Our motivation to learn more about the parents and caregivers (and students and colleagues) we encounter at school can launch us on a path to grow and develop, both personally and professionally.

When we want to engage more effectively and meaningfully with someone whom we perceive as different from us, we can seek out information related to their specific identity, population group or situation. If we are experiencing challenges with a particular parent or caregiver, it can be helpful to develop the reflex to seek constructive, non-biased information about that person’s cultural or social group or identity, when appropriate. If we are particularly afraid of conflict and anger, we can focus on opportunities for personal and professional growth, enabling us to develop the information and skills to deal constructively with such situations.

Sound bite

A teacher has a student who misses a great deal of school, and consequently that student has fallen far behind academically. The teacher has tried to meet with the student’s mother to tell her about this situation, but twice the mother has missed appointments. The teacher looks into the family situation and discovers that the mother and student are on their own, with no other family members, and have not been in Canada for very long. He decides to do some research to find out about their country of origin and discovers that they come from a war-torn country. The next time he calls the mother, he takes extra time to find out what makes it difficult for her to come to the school and to explore strategies to make this easier for her.