During a parent-teacher conference, a mother insisted that the teacher shouldn’t have taken points off her daughter’s English paper for calling her subject Henry 8 instead of Henry VIII. “We have only regular numbers on our keyboard,” she explained. “No Roman numerals.”
Often times the parent is more the problem than the child. The child, after all, is supposed to be naïve and innocent; the parent, one would think, should be more informed.
The opposite can also be true. Often times the teacher is the problem; perhaps the child isn’t learning well because the teacher isn’t teaching well. Perhaps if the educator was more dedicated – or educated – the pupil would be too.
How can we as parents provide our children with the best possible education? How can parents cooperate with their children’s teachers in the best possible way? And how should educators, teachers and principals see their responsibility – as a job or something more?
The answer lies in two words from the Shema – “V’shinantam l’vanecha – And you shall teach them to your children.” It teaches us a surprising connection between parents and teachers, which is further illuminated by an episode that is described in the Second Book of Kings when the Prophet Elijah was ferried up to heaven in a fiery chariot and his disciple Elisha exclaimed “My father, my father…”