Parents as First Teachers

My mom used to say to my brothers and I, “I am your first teacher. Your teacher at school is your second teacher.” Although I didn’t quite “get it” at the time, and her sayings like this were often followed by a teenage eye roll.  Now as a parent and an educator myself, I get it! Parents should assume responsibility for overseeing their children’s education. I grew up as part of a subculture referred to as “military brats.” I don’t know if it is because of that or not, but what I do know is that my parents took on the responsibility of ensuring my brothers and I received the best education possible regardless of the country, state or school in which we found ourselves.

My parents’ responsibility toward our education included such things as:

  • Weekly trips to the public library
  •  “Forced family fun” which usually consisted of a mandatory board game
  • Our entire family sitting together with the Sunday paper and discussing our readings
  • And my favorite… math workbooks to be completed every summer as we spent hours travelling either on vacation or moving from one duty station to another.

I believe if more parents assume the role of “first teacher,” their children will be more prepared to meet the expectations of their “second teacher.”

Published by Cheryl Avila, PhD

President of Math Doctor

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