You have probably heard over and over that parents are the the primary teachers of children. Well it’s true; but not quite in the way you might be thinking.
By Brian Barron
Have you ever caught yourself saying the same exact thing your parents did? Even if you were determined not to behave as they did? For better or worse (just like the marriage vow) kids model the behaviour of parents and adopt their values system.
So when parents ask me how they can help their children succeed in school I tell them about the three keys to success:
- is a concerned parent.
- is attendance.
- is realistic expectations.
A concerned parent is interested in what happened in school today. He asks if there is homework. She provides a quiet place for school work. He sits with his child, has a coffee and reads while she completes her homework. She sets a regular time for homework. He encourages neat writing in all his homework. She calls the teacher with concerns before they blossom into problem. He goes to parent nights.
Children with perfect attendance rarely experience failure at school. Serious illness aside, everyday attendance is crucial. This means showing up everyday on time. Sure, many days are “boring” and routine; but some days are magical and inspirational. You can’t be inspired if you’re not there. A concerned parent will make sure his child goes to school if at all able and she will find out what the problem is if her child doesn’t like to go.
Realistic expectations on the part of the concerned parent is the third and most elusive key. Not every child is going to be a doctor, lawyer or rocket scientist. If you do not read every day, don’t expect your student to. If you love hockey, chances are your child will, too. If you are an excellent carpenter or plumber, maybe your daughter will be too. The concerned parent knows his child. She loves her child for who the child is not what she wants her to be. He encourages her to develop her strengths and tolerates her weaknesses. She does not force him to be an engineer if he is an artist.
I have taught for 36 years. I have taught across the spectrum from kindergarten to senior high school. I have taught Math, English, Science, Drama, Physical Education, History, and Geography. However, when anybody asked me what I taught, my answer was always the same. I taught children.
I hope you enjoyed this introduction to PARENTS AS TEACHERS. I welcome your comments or questions.
Brian Barron is a retired teacher/administrator. He taught for 36 years before retiring to take care of his grandchildren. When not with the kids he is still teaching occasionally and is deeply involved in Mad Science (teaching Science wonder to young children). His career spanned 15 years in the elementary system and 21 in secondary. He has two sons, and a daughter-in-law who are all teachers.