active, is misbehaving et al. But the dialogue invariably gets to who’s responsibility is it?
We want to take this conversation to a slightly different space. What does every parent want for their child? To be happy, have self confidence and self esteem, have the ability to take good decisions, be a good human being, responsible, creative, intelligent, healthy, respect elders, respect the environment, be a good citizen, have the ability to build a good career, be able have skills to manage his/her life.
Now let’s ask the teachers the same question – What do they want for your students? The list goes on something like this – to be happy, have self confidence and self esteem, have the ability to take good decisions, be a good human being, responsible, creative, intelligent, healthy, respect elders, respect the environment, be a good citizen, have the ability to build a good career, be able to have skills to manage his/her life.
And suddenly we realize that what a parent wants is exactly the same as what a teacher wants!
Surprising but true!
From our day to day interactions, the PTMs, the discussions with each other – we get a feeling that the parents and teachers are on two different sides, trying to prove to each other how they are right and the other side is wrong. Teachers say that parents are not cooperative and pressurize the child, while the parent blames the teachers and the school is so stuck up and put stress on the poor child.
It is sad to see that how two communities – parents and teachers – whose prime focus is to provide the best for the child, to nurture them and to have a great future, actually end up blaming each other.
The shift required from both the parents and teachers is to realize that if they both want the same thing for their children, and that they actually are in the same team. It’s like both Dhoni and Tendulkar playing to make India win! Since they want the same result, they are in one team.
This shift of just realizing that both parents and teachers are on the same side, wanting the same results for the child, would transform the conversation from whose fault is it to – let’s work together for the same goal.
Imagine, two parties who actually want the same for the child working together. It wouldn’t be an additive effect but a multiplier effect on the results
So, how do now make the shift?
Step 1: Realizing that teachers and parents are actually on the same side. (both want the best for the child): It may not appear so, but that’s the truth
Step 2: Parents and teachers of the child meeting up at the start of the year to create this partnership. Understand their needs and communicate yours. A meeting with the agenda of just aligning with each other. This may look like a waste of time, but believe me this is going to alter your child’s experience at school for the whole year.
Step 3: In every subsequent interaction start with aligning on ‘what do you actually want for the child’. Every interaction would have a different point of views but the underlying ‘want’ would be the same.
Step 4: Never ever blame the other in front of the child. This would break the partnership.
Let’s look at each other as part of one team. Let’s not waste time blaming. Let’s focus on what we want and make it happen.