by Dick Buckingham
1. Remember teachers are adult professional educators who have worked hard to be prepared to effectively teach students. They have the same goal and desire that you do with your child: success.
2. Show respect. While we may not always agree about everything there is no reason to show disrespect toward an individual that is laboring to help your child. There is too much of a mentality in our society that it is right and appropriate for a parent to defend his or her child against any one no matter if the child is right or wrong. We need to remember we are on the same side and working toward the same goal.
3. Don’t assume you have the whole or correct story from your child. As with all fallen humans, we tend to “modify” the truth that we might look more favorable in its light. This seems to be certainly true in the case of students. Particularly when a negative report is given by our student about their teacher, we must avoid the temptation to assume it is fully and completely true. Wait until you hear the other side of the story before you make conclusions and respond.
4. Realize that teachers are a wealth of information about parenting. Not only have many of them experienced parenting first hand, but they have also had close contact with a number of other parents through the school and can share good ideas, and warn of bad ones. I have had many parents seek me out for advice about things other than academics.
5. Remember teachers are imperfect and do make mistakes. Even with the best intentions, teachers will err like the rest of us. Just as we desire grace in matters such as these, so does your child’s teacher. Offer grace generously as did our Lord to all of us who are saved.
6. Life has become very hectic for parents. Please consider putting down the remote, leaving the clubs in the garage on a Saturday morning and getting rid of other distractions in your life so that you can parent your child. The one thing they need from you most is your time. As the father of three grown men, I can attest to how quickly these years pass by when they are young and most in need of my attention. There will be time later for those other things if they really are important.
7. Life has also become hectic for students. They want to be involved in many activities outside of their academics and often they get overwhelmed. While there are many wonderful things students can participate in, they need help in prioritizing what is truly important and what they need to spend their time doing. For some students, school may be all they are able to handle. A parent should not feel like they are withholding some important experience from their child if they are unable to handle karate, soccer, and basketball, piano and dance lessons on top of school work. Put the extra stuff in its proper place.
8. Simplify your child’s life. Many times our students are running constantly from one thing to another. Or they feel it is necessary to give large portions of time to socializing on their phones or computers. Look for ways to make life simpler for you and your child.
9. Don’t stress over grades. I am fully aware of how our society likes to measure everything on a 100 point scale. But grades are at best a snapshot of how a child is doing on a few things and doesn’t really reflect how a child is doing over all. For an in-depth evaluation, talk to your child’s teacher. They can give you a clearer idea if your child is working hard, showing respect, paying attention, and doing everything they can do to succeed. Sometimes this will also be reflected in their grades, but not always