THE PARENT-TEACHER ASSOCIATION
by Joseph Aranha
A Centenary Feature
The various functions orgainsed by the School to celebrate its Centenary were characterized by a wide variety of activities. The exuberant joy of the members, past and present, of the Alma Mater on the completion of a hundred years of good work in the realm of education naturally found expression not only in music, dance and drama, and other mirthful entertainment programmes and festivities of fleeting nature, but also in certain features of enduring value. One such venture on the part of the School during this year of significant was to make a beginning towards the establishment of an association in order to bring about a closer contact between Home and School. In fact this association, known as the Parent-Teacher Association, may be regarded as one of the major achievements of the Centenary Year and the School can legitimately be proud of it.
Need for an Association
The need for such an association was keenly felt for quite a long time in view of the numerous changes appearing on the educational horizon. If we admit that education is not a one-sided affair but a joint endeavour of both School and Home, the necessity of having a body of this type to assist in matters educational becomes quite obvious. The growing tendency of parents in recent years to depend entirely upon the School for their childrenâ€™s education without their active co-operation has created a series of problems for the School, and as a result of this the task of the teacher has become pretty hard. The main purpose of having an association of this nature is to find a way out of this difficulty, and with the active co-operation of the parents in their childrenâ€™s education, the School can expect to achieve better results in their all important task of creating better citizens. This as the main spring of inspiration the School has gone ahead in setting a stage for institution a parent-teacher body in a constitutional manner.
The ball was set rolling on April 16, 1964, when Rev. Fr. A. Casale, S.J., Principal of the School, cordially invited all the parents and guardians of the children to attend a preliminary meeting held in the spacious School Hall. This, of course, came as a climax to the Centenary programme which was then coming to its end. The spontaneous response of the parent to this invitation was a clear evidence of their zeal to associate themselves with the School in educational affairs. They mustered strong at this meeting and the Principal warmly welcomed them and thanked them for evincing such keen interest in the matter.
Dr. Mr. R. Krishnaswamy, mother of Ramchandran of Standard X and Prem of Std. VI, readily obliged the School by ably addressing the gathering on behalf of the parents assembled and heartily welcome the move as the right one. She emphasized, among other things, that parents could play a vital role not only in co-operating with the School in the work of educating their own children, but also in rendering signal services to the state through the School in the cause of moulding useful citizens of the future. She suggested several means to achieve this end and told the house how this was being done with remarkable success in foreign countries particularly in the United States of America.
Mr. Gerson da Cunha a member of the Staff, then spoke at length from the point of view of the School and Teacher, and said that many a hurdle encountered by the teacher could be overcome if the parents and teachers met at regular intervals to exchange views and discuss the progress of the children studying in the School. The meeting terminated with a vote of thanks to the distinguished speaker of the day, Dr. Mr. R. Krishnaswamy, and to the parents for their encouragement and enthusiasm at the very outset in forming this Association.
The Second Meeting
At the second meeting held on August 4, 1964, in the school Museum under the chairmanship of Rev. Fr. A. Casale, S.J., the parents and members of the Staff discussed in a cordial atmosphere, clause by clause, a proposed Constitution for the Association. After a careful consideration if several amendments suggested both by the parents and teachers, the Constitution was evolved and approved of.
Proposed Activities and Expectations
Today many educational problems defy solution because the Teacher is not sufficiently acquainted with the home-life of the child, his family background and the environment in which he moves after class hours. Every teacher has to deal with behaviour problems of children in the class and correct the abnormal tendencies which become causative factors in future maladjustment. It is therefore essential for the teacher to be familiar with the common problems that occur at various stages of a childâ€™s growth. Problem children usually come from problem homes where the basic emotional and psychological needs of the child are not fulfilled. To acquire this essential information the teacher must come in touch with the parents and the home.
The main function of this Association is to foster contacts between Home and School and create such climate in which both can work together with understanding and sympathy. With the goodwill and genuine co-operation of the parents the School expects to do much through this Association. It is ever ready to join with the parents whole-heartedly in directing their children in the right channels. For this contacts are necessary and it hopes to seek such contacts in a variety of ways, such as periodical class-wise informal meetings of the parents and teachers concerned, and parent-teacher conferences; by socials organized from time to time, by creating opportunities for the parents to understand the programme of studies followed in the School, by inviting practical and constructive suggestions, and so on. Parents too, on their part, could lend their helping hand in a number of different ways to aid the School and teachers in their not-so-easy task of equipping children with the physical, intellectual and emotional capacities which will help them to play their part in after â€“life. It is expected that by these frequent conferences and meetings parents and teachers would come to know one another well and duly respect one another. Certainly, this feeling of mutual respect will form the basis of the childâ€™s respect for the School and the teacher as well.
It is universally admitted that education is a co-operative venture in which the teacher, the parents, the community and the government are equally important participants. Success naturally depends on each one playing his role well. However, it has been said that the teacher is the architect of the school which he can make or mar. If that be the case, he requires to be fortified with the sincere support of all the rest to enable him to work without let or hindrance. Then, and then alone, will his honest efforts be crowned with success and lead to â€˜all-round developmentâ€™ of the childâ€™s personality. Surely the Parent-Teacher-Association can go a long way by extending its hand of co-operation to the School and the teacher in their great mission of imparting knowledge and shaping the character of future citizens of the country.