We asked the question for you | What if parents could help teachers not to drop out?

When five directors of public and private schools free themselves at the last minute, in the middle of the daily hustle and bustle, you understand that the subject discussed is close to their hearts. We already know that too many teachers resign because their workload is so heavy. But we rarely ask ourselves whether parents can reduce their desire to desert.

The principals interviewed were unanimous: yes, parents can make a difference! Because even though teachers spend most of their time in the classroom, they interact with mothers and fathers every week. And these discussions – sometimes charged with emotion – can take up long hours at certain times of the year or in certain subjects.

Despite everything, before their internships, new teachers are not prepared for these exchanges, which stress them out and therefore require mentoring, explains Guylaine Côté, recently retired from the general management of Nouvelles Frontières college, a private establishment in Gatineau.

Personally, I always warned parents: “You know that school is not an extension of the home? There may be values ​​that we do not share at school, and vice versa.”

Guylaine Côté, retired from the general management of Nouvelles Frontières college

The principal of Joseph-François-Perrault secondary school, located in the Saint-Michel district of Montreal, must also temper certain unrealistic expectations. “We remind parents that we cannot manage 1,500 students the way they manage their 2 children at home,” explains Julie Dessureault.

The best way to help teachers? Collaborate rather than contest, she says. “Teaming together to find solutions makes all the difference. It is important that parents are open to hearing a point of view other than that of their child. »

This is also the message from the vice-president of the Montreal Association of School Directors, Stéphane Richard. “The teacher needs the parent to support him, to trust him, not to discredit him or try to take his place, to prove the child right. If the teacher says: “Your child was rude”, it may be, even if he is not rude at home, he tries it in other spheres of life! »

Rebellious parents

Another crucial issue: respect for school rules by… parents.

“At least 80% of the time, when a cell phone rings in class, it’s a parent calling, because they missed their child’s call and think it must have been important,” says M.me Dessureault. But at this time, Dad, we’re in the middle of math class, and it’s not the time! »

Even if his school prohibits it, parents also drive into parking lots to drop off their child near the doors, rather than at the drop-off point. Disregarding the safety of hundreds of other students crossing the same space on foot.


Julie Dessureault, principal of Joseph-François-Perrault secondary school

Sometimes we try to intervene with a nice smile, but the parents don’t want to stop and roll down their window to talk to us! We say to ourselves: “My God, you are doing this in front of your children! We might have a hard time with them after that!”

Julie Dessureault, principal of Joseph-François-Perrault secondary school

Christian Lacombe, who directs the Saints-Martyrs-Canadiens primary school, in the Ahuntsic district of Montreal, observes the same phenomenon. “Parking lots are crazy, it deserves an entire article! », he says.


Christian Lacombe, principal of Saints-Martyrs-Canadiens primary school

“We must get away from individualism and understand that the school is a small society, a structure, and that it has to work. If we have 20 children who arrive late, or 20 children who forget their lunch box or their shoes, it will disturb the staff and the class 20 times. »

A minority

Is the situation changing? “Fifteen years ago, we already saw parents who thought their child was the eighth wonder of the world and who wanted to play vigilante as soon as a failing was pointed out. It remains a minority and it depends on the environment,” replies Christian Lacombe.

Our era of immediacy, however, seems more conducive to outbursts of emotion, notes David Bowles, general director of Charles-Lemoyne College, in Longueuil, and president of the Federation of Private Educational Establishments.

“People will quickly write an email and that sometimes creates a slightly more toxic relationship. The teacher will feel attacked. So I always suggest: wait 24 hours so as not to act out of emotion. »


David Bowles, general director of Charles-Lemoyne college and president of the Federation of private educational establishments

I encourage teachers who are a little discouraged by telling them: “Look at the number of students you have compared to the number of parents who create negative emotions for you.” It’s really a minority, maybe 10% maximum. But it is minorities who sometimes occupy the majority of our time.

David Bowles, general director of Charles-Lemoyne college

Julie Dessureault confirms this: “As in everything, 5% of parents sometimes occupy us more than 50% of the time. »

Overall, the vast majority of them respect the school, our interlocutors emphasize.

“When teachers fall ill during the year, we are not able to replace them as quickly as before,” explains M.me Dessureault. But parents have great indulgence. I feel that they understand the context and know that the school team is doing everything it can to try to meet the needs of the students. »

What do you think ? Participate in the dialogue

Read our text “Ten Ways to Help Teachers”

reference: www.lapresse.ca

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