While attending a conference yesterday, I came across a statement from one of the speakers that as he studied in a village school where there was no concept of PTMs so his father or mother did not even know how was he performing and what was he learning.This was many years back and now the situation has changed at least in the cities and towns.This was alright in those days because thirty years ago learning was considered to be taking place in the schools naturally and there was no need of the parents to get involved in the school affairs.The teachers were considered to be the one responsible enough to look after the learning of the children on their own. One of the important features of the right to education act is that all schools should have school managing committee. The independent schools had this system earlier also in which there is representation of the parents and teachers as well.The government schools also had such committees but now as per the act, government schools are likely to have this committee in which seventy five percent of the members will be from parents or the guardians of the children studying in that school. Not only this, the chairperson and the vice chairperson would be from the member parents.This shows how important the role of the parents is even outside their home.
The schools which have the parent teacher meetings on regular basis are able to look after the children in a better way than the schools where PTMs are not very regular or are not taken seriously. I have come across many teachers who feel very stressed on the designated day of the meeting with so many parents .This happens due to lack of trust between the teacher and the parent and that is why it is more important to have such meetings between the teacher and the parents as often as possible. Also such meetings should not remain restricted to fixed dates but the parents and teachers should meet informally also.The parents and teachers should not wait for this day only, if they feel the need to talk to each other,they must meet as and when required.
This is very important for everyone to understand the objective and the importance of the PTMs and then only this will prove beneficial to the students,parents and the teachers.PTM is not the forum to find faults or prove your point but to understand the views of each other. The teacher would come to know the expectations of the parents and the parents would come to know about the views of the teacher.It is not that they will be in agreement with each other on every point but this discussion will help to find solution to the problem either of them might be having.The parent and the teacher both must understand that the objective of the meeting is to evolve the ways and find new methods so that the performance of the child becomes better than what it has been.They must do away with the old concept of considering home and school as separate identity because in today`s time parents play as important role as the school or the teachers do.This has been seen that the children whose parents remain in touch with the schools are likely perform better than the ones whose parents do not meet the teachers. The behavioral problems of such children have also been reported less.This is because the children take the meeting between their parents and the teachers in positive and know it well that anything wrong done in the school or at home will be known to the parents and the teachers. Not only this,a very important aspect of the meetings is that it not only builds trust between the teacher and the parent but also the children develop more respect towards the teachers and have faith in them.Such children are more comfortable with the teachers and that is the reason there is a remarkable improvement in their performance.
The other important benefit is that the teachers and the school can take help of the parents in certain areas where they were not able to do much for the good of the child.For example a parent who is good at counselling the children can be invited to talk to the other children of the school.This will not only help the children but also bring the parents more close to the school.
My advise to all the teachers and parents would be that the PTMs should not be used to bring out the negatives of the children but to have a healthy discussion on all the aspects of the child related to his/her achievements or the areas in which improvement is expected.But, unfortunately in many cases the teachers and also some of the parents rather than using this excellent opportunity to develop trust, use it as the forum to criticise either each other or the child. In some cases it has been observed that the father starts shouting during discussion in the presence of the child as well as the other parents. Now this is not only the insult of the teacher and parents but this situation is embarrassing for the child also. Some of the teachers are of the habit of criticising the child in the presence of other people and again this does not do any good to the child. The teachers and the parents should be careful while discussing anything in the presence of the child.Even if the child has to be counselled for any improvement the same should be conveyed in a dignified manner. Some parents come to attend the PTM with a pre-conceived notion.
At times the children do not inform the parents about the PTM because they are worried that there will be nothing else but their criticism. This is something very negative and shows that the child neither has faith in teachers nor in the parents. All must try to understand it and try that the children have faith in both the teachers as well the parents.PTMs will be able to serve the purpose for which these are held if the objective is understood well and we show respect not only towards each other but also to the children .