Teamwork needed for son who feels targeted by teacher
Q: How do I, as a parent, get my son’s teacher to treat him respectfully? My son complains that he feels targeted by her and I don’t think she appreciates the harm she is doing.
A: These days there is much pressure on teachers to go far beyond the original mandate of education. Teachers are called on to babysit, soothe egos and be mental health counsellors and behaviour managers.
At the same time many parents are holding down at least one job each (and, in some cases, several jobs) just to make ends meet. In their need to manage financially, parents can feel guilt for being less available to their children.
These days, children are often more tied to devices than to people. And in the absence of parental attention, many are aimless and emotionally disconnected.
Their best friend is the device through which they connect to others — often in meaningless interactions or through highly charged and stimulating video games.
Parents ask me how to address their concerns with teachers, and teachers ask me how to address their concerns with parents.
The solution is to resist blame and shame, and start a dialogue. We need to appreciate each adult’s role in the child’s life and determine reasonable expectations of one another in regard to the care and education of that child.
Society has changed greatly. Parents are caught up in economic constraints, societal changes and a wave of technology that’s more challenging to parenting than ever before. Teachers, in turn, are called on to do so much more with so much less.
Assuming the teacher is disrespectful, as your son alleges, the solution is for parent and teacher to engage in respectful dialogue.
That dialogue might start, for example, by expressing your mutual challenges and frustrations as parent and as teacher. You may come to learn something about each other and then, in the calm of respect and understanding, you have an opportunity to generate solutions to support the child.
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