Leadership In Parenting

Teacher: Parent’s Friend or Foe?

“I fear teachers,” says a parent. “They might think I’m there to create a fuss, if ever I set foot within the school compound, other than to pay school fees or buy text books.”

Parents don’t typically come to school unless in distress. Either their child is failing, suspected of being bullied or accused of bullying, caught playing truant or smoking or drug snorting, most parents don’t intend to see their children’s teachers. Ever.

Teachers, I learnt, are equally fearful of parents. Understandable. I recall a particular teacher, in tears, after a father berated her for something she did or didn’t do at Report Card PickUp.

Did you know, a positive relationship with your children’s teachers could help you sidestep a landmine?  Some children are more themselves at school than at home, strange but true. A teacher who’s comfortable with you, might let you know if trouble is brewing, way before it becomes too big to arrest. A soundboard that could save you a thousand tears.

A teacher could be the key to whether your child grows up troubled or talented.

What about teachers who like to taunt children who struggle at school? Believe me, these are far and few between in Teachers Kingdom. A great many teachers sincerely do care for the children they teach; even if teaching isn’t their first love. If a teacher does the wrong things, chances are she hasn’t been trained any better. Just like you and me. We don’t always do the right thing raising our children, do we? Not by choice, but out of ignorance.

When my eldest boy was eleven, I got a call from school. “Your son had just been to the clinic,” the teacher said. Somehow, my son got himself injured by a nail stuck on a wall with the sharp end pointed out. “But your son is a gutsy fellow,” the teacher continued, her voice calm. “He didn’t panic. Not at the school, not at the clinic when they stitched him up. Didn’t shed a single tear.”

I never met the teacher, never said Thank You.

Much later, I wish I had. I realised, it’s never easy dealing with a classload of rambunctious kids, who turn up in school loaded with all kinds of baggage –hungry stomachs, toxic thoughts of troubled parents on the verge of breaking up – one parent cheating the other; special needs, you name it. Come on, I hear you say. Don’t tell me all the kids are like that. Fact is, you just need a few unruly children in a class of thirty to turn it upside down.

I should have taken the time to meet up with at least my son’s class teacher then, leave my telephone number in case she ever needed it. Strike an acquaintance early on. Put her at ease, so she knows I respected her as my son’s teacher, trusted her as my son’s advisor. That way, she never would have been a stranger.

Unfortunately, ‘total strangers’ is the phrase that perfectly describes the relationship between most parents and teachers. That’s true where I live. So many parents remain nervous, spend many a sleepless night, wondering if their children will excel, fail, or stay average at school. It never occur to them, perhaps a short visit to school, an honest, friendly chat with the teachers, might be all that’s needed to clear the air, to plant the seed of trust and friendship, to nurture the children under their care.

A teacher could be the key to whether your child grow up troubled or talented.

Yet too often, we take our children’s teachers for granted. We think, school and home are entirely different worlds, so hey, why bother? We assume, teachers are paid to teach, we should leave them at that.

Some parents are actually venomous, like a shark. They explode at the slightest sign something is wrong, a reaction made more repulsive by Whatsapp, Facebook, social media. It’s so easy to lash out in anger and frustration, you forget it’s another human being you are dealing with. Words spewed out can’t go back in.

Imagine if you the parent shift from being ‘foe’ to ‘friend’. Or from ‘couldn’t-care-less’ to ‘how-can-I-help’. Throw whatever barriers that have been stopping you from reaching out to your child’s teachers. Give up on asking your child to just bring home his Report Card, and instead, steal some time in your busy schedule to say Hello to the teachers. Imagine how it could change your child’s perspective if he knew you knew what he’s up to at school.

A teacher could be the key to whether your child grow up troubled or talented.

It could be the start of a breakthrough to your child’s interest in school, in life. Together with his teacher, you could lead your child to greatness. So if you haven’t already, why not make an appointment to see your child’s teacher today? Why not now?


Read the article in Malay: Guru dan Ibu Bapa – Gandingan Usaha Anak Berjaya


About Jamilah Samian

Jamilah has written 530 articles.

Jamilah Samian is an author and speaker.

Discuss your thoughts below!


[banner group='ads-300x300']
To Top