Good article - what teachers want to really tell parents

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Good article - what teachers want to really tell parents

Postby Joule » Wed Sep 07, 2011 4:21 pm

http://edition.cnn.com/2011/09/06/livin ... index.html

Dunno if it applies to you?


This summer, I met a principal who was recently named as the administrator of the year in her state. She was loved and adored by all, but she told me she was leaving the profession.

I screamed, "You can't leave us," and she quite bluntly replied, "Look, if I get an offer to lead a school system of orphans, I will be all over it, but I just can't deal with parents anymore; they are killing us."

Unfortunately, this sentiment seems to be becoming more and more prevalent. Today, new teachers remain in our profession an average of just 4.5 years, and many of them list "issues with parents" as one of their reasons for throwing in the towel. Word is spreading, and the more negativity teachers receive from parents, the harder it becomes to recruit the best and the brightest out of colleges.

So, what can we do to stem the tide? What do teachers really need parents to understand?

For starters, we are educators, not nannies. We are educated professionals who work with kids every day and often see your child in a different light than you do. If we give you advice, don't fight it. Take it, and digest it in the same way you would consider advice from a doctor or lawyer. I have become used to some parents who just don't want to hear anything negative about their child, but sometimes if you're willing to take early warning advice to heart, it can help you head off an issue that could become much greater in the future.

Trust us. At times when I tell parents that their child has been a behavior problem, I can almost see the hairs rise on their backs. They are ready to fight and defend their child, and it is exhausting. One of my biggest pet peeves is when I tell a mom something her son did and she turns, looks at him and asks, "Is that true?" Well, of course it's true. I just told you. And please don't ask whether a classmate can confirm what happened or whether another teacher might have been present. It only demeans teachers and weakens the partnership between teacher and parent.
Please quit with all the excuses

The truth is, a lot of times it's the bad teachers who give the easiest grades, because they know by giving good grades everyone will leave them alone.

And if you really want to help your children be successful, stop making excuses for them. I was talking with a parent and her son about his summer reading assignments. He told me he hadn't started, and I let him know I was extremely disappointed because school starts in two weeks.
His mother chimed in and told me that it had been a horrible summer for them because of family issues they'd been through in July. I said I was so sorry, but I couldn't help but point out that the assignments were given in May. She quickly added that she was allowing her child some "fun time" during the summer before getting back to work in July and that it wasn't his fault the work wasn't complete.

Can you feel my pain?

Some parents will make excuses regardless of the situation, and they are raising children who will grow into adults who turn toward excuses and do not create a strong work ethic. If you don't want your child to end up 25 and jobless, sitting on your couch eating potato chips, then stop making excuses for why they aren't succeeding. Instead, focus on finding solutions.

Parents, be a partner instead of a prosecutor

And parents, you know, it's OK for your child to get in trouble sometimes. It builds character and teaches life lessons. As teachers, we are vexed by those parents who stand in the way of those lessons; we call them helicopter parents because they want to swoop in and save their child every time something goes wrong. If we give a child a 79 on a project, then that is what the child deserves. Don't set up a time to meet with me to negotiate extra credit for an 80. It's a 79, regardless of whether you think it should be a B+.

This one may be hard to accept, but you shouldn't assume that because your child makes straight A's that he/she is getting a good education. The truth is, a lot of times it's the bad teachers who give the easiest grades, because they know by giving good grades everyone will leave them alone. Parents will say, "My child has a great teacher! He made all A's this year!"
Wow. Come on now. In all honesty, it's usually the best teachers who are giving the lowest grades, because they are raising expectations. Yet, when your children receive low scores you want to complain and head to the principal's office.

Please, take a step back and get a good look at the landscape. Before you challenge those low grades you feel the teacher has "given" your child, you might need to realize your child "earned" those grades and that the teacher you are complaining about is actually the one that is providing the best education.

And please, be a partner instead of a prosecutor. I had a child cheat on a test, and his parents threatened to call a lawyer because I was labeling him a criminal. I know that sounds crazy, but principals all across the country are telling me that more and more lawyers are accompanying parents for school meetings dealing with their children.

Teachers walking on eggshells

I feel so sorry for administrators and teachers these days whose hands are completely tied. In many ways, we live in fear of what will happen next. We walk on eggshells in a watered-down education system where teachers lack the courage to be honest and speak their minds. If they make a slight mistake, it can become a major disaster.

My mom just told me a child at a local school wrote on his face with a permanent marker. The teacher tried to get it off with a wash cloth, and it left a red mark on the side of his face. The parent called the media, and the teacher lost her job. My mom, my very own mother, said, "Can you believe that woman did that?"

I felt hit in the gut. I honestly would have probably tried to get the mark off as well. To think that we might lose our jobs over something so minor is scary. Why would anyone want to enter our profession? If our teachers continue to feel threatened and scared, you will rob our schools of our best and handcuff our efforts to recruit tomorrow's outstanding educators.
.
Finally, deal with negative situations in a professional manner.

If your child said something happened in the classroom that concerns you, ask to meet with the teacher and approach the situation by saying, "I wanted to let you know something my child said took place in your class, because I know that children can exaggerate and that there are always two sides to every story. I was hoping you could shed some light for me."

If you aren't happy with the result, then take your concerns to the principal, but above all else, never talk negatively about a teacher in front of your child. If he knows you don't respect her, he won't either, and that will lead to a whole host of new problems.

We know you love your children. We love them, too. We just ask -- and beg of you -- to trust us, support us and work with the system, not against it. We need you to have our backs, and we need you to give us the respect we deserve. Lift us up and make us feel appreciated, and we will work even harder to give your child the best education possible.
That's a teacher's promise, from me to you.

Joule
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Re: Good article - what teachers want to really tell parents

Postby daisyt » Wed Sep 07, 2011 8:57 pm

Be a teacher is never easy. :salute:

So far, I grade myself not this kind of parent. In fact I used to seek lots of advices from teachers, learn from them and most of the time, I would feel it is the fault or misunderstanding of my child towards the situation or teachers. I always encourage my child to have a heart to heart talk with teachers if problems arise.

daisyt
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Re: Good article - what teachers want to really tell parents

Postby tutormum » Thu Sep 08, 2011 2:07 am

Very well written article though the part about giving grades is different from our system. The ideal is of course close parent-teacher relationship to help a child excel. Sadly, nothing is perfect in this world so both parent and teacher have to learn to compromise. Personally, I've met all sorts of parents that I've sort of cultlivated immunity already. If not, how to survive? It's passion for the children that drives a teacher more than anything else to stay committed. If a teacher doesn't love children, there's no way he/she will be able to last long.

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Re: Good article - what teachers want to really tell parents

Postby limlim » Thu Sep 08, 2011 9:02 am

Joule wrote:
Trust us. At times when I tell parents that their child has been a behavior problem, I can almost see the hairs rise on their backs. They are ready to fight and defend their child, and it is exhausting. One of my biggest pet peeves is when I tell a mom something her son did and she turns, looks at him and asks, "Is that true?" Well, of course it's true. I just told you. And please don't ask whether a classmate can confirm what happened or whether another teacher might have been present. It only demeans teachers and weakens the partnership between teacher and parent.
Please quit with all the excuses


While some other points are quite valid, I don't agree with this.

There is nothing wrong with verifying with the child. Sometimes, teachers can make wrong judgement too.

Assuming what the teacher saying is true, Asking the child is a way to teach them responsibility. If the kid does not admit, I will try to seek the truth and if they turn out to be lying, they'll get it from me real jialat, bcoz I'm very strict about kids lying. If they admit, then I'll ask the reason for them doing what they did, then explain why they should not do it. Who knows, they may have a valid reason?

Those who watched Jack Neo's movies on student will understand what I'm saying. Sometimes, it's a misunderstanding, sometimes, the kid may have good intentions. But not just take the teacher's word for it.

Another example is the "on the fringe 2" where the girl is found with a condom in her bag due to some "setup" by classmates. We should always give the kid a chance to explain.

Just bcoz the teacher says it doesn't mean it is always the whole truth. Let the kid a chance to answer for his/her actions. The teacher might have missed out some facts or they may not be aware of it.

limlim
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Re: Good article - what teachers want to really tell parents

Postby limlim » Thu Sep 08, 2011 9:23 am

daisyt wrote:Be a teacher is never easy. :salute:


You work for something, you get paid for it.

Which job is easy? Ask the engineer, salesman, waitress, workers, foreman, etc etc.. everyone will have a tale to tell.

Actually, I find teachers 1 of the job with the most benefits.. and salary is comparable or better than other professions requirement similar qualifications, especially engineers.

They may not have annual leave like others but the rest days during the school holidays is usually much more than the 14 days that is standard industrial practice. And I meant the "Rest days", which are period during school holidays which they are not called back for duties.

And, for little little things, the school can just make it a "no school day".

For e.g., School have some events on Saturday, Monday no school! They can just give those involved off-day instead of whole school off..

Teachers days also got replacement off. Children day no need to teach. Youth day also??

National day also got many related off.. when not all the child or staff are involved.

Fire-drill, also half day off.

Sometimes, they just use normal working hours to carry out some activities, also got replacement off.

Another example is polling day. From what I heard (not limited to teachers), They work on Sat, so 1 PH replacement. But bcoz they're on duty, another day off! (This is what I heard from the polling officials on duty) Any other profession who works on Sat just get that day off with no replacements.

And the Friday before, no school again. And for no apparent reasons, even if the school is NOT a polling center (like PCF kindergartens etc..), also Off..

Which job are so shiok.. little little things only no school for the day no need to work.. If some teachers got extra duty, they can also give them replacement offdays.. why the entire school off.... really like no other job/profession..

limlim
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Re: Good article - what teachers want to really tell parents

Postby b2b3m4 » Thu Sep 08, 2011 10:19 am

limlim,
I think you really do not understand the job of a teacher. I am not a teacher.
But i know i DD's teachers have lots to do even on your so called 'off days'. For 1, the lastest presidential and general elections. Who do you think are the counters and the people manning the booths and centres. It was the teachers! The teachers were called in for briefing and meetings way before the elections.

During school holidays, these teachers need to bring students to Ubin and OBS for camps. Ya, lots of fun, right? And not to mention, coming back to prepare for competiton, performances etc. National Day- holidays??? Did u see when the teachers need to practicse with them for the National Day Parade? Bring the students for rehearsals? Dun they even deserve 1 day break?

Yes, not to mention the many nights they need to bring papers, student works back home to mark. And nowadays, a teacher can't go to a class and flip her textbook and teach. She/he must plan the course, the objective, opening blah, blah... the paperwork itself is like another thesis. And the KPIs to meet and maintaining school standard and the many telephone calls, e mails that they need to reply from parents.

Yes, they do not have scheduled leaves, and these poor teachers can only get married in June or Decemeber. Imagine being controlled to the point on which day to marry???

And patience involved to teach. For one, teaching DD myself almost make me vomit blood. I cannot imagine teaching a whole class of DDs.

b2b3m4
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Re: Good article - what teachers want to really tell parents

Postby concern2 » Thu Sep 08, 2011 10:26 am

b2b3m4 wrote:Yes, they do not have scheduled leaves, and these poor teachers can only get married in June or Decemeber. Imagine being controlled to the point on which day to marry???


:yikes: Never occurred to me! "Is that true?" :rotflmao: Sorry, just trying to be funny..you don't have to laugh if you are offended. But seriously, it had never occurred to me. Hmm.. :idea: Will go check it out... :evil:

b2b3m4 wrote:And patience involved to teach. For one, teaching DD myself almost make me vomit blood. I cannot imagine teaching a whole class of DDs.


This is DEFINITELY TRUE! :frustrated:

concern2
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Re: Good article - what teachers want to really tell parents

Postby sall » Thu Sep 08, 2011 12:38 pm

limlim, what you said shows that you are not a teacher and all teachers will be very upset to read what you wrote. I agree with b2b3m4 and also don't forget, the amount of reports, portfolio etc that they have to complete, the amount of time spent dealing with unreasonable parents etc...A lot of teachers are seeking psychiatric treatment. If life is so easy as a teacher, why is the turnover rate so high, why is there always a shortage of teachers and why so many teachers' mental health is affected?
Unfortunately, there are still a lot of people who think that the easiest job is to teach, all they think about is the long hols. Don't forget teachers are always called back to sch during the hols, that's why they have something called 'protected leave' which is 2 wks of the hols.
Do you know a lot of teachers even go back to sch during PH to conduct suppl. lessons or to finish up some admin work?
MOE has to approve of any additional sch hols. No principal, in the right frame of mind, will declare any day a off-day.
Fire-drill takes only about 1 period or 2, at most 50 min. No sch has fire-drill for half a day, unless it's a real fire, then maybe they need half a day.

sall
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Re: Good article - what teachers want to really tell parents

Postby concern2 » Thu Sep 08, 2011 2:33 pm

concern2 wrote:
b2b3m4 wrote:Yes, they do not have scheduled leaves, and these poor teachers can only get married in June or Decemeber. Imagine being controlled to the point on which day to marry???


:yikes: Never occurred to me! "Is that true?" :rotflmao: Sorry, just trying to be funny..you don't have to laugh if you are offended. But seriously, it had never occurred to me. Hmm.. :idea: Will go check it out... :evil:


Wa, really'e!! :scared:
How about confinement ha? Do you need to plan your date due to be during the school holidays too? Then if you give birth during long school holidays like June or Dec, do you get extra days off? If not, really loogie hor?

concern2
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Re: Good article - what teachers want to really tell parents

Postby Mdm Koh » Thu Sep 08, 2011 2:53 pm

I do not agree with all the points in the article, especially the point about the teacher writing on the student's face with a permanent marker... :skeptical:

However, I concur with what the article says about parents making excuses for their kids. While it's good to be considerate of the children's feelings, some parents overdo it by giving in to the whims of their kids. When that happens, I think it has become over-pampering or 溺爱。For example, if the kid dislikes a particular subject, is on the verge of failing and resisting tuition, instead of cooperating with the teacher or tutor and motivating the child to work hard, the parent cooks up excuses like "he's very tired lah", "it's ok if he never do his homework lah"... As a tutor, when I teach students with parents who give such excuses... I can already see it coming that the kid's exam grades will be :gloomy:

There's also been a shift in attitudes towards educators. Previously, school teachers were still respected as figures of authority in school. But it's becoming more evident now that parents are looking at education as a form of "customer service" that the teachers are providing. For some parents, whenever a teacher doesn't do as they requested, their argument is, "But I PAID for you to teach, so you do whatever I say."

Is teaching simply a form of paid customer service? That's something to ponder. :cool:

Mdm Koh
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