Only Child And His Teacher
A good teacher-child relationship is a powerful mechanism for change and development in the child. A teacher is a co-custodian of the child and is integral to his development into a balanced adult. It is not just the parents but also the teacher who essentially should not only support the values followed in the child’s home but should also expand his understanding of the world and contribute in his growth into a balanced adult.
Parent vs. Teacher
Research indicates that a close relationship between teacher and child fosters conducive environment which encourages positive child outcome. It is impossible for parents to make perfect initiatives and appropriate interventions all the time in order to foster positive qualities in their child. That is where a teacher comes in.
Teachers: more important than you think
Parents of only children can view a good teacher as a co-custodian of their child who can offer not just quality care but also help him make gains that are not made possible in the home environment. “Learning outside the home begins early in life. Over a third of all U.S. children under the age of five are cared for outside of their homes by individuals not related to them.” [Zeller Jacqueline, Early childhood education and beyond. Teacher-child relationships and learning]
If you have decided on a regular schooling option for your child and not home schooling, what kind of support are you expecting from the teacher (outside of home and the values it fosters) to enhance the growth and development of your only child?
“I put Jane into a mainstream school though I must confess I found home schooling equally attractive. I decided on a regular school as I wanted Jane to thrive under the care of able teachers too. Good teachers can be excellent role models and shape a child to a great extent” says Norma.
Learning from examples
As a child grows, she learns to exercise control over her body, emotions, attention and behavior. At this stage, the child will emulate and imitate the behavior of adults she comes in contact with. The growing years are crucial to the only child as she would need more adult examples to emulate and learn from.
“I sometimes feel that our home environment is too lax and easy on our only child Melissa. We feel it will help if she goes to a school where she has to abide by certain rules and learn to be disciplined” says Richard. “Also, the only child will greatly benefit from making connections with caring adults other than her own parents or relatives” he adds. A good teacher can foster the sense and security that can give the child the essential comfort to tackle academic and developmental challenges.
Benefits Of A Good “Teacher-And-Only-Child” Relationship
A teacher, unlike a parent, will not show preferential treatment to your only child. She will ensure that your child understands that she is one among many. This is the first important childhood lesson for your only child.
The rigors of regular schooling demand team work, and the teacher will help your only child work better within a team.
Challenges, whether academic or developmental, are always contextual. What is your child like in the presence of her peers? What are the issues your child faces within the context of a school? These questions can be answered only by a teacher. A teacher can help your child make positive gains like qualities of sharing, ability to work in teams, resolving fights etc. She stands in as a parent and an observer of your child in this context and can provide valuable insight into your child’s psyche.
A good teacher can invest your child with a passion for a particular subject. Often, children like certain subjects because of the teachers who handle them. Teachers are often great sources of inspiration.
Only Child’s Realtionship With Teachers
Only children have a better rapport with adults and elders around them rather than with their peers. An only child has a way of attracting attention and affection from the adults around him. Only children warm up to their teachers faster and gain attention from them earlier than other children. Though this is a positive trait worthy of nurturing, with time this desire for attention may prove irksome to the teacher. The teacher may get weary of the child.
Parents who recognize this positive trait (of being able to relate to adults better) in their child must take steps to prevent an overbearing behavior from the child towards his teacher. Without impacting this positive trait, and in order to preserve this unique quality, parents can speak to their child gently about it and moderate his behavior before it becomes an annoying pattern at school. You can tell your child that-
A teacher has many children to attend to and it is important that she appears impartial in everyone’s eyes. When she is unable to pay special attention to him (the child), it does not mean that she does not care for him but that she just has too many demands on her and she has to attend to them one by one.
A teacher is not the same as other adults in the child’s life. They are not the same as a neighbor or a relative. The teacher’s way of expressing affection may not be the same as other adults known to the child.
Additionally, parents can speak to the teacher about this unique trait of their child to get along well with adults. Without defining this behavior as a quality of an only child, parents can sensitize the teacher to their child’s ability to warm up to adults faster and request to handle the child accordingly or as she deems fit.
Spot The Good Teacher
Have a casual chat with your child’s school teacher. How does she come across to you? Does she inspire confidence in you that she would foster good values and habits in your child? Ask her openly about what she thinks of your child. Assess if her observations are anywhere close to the original nature of your child. Do you feel you can give importance to her opinions or is she way off from understanding your child?
Speak about an issue regarding your child that is of concern to you. How does she respond? Are her suggestions and insight mature and neutral?
Keeping in regular touch with the school, its ideals and hopes for its students and keeping close contact with teachers who work with your child will enable you to maximize the role of the teacher in your only child’s life.