Pushing a Child toward Greatness: The Role of Teachers and Parents

The role of a teacher in helping to push a child toward greatness is vital if a student is going to thrive above a life of mediocre and failure. Unfortunately, many underperforming students have the mindset that attending school is a useless activity which parents impose upon them. This mindset must be changed.  A part of this opportunity belongs to the teacher; the other part belongs to the parent.

Effective teachers make it up in their minds to see greatness in every child, regardless of the behavior the child displays day in and day out. The hope is, that among all the discipline, and redirection, that the child will eventually come to a revelation that life must be taking seriously, especially the part regarding school and academics.

Allowing students to settle for mediocre could dam them to a low quality of life, including,

  • Illiteracy
  • Poverty
  • Low achievement mentality
  • Unwilling to sacrifice for greatness
  • Obsession with ease and comfort
  • Lack of vision and goals for their lives

Promoting Greatness: What Does It Take?

The two necessary tools for pushing a child toward greatness include: Discipline and Reward

Discipline: the role of Teachers

Students need discipline. They need to be taught how to make good decisions in the classroom so that they will be prepared to make good decisions in society. A teacher must combine teachable moments with strict discipline for those students who constantly display unruly behavior.  The typical method of discipline for teachers follow a common hierarchy:

  • Warning
  • Time out
  • Buddy Room
  • Reflection or Behavior Room (depending on school)
  • Teacher/student contract
  • Suspension
  • Parent confidence (could occur before suspension)

The most important thing is not if a teacher uses this hierarchy of discipline, but how consistent is the teacher in implementing these methods of behavior control. The consist use of these discipline techniques will go a long way in helping a student redirect his or her behavior to making intelligent choices.


Discipline: the role of Parents


Parents must discipline their children. The power of highly effective discipline is in the hands of the parents.   No other person can impact the direction a child than his or her parents. A teacher can redirect a child a thousand times in one day, but if the parents aren’t behind her, all her efforts stand on the edge of failure.

Not only do the parent must discipline the child, but also model the correct behavior when it comes to dealing with society.  Parents who direct their children to make a positive decision and then turn around and make multiple negative choices themselves are defeating the purpose. To the child, these parents are a big contradiction, not to be taking seriously.

Parents can use multiple strategies for discipline a child, including:

  • Taking away computer or smartphone privileges
  • Denying game privileges such as X-Box
  • Canceling trips to special places
  • Isolating child from friends
  • Isolating child from outside privileges (grounding)
  • Physical punishment: spanking for small children
  • Boot camps for older children

We see parents have the most effective forms of discipline when it comes fostering a child to make good decisions.  When these forms of discipline are combined with those of the teacher, the combination becomes a powerful force for creating within a child an ability to make great decisions in and outside of school.

Reward: the role of Teachers

Children need inspiration and encouragement daily. Teachers who are always on the look-out for rewarding their students for challenging work and behavior will be cherished forever by such students.

I still receive honor from students who are now adults with children of their own.  This is a reality because my goal was always to bring out the best in students by telling them how fantastic they were and could be.

Effective teachers use a variety of ways to reward students for good choices and excellent productivity. Some of these strategies include complements, high-fives, standing ovations, good slips, extra recess time, free time, pizza parties, movie and popcorn parties, special field trips, and an honorable phone call home.

Teachers can be as creative as they desire in rewarding students for good focus and behavior. The goal is to promote the behavior in the classroom and hopefully make it so contagious, that other student will want to get on board.

Reward: the role of Parents

The treasured words of encouragement and inspiration from the lips of a parent will never be forgotten. Such transformative words will lead and guide a child’s life long after the parent has exited this present life.

Some of the greatest entertainers, sports icons, and outstanding people in society have attributed their success to something positive their mother and father told them.  Once again, we see the incredible power of the parents to positively impact the lives of their children.

What parents say will go a long way in complementing what the teacher says to the student. Teachers and parents working together to build confidence and excellence within a student is a surefire combination for pushing he child toward greatness.

Parents rewarding their children for good decisions and behavior can occur in several ways, including:

  • Buying the child, a new X-box or a bike
  • Providing a special trip to favorite restaurant
  • Opening credit card in the child’s name
  • Special driving privileges (if the child is 16 years or older)
  • Buying the child, a new computer or smartphone
  • Buying the child, a new automobile (after graduation)
  • Giving the child a summer vacation from home
  • Giving a child a gift of choosing its own reward

Rewarding a child for outstanding academics and behavior will pay outstanding dividends. A child will fully understand that the rewards in life must be earned through making intelligent decisions and working hard to achieve excellence.

Turning Around Underperforming Students

Underperforming students must be motivated night and day. Many times, these students are experiencing some type of chaos outside of school. As a teacher for almost twenty years, I have seen the type of impact that an unbalanced home front can do to a child.  Experiencing a divorce, verbal and physical abuse or drug and crime-ridden environment are situations which can steal the joy and adventure of learning.

Therefore, it is vital for teachers to connect with the parents of underperforming students by any means necessary. Usually, the hope of both parents and teachers working together can touch the hearts and souls of those students who need tons of extra motivation to realize the values of school and education.


Creating Sense of Urgency in Children

Both teachers and parents must work together to produce a sense of urgency within students, especially when it comes to embracing excellence in school. Students must realize that they are the next generation in which the world will depend on for making intelligent choices and moving forward toward greatness.

Teachers and students must not abandon their roles or refuse to collaborate on promoting good values within a child.  Greatness cannot happen with both partners working together. Although the parents hold the most power in transforming a child’s behavior, our responsibility as teachers is still to provide and demonstrate the daily passion for making good decisions and embracing academic excellence.