MOST students are back in school while others have just started their mid-year break under the new academic calendar of some universities.
From a limited experience in teaching over the last three years and from personal observations, I have noticed that students whose parents are involved and closely monitoring their activities and academic standing turn out diligent, even those who don’t do well academically.
On the other hand, many students who had the wrong notion of independence tend to squander time and money and end up begging to get a passing grade at the end of a school year, or when graduation time comes. These are students whose parents or guardians simply provide for their tuition and allowances and don’t even care to check how they are faring in school.
Computing grades is one of the stressful activities I have as an instructor because it pains me to give failing grades. But there are instances when I could no longer pull any string for a student to reach the passing grade.
I give premium consideration to a student’s interest and the efforts exerted in learning. If a student doesn’t have that, the possibility of failure is high, unless he can make up in attendance and exams.
I believe that parents should, at least once in a while, check what their children are doing even if they seem to be working on their assignments in their computers while at home, or even if they were carrying books when they leave home for school.
One time, a guardian was pleading to have her nephew get a passing grade, saying that the student was always in school and he was often in his computer doing his assignments at home. I asked her if she was checking what the student was working on in his computer and she said she assumed it was school assignments. I told her the student was not submitting anything for his assignments despite reminders.
I have given a passing grade to a working student who could not come to class regularly due to conflicts in her work schedule but constantly nagged me for assignments to make up for her absence, but I had to fail a full-time student who was often absent and did not care if there was class assignment to submit.
Just recently, a student submitted a plagiarized article for her assignment. After being told that it was not the proper thing to do, she did it again after five weeks. When confronted, she apologized and promised not to do it again, but she did it seven more times. She only admitted having submitted old stories from different news websites when asked if her parents knew about what she was doing.
Distance is not an excuse for not monitoring a child’s academic performance. With free calls on online applications like Skype and Viber, a couple who are both working overseas for years have managed to guide their three children well, help them in their assignments and provide for their needs. They may be physically separated, but the parents’ responsibility to guide their children is not lost.
I have realized that teaching is indeed a thankless job. It is more difficult if the involvement of the parents or guardians is limited to providing the financial needs of their children. Not all children have the initiative to do well in gratitude for their parents’ or guardian’s efforts to send them to school.
I have come across a mother who believed that the task of educating her son is all up to the school. “I am paying them to educate my son,” she said. She gave whatever the son asked for, including the latest model of a smart phone, without checking that it has even kept the student away from reading and drew him instead to online games and the social media, therefore distracting him from his academic activities.
I am not blessed with my own child so I may not be a credible authority to speak on parenthood. But from what I see around me, most parents who are involved in their children’s education, from primary school to college, turn out to raise diligent and successful children.
Who would not want to have a responsible child? But you have to do your part in raising one, and you got to do it from the time the child is born. The teacher is not and cannot and should not be a substitute parent. But the parent should be a good teacher to his/her child. Responsible parenthood is the best way to teach a child to be responsible.