Originally Posted by kathymuggle
I have also noticed a "teacher versus parents" thing going on. Most teachers seem in favout of the compact, while a good chunk of the parents (myself included) have issues with it.
I hope this is not too OT, but I find the us versus them mentality a little scary, and don't like how parents and teachers seem to see the other side as adversaries. I wonder if this is how it is on a bunch of issues (not just this one).
I must admit, I would like to see teachers be the ones to bridge this divide and become more flexible (or to "hear" parents more). First off, parents are the guardians of their children - not teachers, and secondly, we pay their salaries.
So I think we a right to demand that teachers be more accomodating to us (not the other way around).
That is way OT. I just had to put it out there though, as food for thought.
I really think that the teachers are getting messages from - where, I'm not sure exactly, but certainly it's very broadly based - that they are supposed to guide what happens in the family - get parents to do x (read with their children, supervise homework, eat properly.)
I have a lot of sympathy for them because really - what can they do? All this "stuff" - pledges and agenda book signing and homework assignments "for the whole family" is really geared towards trying to control the time outside of the school day. I know some of the reasons for it - it was really frustrating to work in special ed and have a whole range of problems sometimes come down to "didn't eat breakfast."
But the idea that teachers change families is to my mind more of a Hollywood creation than a reality. I personally think this creates a lot of frustration and wasted effort. The pledge that started this thread - sure, sign it or don't sign it, whatever. But really it is emblematic of a problem between teachers and parents.
(Sure, there are teachers who have developed relationships with families and changed their dynamics for the better, helped get children the proper diagnoses and help, etc. But I do not think this really ever happens globally - that a teacher sends a sheet home to read a book every night and suddenly a non-reading household blossoms into a literary salon. I also think it is a little grandiose for the educational system to think that this is its goal.)
I think parents should be given information, in case they need it. I also think if there is a problem then there should be a specific discussion geared to that family and child to address it. But I think the schools should stop trying to dictate what happens at home, except for certain kinds of useful homework - and if it is really useful, and age-appropriate, it shouldn't be a nightly battle on the part of the parents.
Also, a child is more than his or her formal education. In my family we volunteer several hours a week and I'm sorry, but to me that is just as important as homework will ultimately be - it connects us intergenerationally, to our community, and gives ourselves and our kids concrete examples of how we apply our skills to create change in the world. This would trump my "pledge" to make sure homework is completed on time.
And secondly, it really does create a "top-down" dynamic. Why is the assumption that the teacher should tell me what to do an hour a night, when I don't have the option of telling the teacher what to do for an hour during his or her day? It's condescending.