I don’t believe that a child can learn through intimidation. I don’t believe a child can learn through ¬†sarcasm either. I am not sure why some teachers never appreciate a child’s efforts or for a moment, think about understanding a child’s mindset. And I’m not talking about a teacher in a class of 30 students.

Recently, I had a firm word with my daughter’s online religious studies¬†instructor. I put my mother’s hat down and spoke to him, teacher-to-teacher. Needless to say, he was shocked at my suggestions. He’s old school and thinks we can make a child learn by instilling fear in them. I told him a child can memorize prepackaged lessons via that method but never learn, understand or appreciate. If lessons become a mechanical task completion where a child makes a check mark next to a list, then no learning has occurred. I also told him that punishment is different from reprimand.

Another issue I have is with teachers comparing children. No one’s in a hurry here. I don’t really care if my 11 year old doesn’t know as much as a 9 year old. There are ways of bringing out the best in a child. One way is to focus on a child’s strength, and while setting expectations, making sure they are realistic.

Putting my mother’s hat back on, I made sure my kid wasn’t aware of my discussion with her teacher. Regardless of the teaching style, a teacher must be respected and honored. Doubts in my mind can be transferred to her mind and that can start a problem that isn’t even in her thoughts.

As parents we want to make sure we don’t injure a child’s emotional stability. Taking them on guilt trips and long dramatic sequences of extreme consequences is not only demoralizing but demotivating. It never works. It isn’t necessary either. If we can learn how to awaken a child’s potential for learning and expression, then we’ve succeeded at one of parenting’s most daunting roles. But for that we need patience. How many of us have it?