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Thread: Parent Helpers

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2017
    Nottingham, UK

    Default Parent Helpers

    Did anyone at school have some parents coming in to help pupils with reading and writing and all that when they were pupils? I used to think that it was a bit strange, for parents (who one would have assumed was too busy working, shopping or being a housewife when the kids were at school) to actually come into the school to help out.

    To tell you the truth, I would have found the atmosphere being very confusing - a parent, who is a person associated with being at home rather than actually being in a classroom as if she is a teacher. Of course, if they were qualified to teach it would be coincidental and unrelated. Even the late mother went along with swimming lessons on Tuesday afternoons, was given this horn to use in case anyone has difficulties, and personally it felt so weird that the very person I obviously knew since the moment I was born (and even a few months before that if you think about it) was now in charge along with others that she had probably never even before - my own birth v a few minutes previously. I was the only person who knew her better than anyone else - she was the first human being that I would have seen in my life after being born. The fact that the helper is a parent probably makes things difficult when it comes to being impartial towards everyone - when one of the children in the class happened to be the very one that you gave birth to eight or nine years previously.

    I was concerned as I didn't want to be forced call my own mother "Miss" because of all this and that was what concerned me - the overlap between family at home and the school environment. Teaching assistants do that sort of job a lot better, and they are officially qualified in that field as well. I cannot imagine a teacher actually going to my home in a similar capacity as that was the Education Welfare Officer's territory.

    Listening to a youngster read is a good thing however - I suppose it has comparisons with listening to a talking book or listening to the Book at Bedtime on BBC Radio 4. Reading is a key development in one's vocabulary and it does need to be monitored carefully. I just think that teachers and even teaching assistants are better and qualified to give official support when it comes to things like that.

    My sister was also a parent helper at the school my nephew went to in the late 1990s, and she went with the school on a day trip to somewhere where she was known as Miss (Surname), almost giving the illusion that she was actually one of the teachers rather than a parent, which seems to be a bit of a stretch admittedly, but it would obviously mean that she would automatically gain respect and courtesy from the youngsters which is obviously a good thing. I would be called Mr or Sir as a mark of respect if it means getting the courtesy that I deserve from people.

    I know that they need DBS checks prior to entering the premises so that the safety of the youngsters are not jeopardised, but then again teachers need to anyway so they can do their job, and it is a good thing in this day and age. I would have preferred it if my parents were not helpers - they were my parents not my teachers. That is where I would put the borderline between one and the other. I suppose that I had the same attitude when it came to homework - I couldn't get used to doing it at home because I obviously associated it with being at school.

    It does remind me of the girls' PE teacher character Liz Regan in the 1986-1988 series of Grange Hill who was the first (and only?) character to be both a teacher and also a parent of a GH pupil - she was mostly seen in her teacher role although sometimes as a parent as well. When it came to parents' evenings, which side of the desk did she actually sit on? The same for Ken Barlow when he was at Weatherfield Comprehensive and had Tracy in his class in the early 1990s.

    Were any of you parent helpers at school, or even from a "back then" perspective, did a parent helper ever listen to you reading a book? We do learn from our parents, and even if we had the irony of being home educated and not going to an LEA school, but even when it comes to home education, being a parent is not the same thing as being a teacher. I don't think that it is a good idea to blur or overlap the statuses of parent and teacher because they are different, especially at a young age.
    Telling it almost exactly like it was so many years later - and proud of doing so!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2018

    Default Re: Parent Helpers

    Parents were regularly press ganged into policing school trips but don't recall seeing them in the classroom
    Ejector seat?...your jokin!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2009

    Default Re: Parent Helpers

    I remember my Mum coming into my school to help with a craft project once.

    There were some teachers who seemed to go to all the local schools in tern to teach specialist lessons.

    It was also common to have a student teacher help out in a class while they learnt the ropes.
    The Trickster On The Roof

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