The following is a guest post by Eugene Eaton. Eugene is an Australian-based blogger for CareersBooster, who is into stand-up comedy. His favorite comedians are Louis CK and George Carlin. A good morning laugh is what keeps Eugene upbeat and motivated through a harsh day.
Dear Parents, I Am Challenging Your Kid
Education has always been a controversial topic. Parents want the best for their children and teachers try their best at the same time. A problem arises when kids don’t accomplish what their parents expect of them.
Their struggle leads parents to misunderstand what’s happening and approaching the problem from the wrong direction. Instead of working things out as a family, they sometimes blame the teacher.
Even when they have a chance to converse normally, they ask uncomfortable questions. Amongst them is an accusation that teachers don’t “challenge” their child. This elephant in the room causes rifts in parent-teacher relationships.
The parents’ perspective
When they raise their children, parents get to know them and learn their habits perfectly. However, this is in a limited environment, without too much proof of the child’s character. The moment school starts, parents expect more from their kids, but from the education system as well.
Expectations are the wrong way to look at their child’s intellectual growth. Instead of bringing joy and success, parents tend to get mad or disappointed when their expectations aren’t met.
Jeremiah Matters, a pedagogy and psychology specialist at CareersBooster, says, “Parents go through a lot of pressure because they want the absolute best for their child. They try so hard that they sometimes end up venting their frustrations the wrong way. Unfortunately, teachers are the ones who suffer because of their children’s shortcomings. The most uncomfortable thing they do is question the work ethic of teachers.”
During parent-teacher conferences, some parents want to know if the teacher is doing everything he or she can to educate their child. All they think about is results, instead of looking at the whole picture.
The parents think the problem is because the teacher doesn’t challenge their child enough. Even posing this question is insulting. As a teacher, I will give you an analysis of the educator’s perspective.
We teachers take our job very seriously and work on even the most basic things. Amongst these facets is the best possible teaching method – posing a challenge to students. A class is structured precisely this way. I teach math to high school students, and I follow one of the most efficient teaching methods. Here’s how it goes:
- I explain the lesson and everything connected to it.
- In between different explanations, I pose questions to cause students to become more curious.
- As they become more curious, they become more involved as I explain the rest of the lesson.
- Once the lesson is done, I explain problems.
- Simple problems give children confidence.
- After we’re done with simple problems, I give them the opportunity to solve the harder ones.
- As they solve the harder ones, I ask them additional questions and challenge them to give their best.
Education in itself is a challenge. We give our students the tools to solve seemingly difficult tasks. When they feel challenged, they are motivated to give their best and succeed.
In the classroom, we only want the very best for them. So yes, your child is being challenged, and not a single lesson is an exception to this way of approaching students. What’s the problem, then?
Where the problem appears
Some might not realize, but we further deepen the challenging part of our classes. Every day, I do all the following things to help your child become better:
- Give them a challenging task and allow them to engage
- Encourage them to solve the problem by establishing a healthy and competitive environment
- Give them the opportunity to think deeply about the crux of the problem
- Offer the students an opportunity to teach each other through group assignments and working in pairs
- Stimulate their love for the topic
Not only do I teach your child everything they need to have an A+ in math, but also everything they need in life. A problem appears when the child doesn’t have good enough marks or if he isn’t motivated.
At this precise time, you should talk to your child before you talk to me. No matter how much I challenge my students, there will still be factors I cannot influence. Through talks with your child, you can learn so much.
Understand your child
Childhood is the most difficult period in everyone’s life. In a little more than one decade, children have to learn so much, about a variety of topics. Even if your child is incredibly intelligent, he can still feel fatigue.
Sit down with them and talk. Don’t be afraid to come over and have a talk with me together. My job isn’t done after the bell rings. Your child is a person, and I want them to grow into the best person they can be.
As a teacher, I encourage all of my students to tell me if I’m making a mistake or if I can do something better. However, you cannot say I am not challenging them enough. That is the basis of my entire profession, and I dedicate every moment of my work to bringing out the best of my students.
Parents and teachers aren’t enemies. We have to work together, and I am always available for cooperation.
Your child may not like math, and that’s okay. Encourage him to speak to me, but please don’t think he or she is not challenged enough. Instead, let us work as a team to make them the best person possible.
A child is going through a turbulent period in their life, and we’re here to help them. Talking resolves all problems, and I’m sure we can come to a solution. Teachers are human too, and we would love if you stopped thinking we’re not challenging your child. Every day, we give our best to provide challenges for the entire class, and we’re never going to give up. Instead of accusing us, talk to us and allow us to get to know your child. Let’s build a relationship.
I am, once again, partnering with Angela Watson to help promote her 40-Hour Teacher Workweek Club. It’s an online professional development program that has already helped more than 32,000 teachers take control of their time and stay focused on what matters most. The next cohort starts in July, and the Club has been updated to cover emerging best practices for the changes ahead. Click here to join!