Wednesday, June 01, 2011

How Involved Should Parents Be In Their Children's Schooling?

I'm all for giving parents all the information I can as a teacher, within reason. That's why I post assignments online, that's why teachers in my district all use an online grading system so parents can look up their kids' status in any class at any time, and that's why I ensure parents have my district email address. These kids belong, for lack of a better word, to their parents, and parents have a right--indeed, a responsibility--to ensure their kids are getting a good education.

Not everyone agrees with me:
When questions come up about how her kids are doing in school, teachers have assumed she's been following along online.

"I tell them flat out, I don't do that. I don't think it's normal to be so involved. It creates an unhealthy relationship between parents and their kids. I think kids resent it. My job as a parent is to teach them how to do things on their own. I don't want to be that kind of policeman in my house."

Odd way of thinking about things, in my book. And I'm both a teacher and a parent. To intentionally ignore easily available information about your child's progress--I just can't see how anyone can justify that.

Let's continue:
Christopher Daddis, an expert in adolescent-parent relationships and associate professor of psychology at The Ohio State University, says while children almost always get better grades when parents participate in their education, kids run into emotional trouble if they feel micromanaged.

"When parents exert too much control, children can become depressed and have increased levels of anxiety."
That's not a problem with the schools, that's a parenting problem. Do you not agree?

I've kept track of my son's grades for years. When he did poorly, I was on him. When I saw an assignment that wasn't turned in, I'd be on him immediately to make it up. Eventually, so he'd know if he was in trouble or not, he'd keep track of his own grades and then would try to "head me off at the pass" by giving me the bad news before I'd give it to him. Turns out that by monitoring his own grades, he began to demonstrate the responsibility that had so long been lacking. Was I hounding him? Maybe. Some might call it hounding, others might call it parenting.

While your mileage my vary, the outcome's been very good here at the RotLC household. I'm very proud of him.


Erin K. said...

What you do with your son and his grades doesn't really sound like micromanaging to me. Sounds more like responsible parenting. I do buy that micromanaging (real micromanaging) can be emotionally "troubling" (frustrating), but isn't that true of adults as well? Don't we all hate being micromanaged? Our ability to cope with it is just related to our maturity level. I don't buy that keeping track of your kid's grades is micromanagement, however. A manager at work would keep track of the results of his employee's work. Certainly a parent has a little more responsibility over his kids than a manager does over his employees?

But yes, I agree with you, this is a parenting dilemma, not a school problem.

An educator finishing my first year... said...

Parents will be on the teacher's back if their child forgets to bring home their hw because the teacher "didn't follow the 504 plan".

Unfortunately for some parents they think a 504 plan automatically puts ALL the responsibility on the teacher.

Anonymous said...

Children are individuals. So are parents. But many children, including myself, succeed in a situation where they are responsible for their own work. My parents probably couldn't tell you what classes I am in, but if asked if I was doing in well in whatever those classes are? Resounding yes. I know I am of the few self-motivated students but I think of that small group, many are being needlessly watched by parents who want their children succeed so badly that they hinder their children from doing anything by themselves. Your method is about the extent I think a parent should go. Instead, try stressing the importance of what they are doing, and its application later in life. After a certain point, we can handle ourselves.