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:
They need YOU.
especially during their growing up years.
This post was written on 27 Feb 2010, in my earlier, personal blog.