Dear Teacher

Today I want to write about all-time favourite i.e. children-teacher issue. I’m writing based on my personal experience. I want to share my experience as it works for me over the years and I hope that it would work out for you too.

Throughout my first-born’s primary school years, I met with all his class (form) teachers. Talking about mom doing PR work in school; please don’t misunderstand my action for trying to get my son to be the star of the class. None of that at all. You see, my prince here, is a very “friendly” boy, quoting his teachers (LOL!). Simply means, he loves to talk! It is challenging for a teacher to handle a class of 50 students, and what if all talking at the same time? I can only imagine.

Each year I make it a point to introduce myself to his class/form teacher and to pre-emp her on my son’s friendly behaviour. Not to ask her to consent to such behaviour but to make her understand so that she can use the right application when she has to deal with his “friendliness”. You see, since he was able to talk, I’ve been encouraging him to speak his mind and that it’s okay to express himself. I guess that makes him a confident little boy. But, most of the time, he got carried away with his “speech” and forgot that there are times to speak up and there are also times to not-talk and just listen. I’m so grateful that all his teachers were understanding and knew how to motivate him to move in the right direction. Some of them have become my friends after my son had moved on to the next level and eventually graduated from his primary school. I’m so grateful for his teachers. Bravo!

Many parents are quick to complain about their children’s teachers. When I hear that, I would always encouraged them to go to speak with the class/form teacher personally, if they have not done so already; to try to understand the issue  and to seek understanding from the teacher. We can’t expect a teacher to understand the character of each student in his/her class. We as parents also find it hard to solve that big piece of puzzle and we are still learning to.

I’m sure all teachers want to give their best to the students. Being a teacher is a labour of love, requires a person to act selflessly and patiently, imparting knowledge to build our future leaders. I choose to trust the teachers to carry out their responsibilities. Unless there is any valid reason for me to doubt that, then I shall want to find out more, before taking necessary action.

At an early sign of any issue (problem) at school, parent(s) should immediately meet with the teacher to discuss the matter amicably. Not to act with threat or legal letters the instant our children complained. I would prefer to take a more pro-active role than being reactive. We must first investigate, listen to both sides and then, find a solution or compromise.

I have great respect for teachers. Of course, I have my share of experience with inexperienced temp teachers who did not know how to handle their students in the class. I spoke with them to find out what’s the matter and we exchanged information. At the end of all discussions, we always part on friendly basis. If my son is on the right side, I would stand by him and make the teacher understand the situation, from his point of view. On the other hand, if the teacher is right, I’ll support the teacher and make my son understand the teacher’s action. I strongly believe in teacher-parents partnership to make our children’s learning experience in school, to be as smooth as it possibly can.

By meeting with the teachers, to discuss our children’s school matters, it shows that we are open for discussion and that parents-teachers can make great teams for the benefit of our children. All teachers whom I came into contact with, over the years, told me that they greatly appreciate when parents came to talk with them personally instead of shouting at them in front of the students or slapped them with legal letters, without first understanding the situation. Teachers are human too, subject to making mistakes. When they found out any misjudgment on their part, they would be quick to apologise for it. Why can’t we do the same too?

We must not pamper and spoil our children. If they happened to forget their homework, show disrespect to teachers/rules and regulations of the school/disrupting lessons in progress, we need to sit down with them and have a nice, slow talk to find out why. We need to know the root cause to their misbehaviour. Assured them that we won’t be mad when they tell us the truth. Sometimes, the root of the problem stem from us, not them or the teachers. Surprise! Surprise! We must keep the communication line open to let them know that whatever happened to them, matters to us. We can start by asking about their day at school and if we like, share about our day too.

So, parents who have not meet their children’s teachers ever, please make it a point to get to know them before the end of this term, okay? You can find out a lot from just a short conversation with the teacher. Teachers meet with all sorts of challenges everyday. And, they need motivation too, you know? One way is from us parents, to validate their actions, when they have done something right. It is okay to pay compliments to the teacher and let him/her know that he/she had done a great job, in making your child a better student. Many teachers are great. There may be some who don’t fit the bill – but don’t let some bad apples spoil the good ones.

To me, it all balls down to communication. We need to always listen to both sides of story before we jump to conclusions. Bear in mind that our children is constantly watching our actions, including the ones on how we handle sensitive issues. If we jumped and blow our tops each time they come home crying or complaining, be careful – they might take advantage of that. Just be mindful when handling sensitive issues like this.

I shall leave you to your thoughts….you have the right to think differently. Like I said, this sharing is purely from my own experience.

~ Alice

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