Glass Half Full: Teachers and parents — they’re both human
Special to the Bonanza
One of my primary — and most essential — responsibilities as a Head of School is hiring teachers. Over the 30 years that I have been an administrator, it’s fair to say that I’ve interviewed scores and scores of applicants for a variety of positions.
I am consistently reminded of the great art involved in good teaching. I have written in the past honoring my noteworthy teachers and encouraged readers to reflect and do the same about their own.
However, unless you have spent time in a classroom actually preparing and delivering lessons and working with each child individually, it’s difficult to understand, fully, what goes into quality teaching.
I suggest that those who are parents and critical of their children’s teachers stop and consider what the job really entails. Then stop and reflect upon yourselves as parents.
I can guarantee you that every teacher will have at least an occasional challenging day — quite possibly with your child. I can guarantee that I, personally, had occasional challenging days with the classes I taught, not to mention my own children.
None of us is perfect. We come to parenting and to teaching with much to learn. The longer we do either job, the better we should become. That said, every child brings a different personality to the mix, as well as their own occasional challenging days.
Picture this: As a parent you have planned the perfect family meal. You know everyone’s tastes and have created a menu that suits everyone. You are actually quite pleased with yourself. The table is even set with nice china and silverware and flowers. How lovely!
Then … your daughter’s track practice and carpool run late, and she arrives griping about how much homework she has. Your spouse calls from work just to let you know there is an emergency meeting that will set the schedule back about 45 minutes.
Your son suddenly has a stomachache. You, as an experienced parent, manage to juggle it all, but not without some complaining on everyone’s part and a main course just a tad overdone. Perhaps you remained calm through the evening; perhaps not completely.
Now, I ask you to think about teachers and their plans. More and more, we expect teachers to differentiate their instruction (think preparing four main dishes instead of one) as well as to carve out the time to sit with the child who had a bad start to the morning and provide personal support and encouragement.
Teaching can be exhausting. It is also invigorating, inspiring, and deeply rewarding. I consider my own career and recognize that I provided certain strengths and insights in stage that perhaps weren’t as strong in another.
My energy and optimism were limitless my first few years; my insight and strategies increased over the latter. In every year, I did my best teaching when I knew I had parent support and recognition for my humanity.
Teachers and parents both are human. Our children thrive best when we support each other.
Ruth Glass is headmaster at Lake Tahoe School. She can be reached for comment through her blog at http://www.laketahoeschool.org.
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