Be Present

As a teacher, I have the privilege of working with children and parents of diverse backgrounds and even nationality. My school has a high percentage of international students. We have students from literally all over the world. Last year, in my P1 class alone, I have students from Singapore, Korea, China, India, Indonesia, Philippines, USA and even Portugal! As a result, I get a chance to see how children from different countries cope with our education system and how parental involvement makes a huge difference in a child’s life.

There are parents who make efforts to establish lines of communication with the teachers and are willing to work together with the teachers for the benefit of their child. On the other hand, there are also parents who are almost ‘invisible’. We don’t hear anything from them, neither have we seen them before. They don’t turn up for teacher-parent meetings. They don’t respond to phone calls nor emails.

Recently, I called a parent and met her in school to discuss about her child’s behaviour and progress in class. From my conversation with her, I found out that this international student of mine is not living with his parents. I can immediately understand the reason behind his misbehaviour and lack of concentration in class. He is in need of parental love and guidance. His schoolbag is always in a mess, with worksheets torn and crumpled. He doesn’t bring stationery to school… he has a pencil case, but an empty one. He has no money for recess and he has been asking the teachers to lend him money to buy food. He does not do his work in class, and you can forget about him completing any homework!

Today, I found out that this 8-year-old child went into our classroom during recess, ransacked another student’s schoolbag, and stole something from him. It bothers me and breaks my heart to see this student in such a state, at such a tender age.

Who is responsible for his behaviour, or rather, misbehaviour? I’m sorry to say this, but I would think that his parents play a HUGE role.

This student’s mother has her own ‘valid’ reason for not letting her child stay with her and according to her, she is VERY BUSY with work. She requested that the teachers be very strict with her child and help him in his schoolwork.

I’m thinking not about his schoolwork. I’m concerned more about his character, his happiness, his life, his future. What kind of person will he grow up into? Somehow, this leads me to ponder and realise the importance of parental involvement in a child’s life.

If I can bring across this message to all parents who may be reading this:

Your children do not need your money.
They need YOU.
The least a parent can do for a child is to BE THERE for them,
especially during their growing up years.



This post was written on 27 Feb 2010, in my earlier, personal blog.


25 thoughts on “Be Present

  1. I worked in a childcare setting for 15 years and was faced with much of the same thing! It truly is heartbreaking!I stopped by to welcome you to SITS! It's great to have you in the SITStahood!


  2. truer words were never spoken…it's going to be a tough road ahead for this little fella without having a support system…sad :-(Welcome to SITS. We're happy you joined πŸ™‚


  3. You make such a valid point. My mother is a special education elementary teacher, and she is always echoing your sentiments. I was lucky to be raised in a home with parental involvement, but some of my mom's students– yes, kids with special needs– have parents who literally just drop them off and pick them up, and that's it. Parents need to realize that educating their children is a partnership between parent and school.Stopping by from SITS to welcome you to the group– make sure to ask if you have any questions on how it works!~Elizabeth


  4. eh who r these people from SITS ah? haha, anyway ing, its sad that there r parents whom despite all the education they get, stil leave their own children uncared for. for dysfunctional families – we can understand but for those who choose to sacrifice time with their children for their careers, its truly sad. haven't these people learnt from parents who have come b4 them? do they wish to wait until its point of no return for their children b4 they regret not spending enough time with them?


  5. That is soo sad!!! Those poor kids… you are so right! Kids need their parents… no matter what and it's sooo frustrating when parents don't realize that!Stopping by from SITS to welcome you! We're so excited to have you join us and can't wait to get to know you better!


  6. What a great post!! THANK YOU for being a teacher who cares. Teachers don't get thanked nearly enough. How sad it is that so many parents think that their job is over once school starts and they get "free day care".Hugs!Stopping by from SITS!


  7. Welcome to SITS!I agree with you… Though I don't work in education, I see a lot of kids who may get forgotten. It's a shame when they get the short end of the stick.


  8. I seriously could not agree more. My parents were very absent when I was a child, so even though I feel like I don't know what I'm doing half the time, at least I am ALWAYS here for my kids. Seriously great post.Stopping by from SITS, and so glad I did! Can't wait to read more!xoxo, Kisha


  9. You are a woman with much compassion. I applaud you. Came here to welcome you to SITS and now I need a tissue, sniff sniff. Great post, great blog.Kim


  10. I think every school experiences this. My kids are in a program where we must volunteer 40 hours per year to be in the program. There are families who do not meet these hours, we never see them. It is always the same ones who step up to the plate!Stopping by to say Welcome to SITS! We are so glad you joined our group. Enjoy your day!


  11. This is such a simple yet profound statement. I am the parent of toddlers so I can only hope that I am as involved as I always wished my parents had been as a child. Welcome to SITS!


  12. Nice post…said with class and concern. I wish I could help kids in need. I have two loving arms to wrap around them…WELCOME to SITS! It's great to have a new SITSer. Bonus, I'm hosting a giveaway for NEW sunglasses. Like most yours are lost or bent…come on over.


  13. I completely agree!! I am a product of an absentee parent and I can tell you from experience that those abandoned children are lost and need to be found. Thank goodness for good mentors like you:-) I am stopping by from SITs to say welcome to the party:-)


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