Entering high school accelerates the process of preparation for the real world. The teachers practice tough love and hold their students accountable. They don’t enjoy upsetting your child, but they expect students to be responsible for their own behavior and learning. The job of a high school teacher is to prepare students for college and careers, not to make students happy and comfortable. The job of a high school teacher is to help their students learn how to function independently while challenging them academically.
Part of preparing students for the real world is allowing them to make mistakes and figure out the solution – allowing them to fall flat on their faces, get up, brush off, and move on. Part of growing up is learning that you don’t always get what you want – that things don’t always work out for you. My favorite high school teacher says, “Let kids screw it up, get advice from parents and teachers, and try again. Don’t swoop in and fix everything.”
Parents will notice that they get a lot less direct communication from teachers at the high school level. This is partly because most high school teachers can have a hundred students or more on their class load, and partly because the teachers expect students to take the lead in communicating with them. The teachers do not let parents know about everything that happens in school or everything that students need to do. To be successful in high school and college, students have to be self-motivated and in charge of their own learning. Parents cannot do it for them.
Parents are close to their children and want the very best for them, so they often lose perspective and end up panicking too soon. Teachers often have a much clearer picture of a student’s strengths and weaknesses as compared to others of the same age, and that can be very helpful to parents. As always, teachers and parents need to really listen to each other.
High school is your last chance to let your children try out their wings while you’re still there to help pick up the pieces if they fall. Let them try things on their own, make mistakes, and figure out their own solutions. Don’t jump in to make things perfect and protect them from their mistakes. Independence is learned, and high school is the time to learn it. It’s time to start letting your children go! Let them fly.