Oct 14, 2015

    Parent support is vital to teachers, schools

    I REFER to the letter "Let our children learn and discover" (My Paper, Oct 9).

    The views of the writer resonated very strongly with me, especially the final part on how parents should be educated for their children to benefit. This applies not only to the Primary School Leaving Examination question saga, but also the recent case where a parent slapped a primary school boy who allegedly bullied his daughter.

    One of the main aims of education is to prepare students to become informed and discerning citizens who can contribute meaningfully to society. However, the recent spate of events seems to suggest that our education system has failed to achieve this primary goal.

    Contrary to popular belief that schools should shoulder full responsibility, I believe that the key reason seems to be the lack of support from parents.

    Take the case of the parent using violence to punish the alleged child bully. That is a shocking yet poignant example of how regressive our society has become.

    I can sympathise with the parent in his anger and overwhelming need to protect his precious daughter from being hurt. However, I do not agree with his method. Violence is never a solution to anything and I believe most parents are discerning enough to not convey such a warped method of retaliation to their children.

    We must know that we are the role models for our children. Any amount of preaching and character and citizenship education will be futile in undoing the psychological imprint this parent has left on the class of children who are barely 12 years old.

    How are they going to understand that it is wrong to use violence against their classmates if their friend's parent did so right in front of them? The aftermath is that the burden of damage control weighs on the teachers' shoulders once again.

    Any theories on child development psychology will tell you that a child's growth is dependent on several factors, not solely the teachers or the school. Hence, it is extremely unfair to push all the blame to schools or teachers when our children misbehave in school.

    Regardless of how dedicated a teacher is, he is not omniscient. If we find it so tough to educate and discipline our own children, what makes some parents think that it is any easier for a teacher who has to face a class of 40 alone?

    Therefore, support from parents to the teachers is pertinent. The aforementioned incidents are not isolated cases and they will happen again if parents and teachers continue to be at odds with one another.

    As parents, we have to understand that this is no power play and that most teachers are not against their students. If we insist on using our "parents' authority" to question the teachers' management of disciplinary or academic issues, we are going down a slippery slope.

    We all want the best for our children but this will not be achieved if we continue to "bully" schools and teachers into doing what we want. Negativity only breeds more negativity, so let us trust the teachers' professionalism in helping our children reach their potential.