If you ask any young mother who is the most important child in the world to her, she will reply, “mine”. We would expect nothing different. This feeling doesn’t change when the child turns five and goes to school. Every loved and wanted child is the centre of his or her parent’s world. Pity the child who isn’t.
And so it seems odd when a teacher complains, “She thinks her child is the most important child in my classroom”.
Of course she does, and the sooner you acknowledge this, the sooner you will be able to set up a productive relationship between teacher and parent.
No parent sees a class full of children from the same point of view as the teacher. Good teachers strive to ensure that each child is treated as one among equals.
But no parents view their son or daughter as simply ‘one among equals’.
As a principal I have dealt with many an irate parent in my office. Sometimes their sense of outrage has seemed totally unreasonable from my viewpoint, where their child is simply ‘one among equals’. But it’s this sense of my child being the centre of the universe that leads parents to cry ‘unfair’ and demand to know, “what are you doing to punish the other kid?”
It’s easier to deal with the Tiger Mothers who look as if they might leap across your desk and tear your throat out at any minute, if we understand why they feel like that. They are protecting their young, the centre of their universe, the most precious thing in their lives, at a time when they feel their cub might be under threat.
Give me a Tiger Mother any day rather than the disinterested, unengaged parents who never walk through the school door or pick up the phone and dial the school’s number.