Parents Vs. Teachers: What Say You?

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by Adam's Apple, Feb 21, 2005.

  1. Adam's Apple
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    Adam's Apple Senior Member

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    The following is just part of Navarrette's article.

    Kids Caught in Middle of Teachers Vs. Parents Clash
    By Ruben Navarette, San Diego Union-Tribune
    February 21, 2005


    I admit it: In the age-old turf war between teachers and parents, my sympathies are usually with the parents. Having worked for four years as a substitute teacher in my native central California, I learned that in the public school bureaucracy, most of the power lies not with parents and students, but with teachers and administrators....

    A recent article in The Wall Street Journal rattled off repeated instances of schools having to put up with protests from parents whenever the schools do anything to stiffen academic requirements. The simple act of requiring students to write more term papers, or longer papers, can get parents up in arms. So-called "senior projects" -- written or oral assignments required before students can graduate -- have become a sore spot with some parents who complain the projects take up time that students could use to apply to college. Some parents' responses have ranged from wearing black armbands at graduation to hiring lawyers in an attempt to change school policies.

    Black armbands? Now I get it. Some of these parents are baby boomers who grew up questioning authority. They're still doing that. Worse, they're trying to lower the bar to make sure their children clear it. What good does that do?

    No wonder Time magazine recently came up with the provocatively titled cover story: "What Teachers Hate About Parents." The head of a private school put it this way: "We hate it when parents undermine the education and growth of their children."

    According to the educators, there are "monster parents" who can't wait to torment teachers with challenges and complaints. There are "helicopter parents" who hover around the school, waiting to swoop down at the first sign of trouble. And then there are "dry-cleaner parents" who simply drop their unruly children off at school and expect to have them all cleaned up by the end of the day. Then the article spells out what many teachers consider the ideal parent: "a partner but not a pest, engaged but not obsessed, with a sense of perspective and patience."

    How big a problem is the decaying of parent-teacher relations? Big. According to the MetLife Survey of the American Teacher cited in the article, 90 percent of new teachers called it a priority to involve parents in the educational process but only 25 percent described their experience with parents as "very satisfying."

    That shouldn't be the case. Parental involvement is fine. But parents need to know where to draw the line. They should make sure their kids do their homework, but they should stop short of harassing teachers or trying to micromanage every aspect of their child's education. It's OK for parents to focus on the big picture -- whether their children are being stuck into bilingual education classes -- but they shouldn't march down to the school every time their child gets a poor grade on a test.

    Teachers are responsible for teaching students all about academics. But the manner in which parents relate to teachers -- how parents treat teachers -- will ultimately teach their children about things that are just as important: courtesy, humility, deference and respect for professionals.

    Contact Navarrette via e-mail at ruben.navarrette@uniontrib.com .
     
  2. Annie
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    Annie Diamond Member

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    Parent's are often a problem, then again, sometimes teachers and administrators are. Here is a post, with lots of links to a situation where it seems to me everyone was at fault, though the principal most of all:

    http://educationwonk.blogspot.com/2005/02/californias-colton-high-school_19.html

     
  3. Adam's Apple
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    Adam's Apple Senior Member

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    Sometimes hiring mistakes are made, as in Colton's case and at all educational levels actually. A few years ago we hired a new athletic director for our state university. Soon after he was hired, he turned things upside down without consulting anyone in advance. The university was bombarded by complaints from everyone who supported the sports programs in one way or another. Needless to say, the new AD was out of there in a very short time.

    I have clipped the Navarrette article to give to my oldest daughter. I think she tends to be on the "pest" side when it comes to the teacher vs. parents relationship. She has good intentions, of course, but nonetheless......
     
  4. Annie
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    Annie Diamond Member

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    I'll never understand teachers that believe the parents are adversaries, that just doesn't make sense. I operate under the assumption that most parents want the best for their children, including their education. With that said, there are too many parents that believe keeping their child's 'self-esteem' high, means that they should be given assignments that they can ace, without much work. Teachers have a responsibility to educate the parents as well as the child, in the case of parents it's friendly newsletters or clippings that show success at the end of a challenging assignment, (not too mention the resulting rise in self-esteem).

    I liked the above Navarrette article for the simple reason it showed bad judgement by the principal, an obviously stone-deaf administration, the encouragement of students to act inappropriately by both parents and teachers, the teachers following the kids in inappropriate behavior, then a board that finally acts correctly, however reinforcing the wrong behaviors to get results. :eek2:
     
  5. Deornwulf
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    Deornwulf Member

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    Kat - We teachers feel as though parents are our adversaries because our attention is usually focused on the most negative experiences.

    When a teacher has a problem child in the classroom, the responses typically fall into two categories - The blame-game players or the absentee parents. Parents in the first category are quick to blame the teacher or the system for any failures of their child, even going as far as to blame the child rather than any lack of parenting skills of their own. The second category never returns calls, doesn't sign papers, never volunteers at school nor shows up at open house.

    With the good children, there is no need for the teacher to contact the parent and the parent has no reason to talk to the teacher. As a result, the only feedback some teachers get is totally negative.

    When is the last time any of you thanked a teacher, even a mediocre one, for doing a job that has so many demands and few tangible rewards?
     
  6. Annie
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    Annie Diamond Member

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    I hear you. Even before I entered teaching I did always thank the teachers for the job they were doing. Funny thing, after I began teaching, I was more aware of how many bad teachers are out there. Bad parents too.

    It's seldom that I hear the primary teachers criticised, at least as strongly as those in upper grades. One of the differences I've noticed is newsletters and phone calls home.

    We have deficiencies, which I'm working on today. We let parents know when the kids are sliding or have 'slunk', lol. Seldom do upper grade teachers let parents know when their kids have done something superior, even for, maybe especially the A students. Now I do know that putting smiley faces on papers of even jr. high kids would not be effective. Have you ever noticed though, that when you stop a kid and say, "Wow, I really liked ...." they just beam?

    I guess what I'm saying is that communication is important, from both sides. There's little we can do about the 'no show' parents, other than try to let the kids know that we think they can succeed and that's is important-lord knows, they aren't getting that from home.
     
  7. Joz
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    Joz Senior Member

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    I became a teacher's aide & also substituted to see if I liked teaching well enough to choose it as a career. I did....but I didn't go to school. I did tho' end up teaching Art, voluntarily for 11 years and also sat on the school board, PTA leader.
    Some of the parents have been unbelievable. No wonder kids are disrespectful. Children learn respect by observing adult behavior.
    When things go awry at school it just HAS to be the fault of the teacher. Never anything the child has learned at home. Grant you, there are some lousy teachers out there. But then, there are lousy parents, mechanics & doctors,too.

    Every once it a while, I get a little twang to go back to school to teach. To join those brave & dedicated teachers who really believe that they can & do make a difference. But then I remember the power that we've taken away from them.
     
  8. Annie
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    Annie Diamond Member

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    It's not easy teaching today, but I doubt it ever was. Kids certainly seem more disrespectful, but so were many of my classmates in the 70's. There was a 'smoking' section at my school, kids were doing dope, drinking, and even shooting up. It doesn't exist in the age of zero tolerance. This was in one of the top high schools in DuPage County. I had friends that lived in mansions, their parents were gone for months at a time, sometimes left with older brothers and sisters. Some of them came and stayed at my house, (my parents were very good), cause they were scared of their sibs friends. The schools had to cope with those kids...

    I do know that teachers and coaches can make a difference. I've seen it in close friends and in one of my own children.
     

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