Parent Teacher Meetings held periodically in schools to review the child’s overall development during the academic year is a time for great learning for all the parties concerned – the children, the parents and the teachers. It depends on how we handle them, that it becomes a pleasurable or formidable experience.

My personal experience has always been great and in fact, I look forward to the interactions with my son’s teachers. Here I would like to share an instance where I was able to create a win-win situation for all.

During one such PTM , the language teacher told me that my son had become very talkative and doesn’t finish his classwork on time. From being one among the first to finish his work, he was now one among the last. So she advised me to counsel him before it gets too late. Although I was a bit taken aback, I kept my cool and assured her I will talk to him regarding it and left. After we returned home, I asked my son about his late submissions in the language class, he then confided that there was a new admission in his class and that boy had come from U.K.  He could understand a bit of Hindi and speak but had difficulty in writing. As my son was sitting with him, he saw his predicament and took it upon himself to translate into English what the teacher was explaining and helped him in writing. Consequently his work was affected.

I was elated as a parent. He had passed one of the exams of life in flying colours. I told my son that I was very proud of him because he was not selfish but helped somebody in need to the best of his ability. But the story doesn’t end here. I couldn’t let my son get away with the feeling that Amma is happy, so whatever the teacher says doesn’t matter. So I also spoke to him about the importance of abiding by class room rules and communication. While it was good that he helped his classmate, he should take care to finish his work on time and explain to the teacher the reason for his actions.

In the above scenario, nobody was at fault. The teacher saw him talking nonstop to his buddy and his submissions were not on time. So she made an observation to the parent. This issue could have been handled in many ways like me chiding the child in front of the teacher without inquiry, defending his actions vehemently, burying it under the carpet, etc. In such cases, the feelings of one of them would have been hurt. Whereas here I felt it was a win-win situation – the teacher felt good that I had taken her observations in the right spirit, my son’s self-esteem was restored and he learnt to manage time better and be helpful and I was happy that the issue was resolved amicably.

We as parents should never talk about our child’s teacher with disrespect. The moment the child sees his parents make fun of the calibre or authority of his teachers, his respect for them stops and so does his learning. We should work in partnership with teachers as both of us are working towards the same goal – moulding them into good human beings. All of us are here to facilitate their journey.

The sign of great parenting is not the child’s behaviour. The sign of truly great parenting is the parent’s behaviour. Don’t let yourself become so concerned with raising a good kid that you forget you already have one. Let us be role models and create win-win situations all the time.

Mrs. Sujatha Ramachandran