Janet Albrechtsen’s column (‘Parents must do their job so teachers can do their own’, Inquirer, Weekend Australian 2-3 July) brought back a memory of education being describe metaphorically as a tripod supported by three legs, students, teachers and parents. The strength, value and balance of education is determined by the awareness and support each ‘leg’ offers the other. If, as Albrechtsen writes, parents abdicate the primacy of their roles, education destabilises.
Unfortunately, education systems have been far too prepared to accept an expanded ‘loco parentis’ role, hand-balling additional responsibilities for student development and upbringing to schools and teachers. Teaching responsibilities are being diminished and diffused as teachers “… play the role of social worker, psychologist, mediator, police officer, judge and then find the time to teach …”.
Teachers are being forced into becoming “Jacks of all trades and masters of none.” It is small wonder that Australian education has declined. Unless authorities take note and act on the advice of Albrechtsen and others to reprioritise (and return) to the prime functions of teaching, teachers historically fulfilled, necessary corrections will not happen any time soon. This has to be predicated by parents returning to their parenting roles.