Don Descoteau: Teachers leaving parents in dark

I’ve been really steaming this week with the latest news out of teacherland, that the report cards my kids will bring home this month will be little more than glorified attendance records.

I’ve been really steaming this week with the latest news out of teacherland, that the report cards my kids will bring home this month will be little more than  glorified attendance records.

The idea that fully filled-out report cards, with letter grades and comments thoughtfully (I hope) prepared with my kids in mind, are strictly an administrative duty does more to damage the teachers’ public relations efforts than make any kind of negotiating point.

Sure, the ploy is a union strategy aimed at disrupting the system and making things difficult for administrators – that’s principals and vice-principals, many of whom teach too. But rather than just annoying the heck out of their bosses and leaving them with more work to do, it has the net effect of frustrating parents who look to report cards for a sign of how their children are progressing.

Perhaps the teachers’ union doesn’t realize how important these written signposts are to working parents.

These days it’s very common to see households where both parents, or the lone parent in some cases, work full time to make ends meet. Kids are expensive to feed and clothe and be provided with money for their incidental expenses, not to mention the cost of extra-curricular and out-of-school activities. The reality of that need-to-work scenario is that many parents don’t have much chance to sit down with teachers for an hour or so right after school, as the teacher’s union is suggesting they do.

For certain, email has been a great addition to the teacher-parent communication system, but not all teachers are tech-savvy or willing to take that valuable step in connecting with parents.

Luckily, my son’s teacher continues to send out updates on what the class is working on and what deadlines are coming up for class projects. In my experience over the years of my children’s schooling, this is somewhat rare – an educator who understands the demands placed on parents and makes an extra effort to involve them in the process.

For those parents who haven’t taken the opportunity to either meet with their child’s teacher or carefully read the aforementioned emails, report cards not only provide a sign of their child’s academic progress, they can be an indicator of other things that aren’t attached to a letter grade, such as work habits, social interaction or leadership abilities.

It’s nice to know whether your best efforts as a parent are paying off somehow, especially at times when the job of keeping your child on track with their schoolwork gets particularly tough.

The other day my partner and I were commiserating about how we expect our kids to be self-motivated, at least a little bit, to get their work done without near-constant supervision. We realize parents need to provide a home environment for children to be able to succeed, and need to be available as often as possible when they ask for help. But sometimes that’s easier said than done, especially when work commitments come into play, and believe me, kids rarely ask for help.

It may seem at times unfair that we rely on teachers, who spend as much time with our children as we do, to help us keep our kids on track. Given that reality, I will always argue that teachers’ work should be highly valued.

That said, I am making a plea to the teachers’ union to reverse its decision on filling out report cards, at least by next term if negotiations continue to go nowhere. Hopefully, an acknowledgement of teachers’ importance in the three-way relationship that includes students and parents will convince them to do so.

Don Descoteau is the editor

of the Oak Bay News.

editor@oakbaynews.com

Just Posted

Two volunteers work to sieve a sample of sand and ocean water through a filter, capturing any potential microplastics. (Courtesy of Ocean Diagnostics)
Victoria startup making waves in microplastics research

New products from Ocean Diagnostics will make research faster, more affordable

Chef Trevor Randle leads a June 21 online cooking featuring recipes – beef zesty lettuce wraps, blueberry strudel and blueberry spritzer. (Courtesy We Heart Local BC)
Free online cooking course explores B.C. blueberries and beef

Chef Trevor Randle calls them the province’s most flavourful foods

Willows Beach in Oak Bay. (Black Press Media file photo)
Seven days of sun set to shine on Greater Victoria

Special weather statement warns of higher than usual temperatures

Island Savings kick-starts the Equipped to Heal campaign with $120,000. (Courtesy Victoria Hospitals Foundation)
Latest Victoria Hospitals Foundation campaign targets $1M for mental health

Goal is to outfit new 19-bed unit at Eric Martin Pavilion

Google Maps shows significant traffic backups after a crash reported shortly before noon on Father’s Day, June 20. (Google Maps)
Father’s Day crash in Saanich closes lane of McKenzie Avenue

Police say there were injuries, traffic impacted

Jesse Roper tackles weeds in his garden to kick off the 2021 season of What’s In My Garden Man? (YouTube/Whats In My Garden)
VIDEO: Metchosin singer-songwriter Jesse Roper invites gardeners into his plot

What’s In My Garden, Man? kicks off with the poop on compost

FILE – Most lanes remain closed at the Peace Arch border crossing into the U.S. from Canada, where the shared border has been closed for nonessential travel in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Thursday, May 7, 2020, in Blaine, Wash. The restrictions at the border took effect March 21, while allowing trade and other travel deemed essential to continue. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Feds to issue update on border measures for fully vaccinated Canadians, permanent residents

Border with U.S. to remain closed to most until at least July 21

A portion of the George Road wildfire burns near Lytton, B.C. in this Friday, June 18, 2021 handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, BC Wildfire Service *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Blaze near Lytton spread across steep terrain, says BC Wildfire Service

Fire began Wednesday and is suspected to be human-caused, but remains under investigation

Blair Lebsack, owner of RGE RD restaurant, poses for a portrait in the dining room, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. Canadian restaurants are having to find ways to deal with the rising cost of food. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Canadian restaurateurs grapple with rising food costs, menu prices expected to rise

Restaurants are a low margin industry, so there’s not a lot of room to work in additional costs

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Fort St. John man arrested after allegedly inviting sexual touching from children

Two children reported the incident to a trusted adult right away

A Lotto 6/49 ticket purchased in Parksville for the June 19, 2021 draw is a $3M winner. (Submitted photo)
Winning Lotto 6/49 ticket worth $3M purchased on Vancouver Island

Lottery prize winners have 52 weeks to claim jackpot

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Most Read