Kids lose when parents disrespect teachers

Teachers and parents should work together to help children, but the interpretation of how they should work together needs to change (Parents, teachers must work together to help children, by Mr Syed Alwi Altahir; May 29).

Teachers should not be solely responsible for helping students improve their grades, behaviour, attitude and morals, among other things.

Parents should also take responsibility for their own child.

If a child truly is disobedient, the parent needs to accept the facts and take steps to address and correct the behaviour.

If he does not, he is sending a signal to his child that it is all right to behave badly in school, thus enabling his child to continue his mistakes.

Similarly if a child is a slow learner, it is a fact that needs to be accepted. It is not the teacher's fault for identifying the issue and being the bearer of bad news.

During parent-teacher meetings, parents need to focus on the issues at hand and not indulge in their feelings.

During parent-teacher meetings, parents need to focus on the issues at hand and not indulge in their feelings... Parents must also be aware that their child is silently observing how they interact with teachers and learning values from this.

Teachers are not responsible for managing the feelings of parents, as all parents are adults who are responsible for their own emotions and actions.

There should not be a false sense of entitlement among parents that teachers have to present facts in a pleasing manner before parents can be persuaded to listen.

Parents must also be aware that their child is silently observing how they interact with teachers and learning values from this.

No teacher looks forward to telling a parent about the shortcomings of his child. No teacher does it with the intention of hurting parents' feelings.

Conversely, it is the passionate and responsible teacher who bravely faces the unpleasant prospect and tells the parents things they may not want to hear, in the hope that the child can improve.

We seldom lash out at doctors for diagnosing something wrong in our bodies. Doctors are also free to defend themselves publicly by sharing their side of the story and adding clarity to the situation. This leads to a healthy, balanced discussion of issues.

Unfortunately, teachers do not have the freedom to publicly share their side of the story.

This is a mistake that needs to be corrected.

Among other things, it has led to some parents having a false sense of power - that they can lash out at teachers without much fear of reprisal. This is bullying and should be stopped.

The ones who really lose are the children who grow up learning that it is all right to disrespect teachers and that our society does little to protect them.

Yeoh Gek Li (Ms)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 05, 2018, with the headline 'Kids lose when parents disrespect teachers'. Print Edition | Subscribe