Grace and Truth
by Pastor Jack Hyles
(Chapter 27 from Dr. Hyle's excellent book, Grace and Truth)
THE TEACHER'S RELATIONSHIP TO THE PARENT
The wise teacher in a Christian school will realize that the parents of the children are his customers. They should be treated with the same care and courtesy that an airline stewardess would treat a passenger, that a clerk in a store would treat the customer, or that a politician would treat the voter. Even if the teacher is right in a difference of opinion he must be careful not to offend the parent. He can win the battle and lose the war. He can win the argument and lose the child. In such a case the great loser is the child. The child's life will be lost to the cause of Christ forever because of unwise behavior of the teacher toward the parent.
The teacher must realize that in many cases he frightens the parent. Because of the respect and awe that we held for teachers in our childhood, it often carries into adulthood, and even the most successful of adults will look to school teachers with excessive respect and awe. Though the teacher may feel inferior to some parents, these same parents may possess an inferiority complex when it comes to the teacher. The teacher must realize this and do his best to develop a relaxed attitude with the parent. The average parent thinks the teacher should be the aggressor in friendliness.
The wise teacher will set some guidelines that will lead him to a good relationship with the parents.
1. The teacher should get to know the parent quickly. It is best for him to make a visit in the home of each pupil as quickly as possible. Such a visit will not only develop the proper relationship between the parent and teacher, but it will also give the teacher knowledge4hat can be used wisely in the teaching of the child.
When I pastored smaller churches, I made it a regular point to visit in every home of the church membership during the first few months of my pastorate. This enabled me to get to know my people, to have a better relationship with them and to give me wisdom and help in knowing how and what I should preach in order to fill the needs of my people. The wise teacher will follow this.
2. The teacher could write a note-a-day to parents. In approximately one month each parent would have received a note from the teacher and will feel that the teacher has a personal interest in the children.
3. The teacher should remember the birthdays and other special days of the parents. A notebook could be kept which contains the names, addresses and special days of all the parents. Congratulations could be sent on birthdays, anniversaries, etc., and visits or get-well cards could be sent to the hospital or to the sickroom.
4. The teacher should compliment parents because of achievements, accomplishments, etc. If the parent sings a solo in church, the wise teacher will write a note of appreciation. If some honor is given to a parent, the teacher could send a congratulatory note. This is just another thing that the thoughtful teacher can do in order to help the parents and thereby help the child and himself.
5. The teacher should always be ready and willing to counsel with the parent regardless of how busy he is. To the average parent, his most precious possession is his child. When he comes to see the teacher, it is important to him, He should be treated with the same importance. He should be received graciously and should be given the time that he needs to explain his problem and to receive a solution. The teacher should never seem too busy or preoccupied, but should realize that for the sake of the child the teacher and parent must have a good rapport. Remember, if such is not the case, it is the child who will suffer.
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