“’But mum, I don’t understand the equation.’ Whoops, did I just call Mrs Jones ‘mum’.”
This is a common mistake. A student calling his teacher ‘mum’ or ‘dad’, saying “love you” or texting “XoXo”.
Although awkward and misplaced, it makes sense. An average school age child spends more time in school with their teachers than at home with their own parents. Parents have the job to make their child equipped to live independently in the big crazy world, to let them know that they are not perfect, but unique, loved and that they belong.
Do all parents do this well? Are there gaps for us as teachers to fill? Maybe we can take some of the responsibility on us.
“Those who educate children well are more to be honoured than they who produce them; for these only gave them life, those the art of living well.” – Aristotle.
Of course we are not competing with parents or taking over their job, but rather focused on what the individual child needs. Although this quote is from a total different time and culture, it definitely contains some truth.
The teachers of our life (which can be parents too) can give something really precious: change of worldview, which results in character change. We place a bigger stamp on our student’s life than we realise.
Perhaps we as teachers can help the parents and the child beyond delivering mere content by being more open. Be the teacher you wanted to have when you were younger. What would you appreciate?
By Anouk Van De Put