When parents get angry and frustrated with schools, it’s often because of the ways in which principals and teachers think about children and their needs. Parents and school staff have very different perspectives on children. The school perspective can be hard for parents to understand, but both perspectives are necessary and valuable if children are to successfully learn and grow in school.
Let’s break it down, looking at the school’s point of view versus the parent’s point of view:
|Schools deal with children in groups of other kids who are the same age and grade.||Parents deal with children as individuals rather than as members of a group.|
|Schools compare individual children to other members of their group. That’s the point of grades and test scores.||Parents understand their own child’s unique set of strengths and weaknesses, but often don’t see how their child compares to others.|
|Schools think long-term – they prepare children to earn a high school diploma and be ready for college or the working world.||Parents focus more on the short-term health and happiness of their child rather than the long-term consequences of today’s decisions.|
|Schools make decisions based on what will be best for most of the children in the class or the school.||Parents are concerned with what is best for their individual child.|
|The school staff has heard it all before – every concern, every problem, every excuse.||Concerns about school and the needs of their child are new and important to parents.|
It is the job of the school staff to let you know how your child measures up to age peers and grade-level expectations – how well your child learns and behaves for his age and grade placement. That’s the purpose of conferences, grades, and state test scores.
It is your job to let teachers know about your child’s individual strengths and weaknesses, his challenges and successes, and the best ways to motivate him and manage his behavior.