Parents strive to raise children to be productive citizens and good stewards in their communities. Teachers are charged with creating safe environments in which children can learn, grow and excel academically. There are specific responsibilities parents and teachers have in regard to the children in their care. Understanding the different roles teachers and parents play can enhance a child's experience and bridge the gap between home and school.
Teachers spend time preparing children to learn academic skills by creating lesson plans, classwork and homework assignments. Parents try to make sure their children complete homework assignments, turn them in on time and sometimes provide academic enrichment through after-school tutoring and learning games. Teachers and parents, however, can have a different understanding of who is responsible for ensuring that a child excels at school. According to ECAP Collaborative, the responsibility of a child's education can vary according to a parent or teacher's point-of-view. Parents who feel that it's solely their responsibility to educate a child have a parent-focused outlook, whereas in the school-focused paradigm, the teacher or school feels this is their primary responsibility.
Discipline is a touchy subject for parents and teachers. Part of the responsibility of any teacher is to maintain class decorum by making sure students respect the rules so learning can flourish. Parents take on the responsibility of teaching children morals and values such as respect for others and self, and appropriate social skills. Conflict arises when a teacher lacks classroom management skills or has to take over the dual roles as parent and instructor because a parent has a permissive style of discipline. In some cases, a parent may be hypersensitive to a teacher frequently “correcting” her child because she may feel this goes beyond the teacher's role. A happy medium occurs when both teacher and parent work together to ensure the child respects rules inside and outside the classroom.
Teacher conferences, notes sent home, open houses and phone calls are all traditional ways teachers use to connect with parents. In the parent-focused paradigm, parents take an active role by attending school meetings and making sure they are up-to-date with their child's progress. A parent may have work responsibilities and errands, however, which prevent her from staying in touch with her child's teacher. This lack of engagement can often frustrate a teacher who tries to keep the lines of communication open with a parent, thereby causing conflict in the teacher-parent relationship. Additionally, parental involvement in a lower societal-economic communities may be sporadic due to the stress of providing for the family and language barriers. Parental involvement can increase a child's success at school and more parents are taking an active role in their children's education. In fact, according to an article on Child Trends Databank.com, parental engagement at schools rose significantly between 1997 and 2007.
When a child has developmental and mental health issues, teachers and parents take on special responsibilities. If a teacher suspects that a child has a condition which affects her ability to function in the classroom, such as autism, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder or depression, she will work with the parent to have the child tested. If an issue is identified, a teacher will provide additional supports through an instructional education program offered at school. Parents with special needs children often provide the child with counseling and adaptive technology to reinforce learning and social skills. The responsibilities of teachers and parents can overlap, but according to an article on PBS online, the key to any child's success in school is a positive parent-teacher relationship.
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