The learners have their say

By admin
25 September 2013

After talking about what teachers want parents to know, education blogger Olga Channing chatted to learners who have advice they would like to share with teachers and parents.

In my previous blog I wrote about what teachers would like parents to know.

It is also important that teachers and parents hear learners’ views. It’s only fair. And it could be enlightening. I’ve done some research and here’s what seems to be the most important:

Sir, Miss, this is what learners want their teachers to know:

  • Treat us with respect, then you as a teacher will get our respect.
  • Show understanding for our circumstances and try to imagine how some of us are treated at home and why at times we have legitimate reasons for not doing our homework or assignments.
  • Please remember we have six other subjects. The great numbers of tests and assignments get us down. And on top of that we must do homework.
  • Please devote more attention to those of us who struggle with difficult work. Don’t presume we understand everything.
  • Please don’t take out your bad mood on us in the classroom.
  • A friendly teacher makes the class more pleasant.
  • Please treat everyone fairly. We don’t like teachers who have favourites.
  • Don’t shout at us, we’re also human.
  • We like interesting lessons with illustrations, jokes, etc. Life is too short to be serious all the time ? crack a joke with us occasionally.
  • We’d like to have a social life. For many of us life consists mostly of homework, homework, homework, study, bath, sleep.
  • Don’t scold us in front of the whole class – it’s humiliating.
  • We like you a lot. Please don’t belittle us – words can be very hurtful.

Dad, Mom, this is what learners want you as parents to know:

  • We think school work is more difficult today than when you were at school.
  • Please understand how much pressure we’re coping with.
  • Maths is not for everyone.
  • We’re not being cheeky. We would just like you to listen to our opinions too. Don’t disrespect our opinions.
  • We’re growing up and we aren’t all little children.
  • We’re also trying hard to do our best.
  • Trust us more and allow us a little more freedom. We’ll realise our mistakes and learn from them.
  • Become involved with us and our school and support us.
  • Please be realistic about the sport and academic achievements your expect from us.
  • Life is not the same as when you were children.
  • We’d like to be more independent – please allow us to be.
  • Your child is not as well-behaved as you might think they are.
  • We also have stress, yes, we’re young, but we do.
  • Trust our choices, please.
  • Respect our privacy. It’s very important to us.
  • Don’t compare us with others.
  • Stop interfering in our relationships.
  • Forget the past.
  • You’re old, don’t try to behave as if you are young.
  • Don’t run down or scold our friends.
  • Believe us when we tell you we don’t have homework.
  • We also sometimes feel tired and irritable when we get home after a long day at school.
  • BBM is not our biggest problem.
  • Sometimes we are too ill to go to school.
  • We try hard to make you proud.

What a mouthful!

If any of the points mentioned above make a difference in improving just ONE parent-child relationship or the communication between a teacher and learner, then this was worth it.

– Olga Channing

* Olga Channing is the deputy principal and Afrikaans teacher at a high school in Pretoria. She’s the author of six books for the new school curriculum and after 24 years as a teacher, she still loves her job.


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