Monday, March 10, 2008

The role of parents in the classroom

Scott McLeod posted an interesting series of videos of kids baiting teachers. There is plenty of discussion on the comments page; the majority of which thought that the kids were way out of line and should be punished. Dy/Dan had some interesting thoughts on it too. A bunch of the comments also thought the parents were partly or mostly to blame for the misbehavior of the kids. It's probably true, but not really relevant; you can't come down on the parents one way or another - no, not even if you threaten physical violence in a blog comment - and the variety of parenting that gets done pretty much guarantees that some kids will get the sort of parenting that causes them to act out in class.

But I think the one thing I really noticed in the comments was that parents always seemed to be them. "The problem boils down to the parents." "Parents need to whip into their children..." "The parents are both working..."

I haven't really been keeping up with the discussion I've been hoping to have about public school parents. As my son has gone through kindergarten, I've had extremely minimal interaction with the school - I volunteered for one or two things, and went to a PTO meeting - but really it seems like what I do mostly is look over the papers my son brings home, and check with him on how his day went. I've been following some of the teachers who post on Twitter, but even those discussions really seem to focus on new technology for the classroom, cool lesson plans, and other very teacher-focussed issues. Do parents and teachers interact at all? I'm beginning to wonder. "Mr. Fulton, your child is doing just fine but he could stand to work on his math skills" seems to be about the extent of it.

How do we, as parents, begin wedging our way into the discussions of how our children's schools are run?