Parent…”My son is having a hard time in a couple of classes right now.” Teacher… “I’m not going to talk to YOU about this.”
I understand how hard it is to be a parent of a student. I am one. I hear the above quote all the time. Our school runs to save the student and make the parent feel like their kid is okay. This is a wrong approach in my opinion at the high school level. This story typically ends up with the parent calling or emailing the teacher on behalf of their kid. The teacher offers more instruction through after school time or tutoring centers, or extensions, or any number of options and schedules the whole thing with the parent of the student.
This is the wrong approach. I’ll say it again, this is not the correct way to work through a student’s “hard time” in classes!
Let’s look at step one. The student should be the one asking for help and emailing or talking with the teacher. Not the parent. Ever. This is a perfect opportunity for the student to learn to communicate with their peers and teachers…on their own. I know this is terrifying as a parent sometimes because you think your kid is going to fail. And that’s exactly the reason to let your kid take charge.
The next step is options given. As stated above, the options were worked out with the parent. Replace parent with student here. The teacher should give the student the options and not the parent. The student needs to get used to making decisions on their own. The student is the one that will learn to take charge of their education by doing so. As a teacher, I pose options to the student and let them decide to take action. I highly discourage the “let me ask my parents.” route. If the option doesn’t work, I can ask the student why not. Students also look at evaluating their decision here.
I have talked with several people who hire high school and college students and have heard incredibly crazy stories about parental interference. That is not a misprint. Parents have actually called businesses where their kids are applying and asking questions for their kids. Business people say that is a sure fire way not to get the job. I have heard of student applicants calling a business they are interviewing for to ask directions to the interview. If an applicant can’t find the answer on their own, the business won’t hire them. This shows that the employer that the applicant will rely on other people to do things for them. Defeats the purpose of hiring someone doesn’t it?
"Let your kids experience a little pain and struggle in high school."
There are many more reasons other than these to let your kids experience a little pain and struggle in high school. This will allow them to learn how to be responsible and make decisions for themselves.