Education

Cultivating Black Parent-Teacher relationships with Afro Kids and Nehemiah D. Frank of The Black Wall Street Times

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Publisher’s Note: Afro is a kid-friendly, family and ethnically centric edutainment website for black families. Feel free to add your advice in the comment section below or on our Facebook Page. Nehemiah D. Frank is the founder and editor in chief of The Black Wall Street Times, a former elementary and middle school educator, and a TED Talk Alum on education. 


Published 09/18/2019 | Reading Time 3 min 11 sec 

Afrokids: Don’t tell your child’s teacher how intelligent and gifted your child is. If the child is truly gifted, it will show in the child’s work and classroom participation. 

Nehemiah: As a former teacher, nothing annoyed me more than when a parent would tell me how academically talented their child was. A good teacher should believe that all children possess the talent to be great. Whenever parents would tell me such things in the past, I would always feel like the parent was trying to pressure me into giving their children good grades, even when they didn’t earn them.

Afrokids: Check your child’s backpack daily. If you do your parental homework each day by checking out your child’s carry home bag, your child will do their homework too, and you will be kept abreast of upcoming school activities and know if they’re struggling academically. 

Nehemiah: I could always tell if a parent actually checked their child’s homework. Homework was always done, thoroughly, when the parent checked homework. It also saves the teacher so much time, and the students and teacher are better able to move the students forward. 

Afrokids: Don’t use social or athletic activities as a reason for your child to skip homework. If you take time off from work to play, you pay the price and the same holds true for your child – homework should be done no matter what else is going on.

Nehemiah: Believe it or not, I would have parents tell me that so-in-so didn’t have time to do his or her homework because he or she had a basketball game or dance competition. Then when report cards would come out, the parents would look at me cross. It was so annoying. Parents would even go so far as to blame me for their child’s academic shortcomings because they weren’t bringing them to school because of basketball or dance competitions. Parents have an equal role to play in ensuring that their child is at school and does their homework. 

Afrokids: Don’t argue for a better grade for your child with the teacher. Instead, find out why your child was given the grade he or she got.

Nehemiah: Fortunately, I’ve never had to deal with this. I grew accustomed to writing down why a student missed earning a higher mark.  

Afrokids:  Don’t tell the teacher how well your child did last year. The teacher has school records at his or her disposal, and your child will show what they are capable of through class participation and homework that is done.

Nehemiah: I think that is easily comprehendible and self-explanatory. But, I’ll add those teachers, no matter what the school policy may say, talk. 

Afrokids: Don’t berate the teacher for telling you that your child has a problem. Instead, discuss possible solutions to the problem.

Nehemiah: Telling a parent that their child was having behavior problems in class was always difficult, especially if the parent told you at the beginning of the school year that their child was academically talented. Most children will hit a challenge in their academic journies. That’s normal. 

Afrokids: Don’t interrupt the teacher when he or she is teaching. It is rude and sets a poor example for your child as well as the rest of the kids in the classroom. 

Nehemiah: Fortunately, I’ve never had this to happen but feel for any teacher who gets placed in this awkward and unfortunate situation. 

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Afrokids: Don’t argue with the teacher in the presence of your child or any other children. Excuse yourself and the teacher from the room if children are present when you go to the classroom to have a discussion with the teacher, and a disagreement ensues.

Nehemiah: This is where the emotional intelligence of the parents is revealed. I parent with higher emotional intelligence will be able to have empathy with the teacher while simultaneously looking out for their child, which makes for the best parent-teacher relationship. I’ve encountered an unfortunate situation, and another colleague and I tried to gently dismiss the student back to class in the presence of an upset parent. The parent snapped at us in front of the child, not realizing that his displayed model of disrespect contributed to the child being disrespectful to the other teachers in the building for the entire year and me. Needless to say, the child didn’t perform academically well because the child felt that they didn’t need to listen to me as their child’s teacher. My advice for any teacher is to explain thoroughly to the parent why it’s a good idea for their child to be dismissed to class and if that doesn’t work, report the incident to a supervisor. Be nice to your child’s teachers parents; they are responsible for getting them to the next level. Most teachers aren’t out to get your kids. They are actually trying to make them more academically successful. 

For more black parenting advice checkout Afrokids.  

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