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Back to School Debate: Should Teachers Help Parents Raise Their Students?

Earlier today I listened to a talk radio show debate that made my toes curl. The topic was this: should teachers help parents raise their kids? In one corner a single mom of four sons whose answer was an adamant yes! She felt teachers need to “step up” more to help her take care of her kids since they often spend more time with them in the classroom than she does.

In another corner a teacher whose answer was a passionate no! She felt it’s a parent’s responsibility to raise their kids the way they see fit and a teacher’s job to simply educate.

What is your opinion? I'd love your comments!

I am in the middle on this one. From personal experience, I understand where both sides are coming from.

While I am not a parent, I have friends who are single parents. I have seen firsthand how difficult it is to take care of a child or children alone. Schools unfortunately don’t take measures to support single parents (or parents in general.) Assemblies are scheduled in the morning when parents need to report in to work. PTA meetings or parent teacher conferences are also scheduled when parents are still on the job. Sometimes there is no after school care.

Likewise I have several teacher friends. They lament about the lack of parenting in homes. Kids are coming into the classroom without basic social skills - knowing how to speak to other children or properly address adults. Behavior problems are a major issue; some of my friends have complained of spending 85% of their time disciplining bad behavior. They felt like overly educated babysitters instead of teachers.

Others mentioned students who were not school ready - not knowing how to read, write or had not completed homework assignments.

Certainly parents and teachers have their issues. But instead of thinking of each other as the “enemy” it’s up to parents and teachers to support each other for the betterment of children.

In our parent engagement and involvement video series, there is wonderful advice on how parents can work together with educators. And the advice comes from parents! One of them shares how to maintain a relationship with your child’s school by simply using the school’s website and teacher email.

Another simple piece of advice - talking to your child about his or her day at school. Be very inquisitive and even nosy if necessary. The more you know, the more you can be of help to them.

PBS Teacherline meanwhile offers a course on how Connecting Family, Community and Schools. This can be a catalyst to change how educators and parents interact with each other at your school.

As part of that heated radio debate, many callers kept repeating that overused African proverb “It takes a village to raise a child.” But it’s important to remember that the village has to work together to accomplish that.