is a wonderful example of why I will always be THAT parent. You know the type, the one who:
“If we give you advice, don't fight it. “
- always fights advice from people who think they know the child I love and live with better than I do , especially when that advice does not ring true to my experience, observation, or way of living.
“Take it, and digest it in the same way you would consider advice from a doctor or lawyer. “
- doesn't just automatically trust professionals to know what is best for my family.
“I have become used to some parents who just don't want to hear anything negative about their child ...”
- gives her child the benefit of the doubt no matter how bad the situation looks.
“At times when I tell parents that their child has been a behavior problem, I can almost see the hairs rise on their backs.”
- always assumes that an undesirable behavior is an expression of my child being overwhelmed, suffering an unmet need, feeling powerless or in some other way overly stressed rather than a sign of a “behavior problem”.
“They are ready to fight and defend their child, and it is exhausting.”
- always defends her child's rights even when he made mistakes, because even people who make mistakes deserve fair treatment. Yes, it often takes more effort to be fair.
“One of my biggest pet peeves is when I tell a mom something her son did and she turns, looks at him and asks, 'Is that true?'“
- always asks for and genuinely listens to her child's side of a story.
“Well, of course it's true. I just told you. And please don't ask whether a classmate can confirm what happened or whether another teacher might have been present.”
- always wants to know details of what is happening in the places where my child's care and education are entrusted to others, even if the details are uncomfortable for some to have exposed.
“It only demeans teachers and weakens the partnership between teacher and parent.”
- always values honesty over pride, and my relationship with my child over any other partnership.
“I was talking with a parent and her son about his summer reading assignments. He told me he hadn't started, and I let him know I was extremely disappointed because school starts in two weeks.His mother chimed in and told me that it had been a horrible summer for them because of family issues they'd been through in July. I said I was so sorry, but I couldn't help but point out that the assignments were given in May. “
- always excuses and adapts expectations based on circumstances--one of the most useful skills I can model for my child is to be adaptable because life is always changing.
“... stop making excuses for why they aren't succeeding.”
- is always at least equally concerned about the process and the experience as the results.
- always has a flexible definition of success that weighs my child's happiness far more heavily than anyone else's metrics.
“And parents, you know, it's OK for your child to get in trouble sometimes. It builds character and teaches life lessons. As teachers, we are vexed by those parents who stand in the way of those lessons; ... “
- always stands in the way of arbitrary “consequences” imposed by others for the sake of “building character” and teaching “life lessons”; there are far more effective ways of learning.
“...we call them helicopter parents because they want to swoop in and save their child every time something goes wrong.”
- always rescues my child from unfair situations from which he has no power to extract himself.
- appreciates a good metaphor but does not appreciate name-calling.
“This one may be hard to accept, but you shouldn't assume that because your child makes straight A's that he/she is getting a good education. The truth is, a lot of times it's the bad teachers who give the easiest grades, because they know by giving good grades everyone will leave them alone. Parents will say, 'My child has a great teacher! He made all A's this year!'Wow. Come on now. In all honesty, it's usually the best teachers who are giving the lowest grades, because they are raising expectations.”
- never rejects favorable evaluations of my child as less valuable than criticisms, and doesn't value people who offer criticisms more highly than those who offer appreciation.
“Before you challenge those low grades you feel the teacher has 'given' your child, you might need to realize your child 'earned' those grades and that the teacher you are complaining about is actually the one that is providing the best education.”
- never accepts an evaluation by someone else as more valuable than a child's own evaluation of his/her effort, results, learning and experience.
“And please, be a partner instead of a prosecutor. ”
- never partners with a person who is making accusations and is unwilling to accept that s/he could be mistaken (see earlier statement, “Well, of course it's true. I just told you.”).
“... never talk negatively about a teacher in front of your child.”
- always talks honestly about issues my child is having with someone and what I am doing, and what he can do, and what we can do together to help resolve the issues.
“If he knows you don't respect her, he won't either, and that will lead to a whole host of new problems.“
- never hides concerns about people from my child, and NEVER expects my child to trust someone that I do not trust myself.
“We just ask -- and beg of you -- to trust us, support us and work with the system, not against it.”
- always fights to improve a system that is not providing what our family needs, and fights against a system that refuses to change.
“Lift us up and make us feel appreciated, and we will work even harder to give your child the best education possible.That's a teacher's promise, from me to you.”
- does not need or believe your promises and would trust you a lot more if you showed me and my child some understanding, empathy, and respect.
Of course my preference would always be to have a partnership rather than an adversarial relationship with a teacher. But the attitude presented in this article only perpetuates the kind of negativity the author is complaining about. I resent the notion that teachers should be given preferential treatment over one's own children and that parents need to side with teachers against their children.
Have you ever been THAT parent, who stood up for your child? I'd love to hear about it!