ProfPete’s Vlog Ep #10: Getting Parents to Help With Their Kids’ Education

How do you get on with the parents of the students that you teach? G’day, I’m Dr Peter Price of Professor Pete’s Classroom. Welcome to the vlog and this is episode number 10. I’ve been thinking a little bit about the parents of the students that we teach and how we interact with them and the tension that can be there sometimes between teachers and parents about one child that is your student and their child, their son or daughter. I think sometimes our relationships with the parents of the students that we teach are not what they should be or could be and probably not what we would wish them to be and obviously a lot of the time that is due to the reaction of parents. Parents can get very aggressive and very defensive about their child they can often say well my child doesn’t lie so you must be the one who’s wrong because they tell me this is what you didn’t said. I’m aware of all that and i’ve been teaching for a lot of years and so I’ve encountered parents like that. In my second year, second or third year because we were at the school for two years in an outback school in far northern Queensland. I had occasions where parents stormed up to the school in the middle of the day, I remember one mother turned up, the children were out in the playground they’re playing cricket ball games and running around this mother comes storming across the playground grabbed her child by the arm and hold him off back home and told me what she thought and abused me in front of all the children and just left. Just about the most stressful day of my teaching career, at least up until that point. We experience things like that we have parents who tell us off. You know, tell us we’re doing it all wrong. I’m not discounting that and I’m not suggesting for a moment that we shouldn’t defend ourselves and explain what we’re doing and get a little upset about being disrespected and you know having a good work disregarded. That said, there are lots of other parents who are easy to get on with their actually on the teachers side, you know the ones who are friendly, they send you a card every so often, they send you friendly little notes in the diary. All that sort of thing, I think we should do whatever we can to foster good relationships with the parents. I’ve sadly seen teachers of my own children disregard me as the parent and have the apparent attitude that I shouldn’t be asking too many questions, I shouldn’t try to be too involved and I should just back off and let them get on with it. Well I’m sorry, I’m not going to do that and I don’t you do either. As a teacher and a parent if you’ve got your own kids. I’m sure that you go to parent-teacher interviews and think well, what are you doing about this subject and how do you teach that? What’s your style of discipline and you know. But I think parents should be involved, they actually should be involved in a good way. They should be interested in what’s going on in the classroom. They should be interested in how well their child doing and they should be interested in how their child is behaving. So if we send a note or we phone them up or something and say your child was in trouble today because of this is, and this is, and this and this is what he or she said. They should be involved in that, not just because the law says we’ve now got to tell them everything. But because it’s their kid and they should be involved in the management of that child’s behavior and they should be informed and should you know play an active part in helping us to help their child in their education. So my big suggestion is nothing earth-shattering it’s not a new idea is to see the parents as partners in the educational process. Partners with us partners with the child. So that we can engage with them about education. I think giving parents information about how we teach math for example is a very good idea. I remember showing parents how we teach the subtraction algorithm this was a few years ago and many of the parents learn to add number to the top and bottom and you put one’s everywhere and you know it magically comes up with the answer. And I explained why we don’t teach that anymore and how we use base-10 material and how we use an algorithm that regroups the numbers at the top so we can take them away and parents are very grateful. I think it really helped them to see that this new method wasn’t a bad idea wasn’t some confusing you know way the didn’t work in their world you know that sort of thing. So that is my suggestion, look I love, I would love your suggestions are it and your comments about what I’ve just said. I know that in relationships with parents can be very challenging and very fractured and very confrontational and I appreciate that and if you’re going through stress because of parents reactions to your work then I feel for you. You have my highest regard as a teacher and I hope that you go to work through that process but just in general terms i’d love to hear your feedback love to have your comments about you know what works for you and how you interact with parents and had that helps the students in your care. So if this is the first of my videos that you’ve seen hope I haven’t put you off. Not usually quite so controversial, I love you to become a subscriber that way YouTube can let you know when I put out a new video which I do every week at the moment. So just hit the subscribe button and that will happen. Give me a thumbs up if you liked the video leave a comment as I said before, I look forward to talking to you again next week but for this week that’s it from me.

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