When it comes to children, we need both parents and schools to work together to get the children to their proper place in life, so far as the future is concerned.
This is a fact that holds true for most of us, as only a handful of parents are currently homeschooling their children at the moment. I have been shocked and concerned about parents thinking that it is not their jobs to teach their children but that the responsibilty lies squarely on the shoulders of the school and the teacher.
I know that this will not work, as parents need to be actively involved in the education process of their children. These children are the next generation, the best part of my life’s work. I am going to put my best foot forward with this one and continue to do my very best. I will make mistakes, but I will pick up learn and move forward. I really will not leave every thing to the teacher to figure out for me.
Having said that it is important to listen to the voices on the other side.Two parents specifically have been relentless in pointing out some actions within the schools they are part of that has left them really unhappy and upset. For the sake of confidentiality we will look at the two situations but treat them as case studies (Case Study A and Case Study B) and look at how we can deal with issues better so that both parents, teachers and students can collaborate and make the school community effectively successful.
Case Study A
It’s the end of the session and the teacher says to the parent of one of her students: ‘Your daughter does not know her three-letter words, use the holiday period to teach her because when we resume we will be working on five letter words!’
Let’s consider the mum’s reflective response so that we can understand the situation a bit better.
- The child leaves for school at around 7 am and returns home 5:30 pm or later!
- If the teacher who spends the most time with the child for a whole session has been unable to teach this main skill, how on earth does she expect the parent to do this and more in 6 weeks!
- What if I was an illiterate, how would I begin to make this tall order happen?
There are many issues here that prevent proper collaboration from happening.
a. Teachers should learn how to communicate with parents. They are your clients, they are your helpers, if you antagonise them, it will become very difficult to achieve the best for the child you are responsible for.
b. Also, it is great that you can assess what the child knows and does not know. This is part of our jobs as educators, but please do not pass the burden on to the parent to teach the child what you have not been able to do during the term!
It should have been obvious during the session that there was a problem, that would have been the time to introduce an intervention and work with Mun and Dad to try to help to reinforce the skills you are teaching through basic activities at home. Get them involved early and make the work you send home activity based, something that would fit easily into everyday life activities.
This is so important, because I have found that parents feel that the work we send home are really nothing less than requiring the parent to do the homework or have to teach the content to their child. This can be very frustrating.
Parents have a lot on their plate and really do not need the added pressure of doing the work of the teacher as well as be a mum, dad, worker or business owner.
c. Did you notice the time the child gets home? Why are children getting home at 5: 30 pm?
The school day needs to be reviewed!
We cannot be expecting these children to grow right if they are kept in school or in traffic for the whole day. Why are children in nursery school even primary school forced to attend extra lessons in school? What is that all about?
Really I know a lot of us wont like to hear this, but unless there is a good reason, a skill set you know the child needs to work on and you can help to do this for a month or so afterschool, then please review this practice.
Children should be allowed to be children, they can play, read, interact and just be till it is time to go to bed…
d. Please School Administrators, this is the time to check up on your curriculum and the lesson diaries for next session. How do we jump from 3-letter words to five letter words? It is possible that the work the children were doing in class was actually 4-letter words. Whatever the reason, thank God that we are all talking about inclusion. Please take into consideration where each child is at, no need skipping ahead to please a weekly plan that does not take into consideration what the child knows and where the child is truly at. (This is a Montessori principle that helps us meet each childs needs in the classroom)
Ignore this and keep skipping along with the scheduled plans in the school diary, and your school will be adding to the number of illiterate young people in Nigeria within the next few years!
e. The issue about leaving no stone unturned when it comes to reading skills for our children, is why the book Teach Your Child to Read was written for Parents and Teachers and not just one or the other. Both parents and teachers need to know the skills children need to learn in order to be able to read successfully. I would personally not want to leave this one aspect of my child’s education in the hands of a school or teacher. It is just too important.
Case Study B
This 5-year-old leaves home before 7 am and gets back home between 6:30 to 7 pm. There is a 2 hour extra lesson involved and to increase the intensity of the problem is the homework workload sent home relentlessly usually between 3 to 4 given most days that need to be done.
The teacher keeps complaining of the child’s inability to hold a pencil or spell words correctly rudely.
The parent is also worried about extra lessons they have to pay for and to top it all being asked to pay so that the child they have laboured and paid so much to educate can cheat in examinations in order to pass!
Unfortunately a lot of parents will tell you that this is exactly what their children are going through.
So what is wrong with this scenario?
a. Like Case Study A, the child spends too much time in school and on the road.
b. The homework is a bit over the top for a 5-year-old!
c. Complaining to the parents about what the child is unable to do without giving professional advice and solutions is not really helpful,
d. This extra lesson syndrome is everywhere, but is it necessary? Children in England, Finland and so many other countries we tend to want to copy do not undergo this stressful process and yet they do well academically. Please both educators and parents need to be aware that there is nothing wrong with the brain of the Nigerian child. What they need is engagement, hands on activities, and people who believe in them.
Parents are unhappy about the long hours their children spend in school, the amount of homework children have to do, the sometimes high orders from us the educator insisting that the parent do what we have not been able to achieve all year.
It is now important for teachers and school administrators to spend time reviewing our operational manual and ensure that we are working together with our parents to bring out the best in the children in our classrooms. Passing on the responsibility of teaching lessons to parent is not right. Pilling up incredible loads of homework is unfair and really is a waste of time. Guess what someone else usually does it for them!
Instead parents are to support their children take an interest in their children’s academic life assist as much as possible. Parents are the first teachers of their children, but they are not the Professional academic teachers They did not go to School of Education, or Teacher Training Colleges. They are our support, we work together to support the child but they are not the professionals. If we ask the parents to do our work for us then they can come in and dictate what we do and how we do things in the school. We all have our roles to play. So…
Let’s get to it, but we must acknowledge that collaboration is what will help us achieve our goals for our children. Part of the collaboration still means that we must know what is going on with our children and help as best we can.
In conclusion, I need to say to all parents who have experienced the same treatment that the above Case Studies have had to go through, I apologise on behalf of the the education sector and ask you to please forgive the errors of the past.
Teachers, School Owners and Administrators, please let’s make things better in 2018/2019. Parents may be teachers, but we are the professional teachers,..
Lets collaborate with our parents.