Moral Education

For one of my other classes, Moral Education, I’ve been asked to write weekly responses to prompts from my prof. Instead of the good old fashioned pen and paper response, I figure that a blog post would serve me well for these for a variety of reasons. The biggest reason is world-wide feedback. I love getting opinions and getting feedback from anyone who wants to give me advice. The second reason would be that I would like to save paper.

So I guess, here goes…

This week, Mike asked us to create a “dispatch” in the style of Culture Wars: A Struggle to Define America. He asked us to read a little bit of it to get the feel of how the book held a conversation within itself, then try to mimic the style regarding our own issue. The issue should be regarding moral lines within our culture.

I think that I’m going to tackle a problem that was posed last night during my night class — teacher accountability. However, I would like to narrow this topic to parent-teacher interaction. I suppose the moral line I’m going to investigate is at what point do parents need to step in and at what point to students need to become independent and handle issues for themselves?

I learned in my internship that being accountable is very important. I documented everything and sent out several updates to the parents. I was blessed to only have a few run-ins with parents who thought that “the intern” was using “their child” as a guinea pig, but overall I had a pretty easy go of it. However, I’ve heard a lot of horror stories of helicopter parents phoning about absolutely everything, coming into the classroom every day, or emailing to find out what happens each day.

I’m not a parent, and I’m not going to pretend that I know what it is like to be responsible for a child. I can imagine that you want your child’s life to be as easy as humanly possible. You would want your child to have an easy time of school, learn a lot, and not feel any stress. You want your child to have direction in life, a passion about a sport/activity, and a bright future. I can imagine that when something or someone seems to get in the way of that, parents will feel a responsibility to resolve the issue.

I have a unique view on the situation because I was that kid — I had no problems in school, I have an activity that I am deeply passionate about, and school, overall, provided next to no stress for me. I’ve also been on the other side of the teacher’s desk in my internship. I’ve seen students struggle, succeed, and, sadly, fail. So the moral line, in my opinion, is when does the responsibility of the student flip to the responsibility of the parent?

I guess that view depends on how independent the student is and how old they are. I come from a high school background, so I expect students to be independent for the most part. Students should be able to handle grade disputes, questions over material covered in class, failed exams, and similar things. However, I do believe that the informed parent has a responsibility to step in if they feel that the teaching methodology is skewed or if they feel that their child is being treated unfairly. Please note that I chose to use the term the “informed parent.” This is to say that prior to making a phone call or coming for a visit, explore the information provided to you–speak with your child, check out the class webpage, look at progress reports, look at your child’s notebook/textbook, and check out anything else that you can get your hands on. This then opens up the conversation with two informed individuals so that it can be productive and reach a solution.

How much parent-teacher interaction do you see as healthy, and at what point does a parent cross over from involved to “helicopter-esque”? I’m starting to toy with this idea and I don’t have an answer. Hearing from parents is healthy and it keeps teachers accountable. It lets me know that the parents really do care, which is great. Usually it indicates that the student has a great a great support system at home. Once the support system and I are on the same page, that child is set up for success, and that is all that really matters.

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