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Teacher Parents

IN recent years, we’ve been treated to reams of op-ed articles about how we need better teachers in our public schools and, if only the teachers’ unions would go away, our kids would score like Singapore’s on the big international tests. There’s no question that a great teacher can make a huge difference in a student’s achievement, and we need to recruit, train and reward more such teachers. But here’s what some new studies are also showing: We need better parents. Parents more focused on their children’s education can also make a huge difference in a student’s achievement.

Friedman is opening a can of worms here. He is tapping into the teacher/parent finger blame game that has been circling schools. As a first year teacher, I fell into this trap of blaming parents.

I was wrong.

Most parents that I’ve encountered, especially in high poverty situations, want to help their children succeed but don’t know how. When I put my finger-pointing hands in my lap and opened my ears, I realized that I could offer some strategies that we could work together to provide continuity.

As teachers, it’s easy to fall into the trap of blaming parents, especially when many of us are dedicating so much of our time and personal energy to the teaching profession. Michael Smith in a reflective post, says:

Except for the fact I always wonder if I’m spending too much time helping raise other people’s kids and not enough time on my own.

Contrary to popular belief, teachers and administrators aren’t super humans that are able to solve all the world’s problems. We are dedicating our lives to our students, but we are also parents too.