Wednesday, December 3, 2008


Back in High School when I taught Karate, my studio had a banquet/potluck thing in which we all got to see each other in a social context. Part of this was also introducing myself as an instructor to all of the families and students who might not be familiar with me or in my classes. When it came my turn to say a few words in front of everyone I found myself thanking the parents who drove their kids to class each week and who supported and enabled both their children and us. In many ways the relationship between instructor and parent and teacher and parent are the same.

I'm not really writing this post just to say that parents are important and contribute to the learning process, but to suggest that parents are underrated and underutilized. Yes, they can sometimes be frustrating, but they also contribute in many ways when asked. Field trips often require parents to come along, PTAs raise extra funds, and even little things such as getting their child up each morning and sending them off to school. You know, small things.

I'll admit, my experience with parents as a teacher is nill, because I'm not yet a teacher. Also, when I was an instructor I really had a love/ hate relationship with them. They were especially frustrating when they blamed me for their child's struggles. But at the same time, at a karate studio most parents sit in the lobby and watch each class, so they tend to feel more hands on.

As I've become older, and as I've seen how many teachers interact with parents, I believe they are a resource and ally that is often overlooked.

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