Start Believing In Parents Like You Believe In Their Kids
I am challenging everyone to stop saying that parents don’t value education or that parents don’t care. Stop saying it for any reason! I expect a few people will try to provide examples of situations that prove a certain set of parents don’t care but I won’t listen. Yes, there are bad people out there and situations that make it very difficult to “believe” but what I am asking is for all teachers to ignore that and carry on as if all parents do care. Because I think 99.9999% of parents do value education, they just might not show it in ways that are typical or be able to show it in ways you are accustomed to. Maybe they had a bad experience in school, maybe they feel embarrassed, maybe it is cultural, maybe they work three jobs, just maybe. I believe that all of my kids can be successful and I believe that each one of them can achieve in my classroom. I think all teachers can yell that from the rooftops. It is important that we have the same blind faith in parents because when we start doubting them we are undermining a crucial aspect of student success. Parents matter, they are an important part of the success of our students. What can we do to support the parents that need us most? We ask that question about the kids in our classroom but I wonder if we ask it about the parents.
That old man in the picture above is my Dad (with my oldest son.) He never went to conferences, never signed papers, never read with me or helped me with homework or science projects. Mainly because he couldn’t or he felt like he couldn’t. My Dad migrated from Mexico picking cotton as a kid and his schooling was not extensive. He can fix or repair just about anything but struggles with spelling and writing to this day. There are reasons he wasn’t involved but I know he valued my education despite never showing that to my teachers.
You might never know the experiences, situations or backgrounds of the families coming to you so give them the benefit of the doubt every time.