Ron Clark, the acclaimed teacher and author, wrote a CNN commentary this week titled What teachers really want to tell parents.
I hope any teacher reading it ends up following the opposite of some of the advice he gives:
And if you really want to help your children be successful, stop making excuses for them. I was talking with a parent and her son about his summer reading assignments. He told me he hadn’t started, and I let him know I was extremely disappointed because school starts in two weeks. His mother chimed in and told me that it had been a horrible summer for them because of family issues they’d been through in July. I said I was so sorry, but I couldn’t help but point out that the assignments were given in May.
Now, that’s the way to model empathy….
We are educated professionals who work with kids every day and often see your child in a different light than you do. If we give you advice, don’t fight it. Take it, and digest it in the same way you would consider advice from a doctor or lawyer.
How about starting a relationship with parents by asking for their advice on what works best for their child?
For more elegant responses to Clark’s column, be sure to read:
Letter To Ron Clark: What Parents Really Want To Tell Teachers by Doug Goldberg.
This is what creates gang wars between parents and teachers. by Lorna Constantini.
What CARING Teachers Want To Tell Parents is by Michelle Baldwin.
Listen, I understand and have experienced occasional frustrations with parents as much as any teacher. But, come one, in order to work effectively with parents, we need to lead with our ears, not with our mouths.