By Captain Unni Krishnan,
The days of “Acharya devo bhava” ( teachers are god) probably no more exist , reasons for this may be many. The dynamics of student teacher and in turn parent teacher relationship in this era in our country has a new dimension. To make a positive influence on the child’s development, it is essential that interactions between teacher and parent are productive and positive. We all understand that both parents and teachers aim at the student doing well in life but for the parent the child and probably the siblings or a few children in the neighborhood are the only benchmark and many a time the reaction is more emotional. The teacher has a larger spectrum of children in the class, is more clinical in observation and hence is able to assess more dispassionately.
In an exchange of notes, if both are mature and the aim is to not blame the child but help overcome the shortcomings, the result will be very positive. Often it happens that the teacher is critical about the child and immediately, the parent becomes defensive, as a result the communication is more of a confrontation and a fault-finding session commences which does not benefit any one.
Parents and teachers in their discussions must consider themselves to be on the same side that will help them look at the child from the same angle. While it is essential to be positive and motivate children but we must also understand that children have to realize the fact that excellence comes from hard work. If parents negotiate top grades and positions then children will become lazy and shun hard work.
Another important aspect where parents tend to shield children is punishments (of course now schools do not award any physical punishment but limit it to restrictions or notes in student diary), Mistakes are a part of growing up, and every one makes mistakes and gets punished as a correction process. If children are playing they are bound to have arguments, fall, get hurt, these are natural. So also, children fight and make up but it becomes an issue when it comes up for discussion in parent teacher meetings (many a times it is the children who fight regularly who turn out to be the best of friends).
How to conduct a fruitful Parent Teacher meeting? It would be ideal if both the parent and the teacher prepare on a positive note. Approach the meeting with the intent to listen to the other party rather to put across concerns on their list. Teachers must make notes of the concerns expressed by parents. Teachers along with their concerns must suggest possible remedies. Parents and teachers must consider each other to be on equal footing rather than on a talk down approach.
Most importantly Parents must understand the limitation of the school which functions for a community of students and is not a one on one solution and hence cannot cater to individual needs of each child.
About the Author:
Captain Unni Krishnan is a Founder and Director of LearnHive; he is also the Founder and Managing Trustee of Primus Public School, Bangalore. Prior to that he was the Founder and Trustee of Indus International School. At Primus, he has been instrumental in implementation of new teaching pedagogies. He has seamlessly integrated the International and Indian syllabi to help prepare students for higher studies both in India and Overseas. Capt. is a ‘Sword of Honor’ from the prestigious Officers Training Academy of the Indian Army.
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