Teachers don’t have it easy these days. From chronically slashed budgets to a constant bombardment of demands from school boards, parents, and kids, teachers often feel as if they’re being pulled in every direction.
But then, so do the parents. It’s not easy working a full-time (or even part-time!) job while trying to attend class trips, help out in the classroom, and host school fundraisers on the weekends. Most parents face 8+ hour workdays, shift work, lengthy commutes, and loads of stress.
Research has shown that parents feel as if they are too busy to spend time with their kids. One study out of the UK found that out of 2,000 British families, more than one-quarter of working parents felt as if spending time with their children was a daily challenge. Eight out of ten of those parents said that didn’t feel as if they spent enough time with their kids overall.
Pressure from schools leads to parental guilt
If there’s one thing that all parents can bond over, it’s the overwhelming sense of parental guilt.
Mums and dads regularly feel guilty over the decisions they make. According to one American study involving 2,000 parents, every week parents experience 23 pangs of guilt because they feared their decisions weren’t up to par.
A lot of these sources of guilt involve school-related events. Missing a parent-teacher conference because you couldn’t be there by 4:30 pm, being late for a child’s performance, or not selling enough chocolates for yet another school fundraiser are all common.
Then there are the weekly requests sent home asking parents to partake in school activities. What’s worse is that many schools don’t embrace technology, which can make ensuring parents attend school events easier.
The last thing a mum or dad wants to do after stepping over the threshold of their home is digging through their child’s bag for a crumpled up juice soaked permission slip or notice. If sent by email or text, however, a parent will be more likely to not only read the notice but be able to reference it later should he or she need to.
Teachers are feeling the strain
Back in the day, teachers were respected for their knowledge and professionalism. Now, a lot more parents seem to be willing to excuse their children for their poor performance or attitude. Some teachers are even blamed for a student’s shortcomings despite best efforts.
As nearly any teacher will tell you, their work day does not only run from 9 am to 3 pm. Many spend hours at the school in the mornings and evenings, and every teacher takes their work home with them. Some parents consider this a perk, but it’s also fair to argue that their homes – meant to be a place of peace and relaxation – simply turn into another stressful place of work.
Parents and teachers need more support
Parental involvement in their child’s education is crucial for their success. With parents and teachers being busier than ever, it’s the responsibility of everyone all to find better ways to support a child’s learning.
One excellent free resource is the Learning Potential app. The Australian Government designed the Learning Potential app to help parents and carers of children be more involved in their child’s education. The app provides helpful tips and suggestions on how families can make the most out of their quality time with one another during those few short hours they share each week.
Parents can also spend more quality time with their kids at school activities, like partaking in reading groups or lunch monitoring. Capitalise on your strengths, whether that’s organising fundraisers, helping build a new play structure, or simply setting up chairs for this year’s nativity.
It’s time for us all to stop pointing fingers and playing the blame game. When working together as a team, teachers and parents can become a dynamic force that will be the most beneficial for a child’s education and development.