Education’s Future: Where is the Line Between Parent and Teacher?
Returning to in-person teaching after the pandemic has produced a series of additional tasks for teachers without adequate compensation or support.
March 31, 2023
The teacher populations dwindle year after year, whether it be to the loss of benefits, poor stipends, or simply inequitable pay. At public schools in particular the line between the jurisdiction of the parent to request or prohibit certain teaching materials and the sanity of the teacher is constantly being redrawn.
Covid brought about a new realm of struggles in the education system for students, teachers, and parents alike. The online learning model made a less efficient system where parents, by choice or chance, were often more involved in the learning process at home. Teachers were made more accessible for outreach to parents and students, blurring the more traditional classroom etiquette. Ever since returning to an in-person classroom, the accessibility of the teacher-parent relationship is still championed by parents without regard for the excess load being put on teachers.
While the connection and communication between teachers and parents may have been necessary during the pandemic, the open barrier and critiques on curriculum as well as complaints of teaching methods, distract teachers from providing quality instruction. It may fall upon administrators to ease the load of teachers and help rebuild the boundaries between teacher and parent communication.
AP Literature teacher Mrs. Ruiz says, “There has to be some sort of barrier or system put in place so that teachers are not so accessible by parents, but because teachers were so adamant about making sure parents were included during COVID a lot of those boundaries were crossed – We need to spend more time on content, curriculum, and teaching, and less on putting out these ‘fires’.”
The teacher shortage and lack of adequate funding have placed extraneous pressure on current staff to take up more responsibilities. In this age, teachers are no longer just educators; they are mental health counselors, activity coordinators, daycare workers, tutors, and funding planners. “Teachers are not qualified to be mental health experts, and we want to help and support these kids, but we are not always trained to do so. These are kind of new post-COVID weights that have been put on our plate. Even just the Chromebooks issues that have come to us or the push to advertise and populate our own electives are all morphing into additional duties.”
Without the push for better teacher benefits and adequate pay, many students are being swayed away from the educational field, leaving the future of education in question. “If you asked ten different people what the function of school is, you would get ten different answers.”
As a society, we have relied on education to be the answer to elevating overall success, but the truth is that every student and teacher is entirely unique. Suppose our society can agree that education is the foundation of lifelong learning. How can our educators not be praised and compensated fairly for the significant task of molding our future thinkers?