Teachers deserve more respect for their knowledge.
I’m not talking about their knowledge of math, science or whatever subject they teach. I’m talking about their knowledge of how to raise kids.
Face it, teachers have more impact on a child’s upbringing than many harried, out-of-touch parents. Sad but true.
So parents like you and me should listen to the wisdom teachers can offer on child-rearing based on years in the classroom trenches.
My friend and former Dallas Morning News colleague Steve Blow had a good column this week on a retiring teacher who pulled no punches in her assessmen of some parents’ ineptitude.
“When did we start to negotiate with our kids?” asks Debbie Hulme Rush of the Lewisville, Texas, school district. “I hear it all the time in the way parents talk to their kids. They say, ‘It’s time for dinner, OK?’ or ‘Put that toy back, OK?’
“Don’t ask. Tell! Say it and mean it.”
She has more tough-love advice for wimpy parents.
“Ugh, don’t get me started on this ‘time out’ and ‘naughty chair’ business,” Debbie says. “Kids need to face real consequences. They need a quick, uncomfortable, attention-grabbing response to misbehavior.”
Are you listening?
Trust teachers more than so-called experts
These days, you can find parenting advice from many sources. Some of it comes from academics or researchers.
Personally, I’d trust the wisdom of a classroom teacher much more than an ivory tower egghead. I’ve often felt school superintendents and trustees don’t value the input of teachers nearly enough.
The policymakers make budget cuts and implement curricula without listening to the battle-tested experience of teachers. For some reason, district officials trust the word of an out-of-town consultant more than an in-the-classroom teacher.
As parents, we should seek out teachers for their advice far more than we do. I’ve got an end-of-the-year conference with my son’s fifth-grade teacher this week. Naturally, I’ll ask how Connor has done in his studies. But I also plan to ask how he’s developing as a person.
Is he kind? Respectful? Patient?
I’ll also ask, “What could I be doing better as a parent?”
Listen, teachers deal with dozens of kids each day. We deal with one or two. Teachers’ experience makes them parenting experts. They routinely see the results of good parenting and bad parenting.
Next time you see a teacher, thank them for their classroom contribution. And ask their advice on how you can be a better parent.