Is being a Parent/Carer the toughest job of all?
The Chief Inspector of OFSTED will this week make a statement claiming that ‘schools are not there to do parents work’ referring to preventing childhood obesity, tackling knife crim and gang related violence. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-46416421
We are of course responsible for teaching students about the importance of healthy eating, staying safe and reporting any concerns to the relevant people but all too often it seems that society is quick to blame teachers for failing to educate children in all aspects of social responsibility. Yet we understand that the job of a Parent/Carer is a demanding one and children often spend more time in school with their teachers than at home with their Parents.
I am not a parent myself, though have 2 nieces who mean the world to me, yet I often think about how hard it must be to have children in this age of social media and apparent mobile phone/gaming addiction. I have seen it myself when trying to engage my nieces in a conversation about school when they have been more interested in the instant messages that keep pinging to their phones than my attempts to get them talking.
Me: How was school today?
Niece 1: Fine.
Me: So, what did you get up to?
Niece 2: Nothing much.
Trying to engage a child in conversation about their day at school can be like getting blood from a stone. As a parent however, it is so important to let your child know that you care about their education. A recent study by the Royal institute of Science found that ‘it is parents who have the greatest influence on whether or not pupils perform well and stay in school. Pupils whose parents take only a limited interest in their learning are far more likely than their peers to perform badly academically and to drop out of school’.
So how can you show your child you care? Well the first thing is to demonstrate resilience and determination in getting them to tell you about their day. Rather than asking them the generic ‘how was your day?’ try asking one or more of the suggestions below:
- Tell me about a lesson that really challenged you today
- Tell me about something you have done today that made you feel proud
- Is there anything you are worried or anxious about?
- Was there any moment today where you felt excited about something you were learning?
- Can you think of a time in a lesson where you wanted to find out more about what you were learning about?
- Is there anything you would like to talk about that I can help you understand better?
- What are you looking forward to tomorrow?
By asking more specific questions and doing this regularly your child is more likely to start talking to you about their school experience and by you persisting with the regular questioning it will soon become routine helping you to find out more about how they are getting on at school and helping them to see how much you care.
Finally, no matter what your own experience of school was, it is important to make sure this remains removed from your conversations about your own child’s school days. Unfortunately many adults did not have a positive experience of school and if your child detects that you didn’t value your own school experience they may feel that they in turn have no need to value their own schooling.
I hope this has been of some use to you and over time you can feel far more involved in your child’s school life. Please also remember that at Ernesford we are always more than happy to have parental contact so please don’t hesitate to call or email your child’s House Head to arrange a meeting.