Monday Musings: Parents, Teachers and Authority

by Samantha on December 3, 2012

 

Welcome to Monday Musings here at the Multiple Mayhem Mamma blog.

Each Monday, I create a vlog (video log) where I discuss a topic of interest related to parenting and welcome your feedback and thoughts.Today, the topic of discussion revolves around parents, teachers and authority.

We’ve all been in situations where we’ve both agreed and disagreed with our child’s teacher. Perhaps it was the method of teaching with which we were not thrilled. Maybe it was the fact that our child was unhappy or even fearful attending a particular class at school. It could even have been a personality clash between the teacher and the student.

As parents, we have the opportunity to meet with our kids’ teachers during school open houses and parent-teacher interviews. Depending on a number of factors, including our culture, background and personality, we may or may not defer to the teacher’s authority. When they tell us that our child is doing well, of course things are fine and dandy. It’s when they tell us things that we don’t want to hear that the situation becomes interesting.

Our decision on how to deal with a disagreement with our child’s teacher says a lot about the ingrained feelings that we have about both authority and teachers, as well as ourselves.

So the questions today are: do you defer to your child’s teacher’s authority, or do you challenge it? Would you go over the teacher’s head to get what you wanted done as it relates to your child? Why or why not? Answer in the comments below.


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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar ElectraDaddy December 4, 2012 at 4:52 am

First, I’d like to say that I really enjoy your vlogs.

With my older children (one’s a college grad and the other will be shortly), I did pushback on the few occasions that we encountered issues because we’re a two-dad family. If you don’t approve of my life, that’s one thing but you don’t take that out on my kids and treat them differently in the classroom. Other than that, we didn’t have many problems.

With my younger kids (they’re twins and in kindergarten), I have met with one of the teachers when a student was saying, “that’s so gay”, around my twins while at school. I asked if this violated the school’s bullying policy and was told that it was and that the issue would be addressed with the student. The student stopped making this comment so I take it that the issue has been corrected.

I’m like you. I’m not afraid to navigate the educational waters but I’m also not a pit bull. More in between the two extremes, I’d say.
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Samantha December 4, 2012 at 8:57 pm

Thanks for wading in, ElectraDaddy! I appreciate all of the comments and support of my postings that you’ve provided :)

Good for you for standing up to the school in the instances where people have issues with your kids being treated differently or badly because of your family makeup. I’m glad to hear that that was stopped immediately as well as the “that’s so gay” comments. Things like this need to be stopped as soon as they occur so that children learn how inappropriate and wrong they are. By us not saying anything, we are providing implicit support, so I would totally agree with you taking it to a higher authority at the school if that was required.

I find that sometimes if you don’t make a fuss about something, especially at your child’s school, they make the incorrect assumption that you’re a pushover. Heaven help them when they really tick you off!
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rkogucki December 4, 2012 at 5:42 pm

It all depends on what the problem is. I’d probably approach the principal if a teacher was doing something I really disagreed with, but I would talk to the teacher first. Even when your child is doing well, I want to know the details to understand what they are doing well in. There hasn’t been a situation with this problem fortunately.

I always consider what the teacher’s rationale is. Sometimes I defer to them because they are teachers and I am not, and they should know more about how to educate a child than I do. A lot has changed since I went to elementary school and much of it for the better, like no tolerance for bullying, and an insistence on respect for each other.

Methods of teaching have changed quite a bit, and I find talking to the teachers to clarify what they are doing helps a lot. Teachers don’t make enough use of email for this, and remain too insulated from parents. My daughter’s grade three teacher made great use of email. I made a point of not inundating him and in turn he responded very well and timely. It was a great way to keep the communication going and I recommend it. If a teacher is worried that it will create too much more work, it needn’t, and can also help diffuse potential problems before they get larger and harder (and more time consuming) to handle.

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Samantha December 4, 2012 at 10:25 pm

I agree that the approach really depends on the teacher. For the most part, it’s a good idea to see what they have to say and what their approach is; keeping an open mind is always smart. That being said, there have been instances where teachers have been off base about the method of teaching, communication or interaction with kids in their classrooms and that’s where parents have to step in. I think that we do have more interactive and welcoming environment in schools than before and both teachers and parents have come to expect feedback, whether it’s good or bad.
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