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Can We Please Stop Asking Schools To Parent Our Children!

Can We Please Stop Asking Schools To Parent Our Children!

I remember when I was teaching a Grade two class many years ago a concerned parent requested an appointment to come and see me. We both sat down in the tiny junior school chairs to have a chat about little “Johnny.”

As the mum struggled to find the words to say, I was left wondering what this meeting was all about. Her son was a great student, well adjusted, had lots of friends and didn’t seem to be struggling with any particular topics.

“I have a concern about Johnny that I would like your help with. He seems to have no idea how to answer the telephone at home and have a conversation,” she said.

Keep in mind, this was a time when most houses still had a land line so occasionally it would ring and you would have to answer.

Her comment left me kind of gobsmacked. So I asked her to elaborate further on what she actually wanted me to do.

“Could you maybe incorporate it into your lesson plans and teach the children how to answer the phone. You know, just the basics like Hello, who’s calling. That type of thing,” she explained.


Instead, in my best teacher voice I replied, “Perhaps I can get you some resources that may help you teach Johnny how to answer the phone?”

To which she replied- “Oh no- I don’t think I’m qualified to do that type of thing. Plus when would I fit it in?”

This is a true story and I can only hope Johnny is now of an age and ability where he can successfully press a button and say hello!

Which brings me to my question of ‘where does a parent’s responsibility end, and a school’s begin?’

One school in Portugal was so sick of having to teach it’s students the basics of good manners, organisational skills and hygiene, that they decided to put a poster up in the school hall directed at the parents.

Here’s what it said:

“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.”

Support for the image was huge and pretty soon the poster had been shared numerous times on Facebook!

What do you think? Did the school have a point? Are things like teaching basic manners and hygiene to children the responsibility of the parents or teachers? Do we expect too much from our schools?



Chrystal Lovevintage

Chrystal Lovevintage

Chrystal is a writer and blogger who loves nothing more than watching back to back episodes of crime shows. Should she ever find herself needing to cover up a crime, she'll know exactly what to do! Her dream is to one day live in Palm Springs where she can do her writing poolside while drinking endless gin and tonics. Mum to the cutest twin boys in the world, she loves nothing more than the sound of their laughter (usually heard when they're conspiring against her). Entertainment writer and pop culture junkie, she will be bringing you all the celebrity gossip and news that your brain can handle. You can follow her blog at and on Instagram at Chrystalovevintage

One comment

  1. I have noticed a lot of children don’t appear to be taught to say please or thank you….or that it isn’t reinforced at all. I have also noticed that a lot of parents don’t please to the children when they ask them to do something. Children learn by their parents’ example.

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