In this morning’s Post, a teacher from our overly-large school district has some things to say about parental involvement.
His focus is not on the lack of participation, however, but on those who are “overinvolved” in their children’s education.
Let me be clear: The vast majority of parents with whom we deal are wonderful and supportive. However, a rapidly growing minority is having a real, negative impact on schools, and the teaching profession, by being too involved in their children’s lives.
… by the mid-’90s, there had been a shift. Parents began to micromanage not only their children’s lives but those of their teachers as well.
Anyone teaching in the DC area has probably had more than their share of these parents.
The ones who question every assignment, argue over every grade, excuse every mistake their child makes, call the principal (or superintendent) whenever they don’t get their way.
The parents who smugly enjoyed reminding us “I pay your salary”. (A remark to which I always wanted to respond “You know, of course, I also pay my salary.”.)
But the percentage of these “overinvolved” parents has always been higher in this area.
The very first parent conference I attended after starting here many years back included four teachers, a counselor, the student, the mother – and her lawyer.
That certainly added to the pressure of teaching! But, fortunately, not to the extent that I ever thought of quitting.
For my colleague, it was the straw that broke the camel’s back. She was willing to work long hours to develop dynamic lessons, to tutor students and to give second chances. But continually to allow students to make the same mistake? At this point, she knew, a school isn’t helping its students; it’s hurting them. What happened to high standards? My colleague began to consider another career.
It’s sad if parental excesses, piled on top of everything else, is really the deciding factor for teachers to abandon the profession.