Bonding with Schools is a Part of Parenting
The journey of a loved one to a choice school on the first day is a matter of incredible excitement. Parental expectations and a school’s response may not always be in sync with each other. It is necessary that parents take certain steps on their part to turn this relationship into a lasting, memorable and fruitful experience.
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The journey of a loved one to a choice school on the first day is a matter of incredible excitement. For the children too it may be an exciting experience, though some children do suffer from separation anxiety. Parental expectations and a school’s response may not always be in sync with each other. In the event of a mismatch, the parental experience and a child’s progress may not be as expected, turning the school-parent relationship sour. It is necessary, therefore, that parents take certain steps on their part to turn this relationship into a lasting, memorable and fruitful experience.
1. Class teacher is the fulcrum
The first point of the contact in the school is the class teacher. Especially for a pre-schooler not concerned with the hierarchy and who does not come in touch with most people in the school who are part of the administration. Pre-schoolers put all their faith in the class teacher, and she is for them an iconic figure, the be-all and a source of solution for all queries. The parents must also join their children in having complete faith in the class teacher. They must empathise with the teacher, her role and responsibility, and must not forget that she is dealing with a thousand problems related to all the children under her charge. Appreciating her patience, not jumping to conclusions and avoiding accusations are effective practices to build relationships. In any case, parents should not criticise the teacher in the presence of the children.
2. Do not criticise, collaborate instead
Once the initial bonhomie between the parent and school is over, the cracks begin to appear in the relationship. The best course for the parents is not to indulge in liberal criticism. The school is an extension of the home and vice-versa. The best thing, of course, is to join hands with the teachers and school in arriving at a solution to the problems. The course of action, therefore, is the collaboration that quickly brings in an understanding of each other’s perspectives, empathy and sharing of thoughts and resources. Many parents are very helpful in pointing out issues not as their personal problems but as something which is not in the best interest of the institution and the students.
3. Volunteer your services
Parents’ volunteering in the activities of the school is not a common practice in Indian schools. There are hundreds of opportunities where parents can offer their time, energy and expertise in the interest of the school. It strengthens the relationship and saves a lot of financial, logistical and other hassles to the school. Parents can volunteer to teach, manage dispersal, counsel and guide, facilitate field visits, raise funds for social causes and use their network to invite experts to the school. They can come to the rescue of the school in times of crisis. The Ministry of Human Resources, Govt. of India, has initiated a programme called ‘Vidyanjali’ with an aim to enhance the community’s involvement in the schools. Each school could be a centre of ‘Vidyanjali’ with parental initiatives.
4. Children belong to the world
There is no denying the fact that children belong to parents. But can wevisualise the big picture: Children belong to the world.
Khalil Gibran famously said, “Your children are not your children.They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.”
It purports: parents begin to see all the children as their own and also to accept that their kids have to play a much larger role in the world. Inculcationof the highest values and finest human qualities must be the purpose of schooling. The fight between two children should not escalate to a fight between two parents, and an issue with one child should not turn into a problem with the other child’s parents. All attempts must be made to encourage values of friendship, equality, love and compassion for all the children. Many a times parents fight over what role their kid gets in a school’s program. Why did she not get this position or that? These are minor issues,not worth arguing about. Larger issues are; if children had a beautiful day in school; if they learnt one good quality a day.
Dr Isidor Issac Rabi, Nobel Prize winner in Physics (1944) credited his mother for nurturing his interest in science. Asked to elaborate he said, “Unlike other mothers who would ask their kids upon return from school, how was the day, how was the teacher etc., my mum would ask, Issac, did you ask your teacher a good question today?”
5. Digital citizenship
The objective of any school, parent, and community should be to build digital citizenship values in the children. In the modern world where information technology has completely overtaken the way our kids think, act and behave; we need to look at the world a little differently. Our young ones require inculcating social competencies and capacities to develop digital information and communication and active participation through individual and collaborative efforts.These are the skills both at asocial and personal level that our children need to learn to be safe, efficient, critical thinkers and effective communicators. At academic, affective and skill acquisition levels our children have to develop these global competencies to help them work and grow in a multi cultural, multi lingual environment. The challenge before the schools and the parents is how to engage the young generation to prepare them for college, workforce and life in a technological society. Such aspirations can be realised only when the major stakeholders the parents and schools join hand.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house
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