The other day I went to my daughter’s school and the teachers (each class has two) looked surprised to see me, and wanted to who I had let my baby with so soon? I looked at them in surprise and asked them which baby they were talking about because I only have one child.
They explained to me that my daughter had excitedly told them that we now have a small baby in the house and that is why she couldn’t wait to get home in the evening. The teachers naturally assumed she was my baby while in reality, little Leon is my nephew!
So this got me thinking, just how much has my daughter shared with teacher Ruth and teacher Anne? It made me feel awkward and vulnerable as I walked away like I was naked. So I asked around and other parents said that they have also realized that their children really confide in their teachers. My friend called Ciku told me that they were called for parents, teachers meeting (PTA)and afterward a counselor was brought in to talk and counsel the parents.
It had emerged that most parents were fighting in front of their children at home and it was taking its toll on the kids. Some used to come to school dirty, hungry, in tears or with undone homework because they war at home would not let them eat, change or read. The teachers in the school were also concerned about the rate of absenteeism and that is why they brought in counselors who talked to the parents about conflict resolution in front of their children.
I sought a teacher’s perspective and teacher Shazia said that they learn so much about what takes place at home from the kids. This makes them understand the child if they are not able to pay for trips or meet certain obligations to the school. In such instances, the teachers have to dig into their pockets and provide what is needed for that child. They also make the students share where possible or try to level the playing field for others as well.
Sometimes the students also confide about the personal problems they could be facing. The problems range from self-esteem issues, problems that could require urgent medical attention, rape, physical or psychological abuse and so on.
Reasons why most kids confide in teachers and not their parents
- According to teacher Kiongo from Kitale, parents are sometimes too harsh and do not create the best environment for their children to share any pressing issue they might have.
- Another reason is that most parents are too busy and hence they do not have enough time to talk with their children, leaving this role for teachers who spend more time with the children.
- Most teachers are trained counselors and know kids who are having problems and seek to help them.
- In cases of early pregnancies and such cases, the student may fear that the parent will not only be disappointed in them but they will also punish them. This kind of fear makes some even run away for a long time. They only come back after being assured that their parents are not going to punish them.
- Sometimes they might be aware of the fact that their parents carry heavier burdens on their shoulders and may feel that the problems they are facing definitely pale in comparison.
For parents, it might be a good idea to have any arguments away from the kids. Know what to share with your child and what to keep from them if you do not want other parties to know what is happening on the family front.
You should also work very closely with your child’s teacher so that you can be able to share any concerns that your child may be having. In such cases, you should not feel so bad about yourself at least they are talking to a person in authority because it could be worse and they might end up talking to the wrong people.
Teachers, on the other hand, should know their limits and call in a professional in case they are concerned about their inability to help a particular student. Professional training and intuition can help you identify the cases that are way above what you can handle. In such cases, you can bring in the parents and work out a solution together or you tell the school authorities and ask for their help in the situation.
The relationship between a child and their teacher can get complicated because after confiding in their teachers they might start seeing them as friends and feel bad whenever they are reprimanded. In such cases, the teacher should quickly clarify her role in the life of the child. Sometimes students just need clarification and not advice regarding the things that are disturbing them.