School Poster Draws the Line Between Responsibilities of Parents & Teachers

School Poster Draws the Line Between Responsibilities of Parents & Teachers cover image

A school in Portugal put up a poster in their hallways directed towards the parents of their students. The message was clear: Parents need to take responsibility for their children’s education at home. When the sign was shared on Facebook, it went viral. It also sparked a debate between teachers. 

The poster lists five important things that parents should take responsibility for:

Dear parents,

  • We would like to remind you that magic words such as hello, please, you’re welcome, I’m sorry, and thank you, all begin to be learned at home
  • It’s also at home that children learn to be honest, to be on time, diligent, show friends their sympathy, as well as show utmost respect for their elders and all teachers.
  • Home is where they learn to be clean, not talk with their mouths full, and how/where to properly dispose of garbage.
  • Home is also where they learn to be organized, to take good care of their belongings, and that it’s not ok to touch others.
  • Here at school, on the other hand, we teach language, math, history, geography, physics, sciences, and physical education. We only reinforce the education that children receive at home from their parents.”
school poster to parents about their responsibilities at home

(h/t newsner)

Is the school poster too harsh towards parents?

While some teachers appreciated the straight-forward message to parents, others felt the school poster was too harsh. Here are some of the concerns teachers expressed:

  • The poster lacks empathy. We don’t know what students’ lives are like outside of school. There might be abuse, neglect, addiction, or violence. The family might be struggling to keep the electricity on and provide dinner each night. Many children are dealing with more pressing issues than remembering to say “thank you” or eat with their mouths closed.
  • “Dear Parents” excludes a lot of children and families. Many children do not live with their parents. They are cared for by grandparents, aunts, uncles, siblings, foster parents, group homes, etc. This school poster comes off as very insensitive to those doing their best to manage in these often complicated and stressful situations.
  • Schools are responsible for more than teaching reading, writing, and arithmetic. A whole child approach is necessary because children can’t efficiently learn if their basic social, emotional, and physical needs aren’t being met.
  • Schools are a community. Caregivers are part of the community, just as students, teachers, administrators, and other staff members are. Being part of a community means working together in a mutually respectful way. Many teachers think the poster is rude, disrespectful, and unhelpful in building relationships with families.
  • Children are not robots. Adults may be modeling all of the behaviors this school has pointed out at home. That doesn’t mean kids are going to always do them at school. Trauma, special needs, anxiety disorders, and just being a kid will get in the way sometimes.

Yes, schools and families both have responsibilities when it comes to educating children. However, it’s not always so black and white about who should be doing what.


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