Education is incredibly important, especially for our young ones. However, our hardworking and dedicated teachers, who shape the next generation, often face challenges and burnout due to various factors. In a thought-provoking opinion piece written by retired teacher Lisa Roberson, she boldly states that “Parents are the problem,” sparking a viral debate about the issues in the education system. Let’s delve into Roberson’s letter and explore the significance of the parent-teacher relationship.
Roberson, with her wealth of experience in the field, expresses her frustration toward parents who lack knowledge about public schools or recent classroom experiences and yet attempt to fix the education system. She argues that parents are not adequately preparing their children for learning. Basic manners, respect for others, and even the ability to get along with classmates seem to be lacking. It’s disheartening to witness students coming to school with expensive shoes but without a simple pencil or paper. To bridge this gap, teachers often dig into their own pockets to provide these essentials for their students. Roberson raises important questions: Do parents actively participate in parent nights or engage with teachers on a regular basis? Do they ensure their children come to school with the required supplies and complete their homework? When we consider these factors, it becomes clear that it’s not the schools that are failing but rather the parents. Roberson concludes her letter by emphatically stating that teachers cannot take on the role of parents alone. Significant improvements can only be achieved when parents step up and fulfill their responsibilities.
The parent-teacher relationship plays a pivotal role in ensuring the success of our children’s education. In an ideal world, parents and teachers would collaborate harmoniously. However, the real world, especially during the pandemic, has presented numerous challenges. Lockdowns forced parents to become more involved in monitoring their children’s education, which then led to heated debates about vaccinations, gender identity, race theory, school closings, masks, and other contentious political issues.
Despite these challenges, educators and parents share the same goal: providing children with a solid education for their future. Teachers must find innovative ways to connect with and motivate their students, while parents need to ensure their children possess the necessary skills for optimal learning before sending them off to school. Teaching them classroom rules, instilling discipline, and fostering punctuality are all part of this shared responsibility. However, various circumstances may prevent parents from actively involving themselves in their children’s education, while excessively overbearing parents can create their own set of difficulties.
Dr. Scott A. Roth, a certified school psychologist, highlights the adverse effects of both “ghost parenting,” which refers to a lack of parental involvement, and “helicopter parenting,” which involves excessive intervention that hinders a child’s problem-solving abilities. Striking the right balance in the parent-teacher dynamic is more challenging than ever. The pandemic has pushed many students significantly behind their peers, adding to the fatigue and burnout experienced by teachers who were already stretched thin. Moreover, children’s behavior seems to have worsened, making pre-pandemic routines and techniques less effective.
Perhaps both parents and educators can agree that schools must adapt to modern challenges. Curriculums, schedules, and teaching methods need to address issues of inequity, life skills, and technology integration. Patricia A. Edwards, a distinguished professor specializing in supporting literacy learning for families of color, emphasizes the need for education reform efforts that focus on modernizing curriculums, personalized learning, increased technology usage, and a shift away from standardized testing. These efforts aim to align K-12 education with the demands of the contemporary world.
In the meantime, it is crucial for parents and teachers to work together to optimize their children’s education. Building a strong working relationship is key. Teachers should share the techniques and strategies they implement with parents, such as calming corners, breathing exercises, and opportunities for behavior correction. Dr. Roth reminds us of the importance of relationships. When students feel safe and cared for, they are more motivated to learn. Teachers who can connect with their students on a personal level experience fewer behavioral problems in the classroom.
Let’s answer the call for collaboration and come together as parents and educators, working hand in hand to provide our children with the education they deserve. By fostering a strong parent-teacher relationship, we can ensure a bright future for the next generation.