Every parent should be reading to their kids. We all know that. Even those parents that don’t do it know they should. But should we be fining parents that don’t?
Of course we shouldn’t!
There are two very important points to make on this insane proposal.
1. If we as teachers are any chance of helping our students reach their potential we must work with, not against, their parents. We must be offering support to them whilst also regularly communicating and encouraging them. The best outcomes take place when teachers don’t judge the habits of parents but actively work to help refocus and empower them.
2. Teachers need to stop whinging and making excuses. Our students come to us from all kind of environments and family backgrounds. In any given class a teacher must expect that some students will be well adjusted and well trained whilst others may have issues and complicated home lives. This is the norm, and it is about time we embraced it. It’s part of what makes our job challenging, yet also potentially exciting. It is because of this reality that teachers should never assume that their set homework will come back complete or that for example, a single mother with multiple kids will have the time to read with all her children on a regular basis. But you know what? That’s OK. We teachers are well equipped to overcome any such deficiency and help that child make up from any lost ground. Whinging and excuse making only serve to prevent the teacher from being accountable for the job they are doing with their struggling students.
“Don’t blame me for Tommy’s lack of progress. His parents don’t read to him!”
That’s why the insane idea of fining parents for not reading to their children is potentially quite destructive. It encourages bad vibes between crucial stakeholders and let’s the very focus, the children, suffer whilst the teacher and parents fight it out:
Parents who do not read to their children should be fined, the chief inspector of schools suggested yesterday.
Sir Michael Wilshaw also called for headteachers to have the power to punish parents who miss school events or allow their child’s homework to go undone.
The head of Ofsted railed against ‘bad parents’ who were not supporting their children’s education.
Sir Michael, 67, accused white working class families of no longer regarding doing well at school as the way to improve their family’s future.
Instead, pupils from migrant families were outperforming white British counterparts in the classroom because many held a deep cultural belief in the value of education, he claimed.
Talking about his own days running a school, Sir Michael told The Times: ‘I was absolutely clear with parents; if they weren’t doing a good job, I would tell them so.
‘It’s up to headteachers to say quite clearly, “You’re a poor parent”.
‘If parents didn’t come into school, didn’t come to parents’ evening, didn’t read with their children, didn’t ensure they did their homework, I would tell them they were bad parents.
‘Headteachers should have the power to fine them. It’s sending the message that you are responsible for your children no matter how poor you are.’
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