How should parents and teachers get along?

School question: Parents and teachers - teammates or opponents?

The school question: My husband and I have the impression that my son's teacher (third grade) cares too little about the children's learning. She hands out lots of worksheets every few days, but then the children seem largely left to their own devices. But we don't know if and how we should address this without causing difficulties for our son.

Your question shows the explosiveness of what is now often referred to as an educational partnership. A term that sounds nice, but has a lot of ambivalence: You want to get on well with each other, but each side also has its own interests - a mixture of wishes for harmony and conflict material. Parents often have the impression that the teacher has too little time for them or that they are reluctant to look at the cards; they feel inferior to him or fear criticism of their educational achievement; they believe such conversations are of no use after all, or they are even afraid of adverse effects on their child. Conversely, teachers also often have their problems, they fear that parents will interfere, criticize, contradict - and to some people the exchange between school and home initially appears to be (annoying or difficult) extra work: What else should one take care of?

Parents and teachers should primarily focus on how each of them can usefully support the children's learning from their side. The parents, by creating the necessary family security for their offspring, following their school development with interest, adopting a positive attitude towards school stress, and understandingly mitigate any disappointments. By challenging and sensitively encouraging efforts to teach in an interesting and understandable way, teachers carefully monitor the development of each student. Because of this division of labor, the teacher-parent discussions have their first meaning: They exchange ideas as comprehensively as possible about how the child is doing at home and in class.

Michael Felten

answers your questions about the school on ZEIT ONLINE. He has a daughter and has worked as a high school teacher for over 30 years. In addition to educational guides, he published numerous articles on educational issues.

Teachers and parents also have to criticize each other from time to time

But sometimes that's not all. Sometimes the teacher should also drive parents into the parade - sensitively but noticeably. Parents who rush to relieve their (often only) darling, who unnecessarily protect them in the event of a conflict, have to be taught that they are underestimating their child - and thereby weakening them. You should give him the experience more often: Life doesn't fall into my lap, but I can overcome difficulties. Parental over-ambition is of the opposite evil: How can students flourish when a teacher can delicately curb them. Such impulses are of course only successful if parents feel that their child is really important to the teacher - which cannot be faked.

The reverse is also allowed (and that brings me back to your question) - that is, parents should put the teacher to the test. You will of course not fall into the house with the door, but proceed cautiously - otherwise the defense is greater than the desired effect. Perhaps in your case it is actually the case that your son's teacher still holds the opinion (which has been around for a long time) that children would learn most when they were allowed to work as independently as possible. This view is obsolete today; Too much or too early independence has a demotivating effect and downright discouraging for weaker students. Good lessons are clearly structured, the teacher explains new issues thoroughly and takes care of misunderstandings and difficulties, there are individual exercise or group work phases, with class discussions in between.

The school question

The school question

Which school is the right one? How do I talk to the teacher? Bad grades? No motivation? We collect questions from parents and students about school! The high school teacher Michael Felten answers. If you would like to ask a question yourself, please write it down in the comment area of ​​the article or send an email to [email protected]

You have to judge for yourself what exactly needs to be done in your case. Perhaps you can persuade several parents to give the teacher some feedback: "My child would like you to explain some things more often." Or they bring up the topic at the next parents' evening. It would be important enough, after all, elementary school sets the course extremely important. If the teacher seems very inaccessible or you are very anxious, you could also (m) send a specialist article on the subject in your school subject.