Anxious private school parents ‘stalking’ teachers

If being a teacher isn’t hard enough during Monday to Friday, it has been revealed that many of them are receiving weekend visits from parents who are anxious about their children's homework.

A study by the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) surveyed nearly 900 private school parents and found that those who tended to over-parent had greater expectations that teachers would be responsible for their child completing homework.

QUT researcher, Judith Locke, told The Sydney Morning Herald that parents’ over-involvement in their child’s schooling may result in “excessive emotional reactions” if their academic expectations are not fulfilled.

“Teachers are seen as falling short in their actual responsibility in the higher grades,” Locke said.

“In days of old, parents would say to the child 'why aren't you doing your homework?’ Now they're much more likely to say to the school 'what are you doing about it?’”

In one instance, a father went to the apartment building of his son’s teacher on a Sunday afternoon to find out homework details. Not knowing the exact apartment, the man rang every bell until he found the teacher.

“It shows a real inability of the parent to accept the consequences for the child. Instead, it was the teacher's responsibility to take time out of their weekend [and explain the homework]," Locke said.

Australian Primary Principals Association (APPA) president, Dennis Yarrington,​ said that teaching children to prioritise and manage workloads could take the burden off parents.

“These are all life skills parents want kids to learn. I know parents want to help their kids, but just stop and think 'am I teaching them to take responsibility for their learning?’” Yarrington said.

The QUT study cautioned that as children progressed through school, they should be taking more responsibility for their academic work, and the adults in their lives should be taking less.

However, Locke said that this didn’t appear to be happening.

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