Andre Hardy: Helping to bind the ties between parents and children
ORACABESSA, St Mary:
As the guidance counsellor with responsibility for grades one to three at the Oracabessa Primary School in St Mary, Andre Hardy enjoys most aspects of his job but has a particular fondness for the latter part of the year, largely because of a long-standing custom in which every November, special attention and tributes are paid to parents.
Hardy believes the relationship a parent has with his child's teachers and school is hugely influentia but fears that too few parents either understand or share his point of view.
He told Family and Religion: "Every year, we host a week of activities for Parent Month. We started on Monday when the executive body of the parent-teacher association was in charge of the general assembly, and on Tuesday, the assembly was led by teachers, who are also the parents of children attending the school.
"The male teachers were in charge on Wednesday, the following day was our annual prize and award-giving ceremony and parent-consultation day, and then on Friday, after the fathers had their general assembly, we had sports day and the parents' Olympics.
"Research has shown that the more involved you are in your child's education, the more likely they are to become successful, and there are different ways to do this. You can contribute financially or be someone who helps out around the school. It's about contribution but in different forms.
"In my estimation, an excellent parent is one who communicates with their child and the school.We try to foster a partnership between home and school because we believe this is the way forward. It cannot be that when their child is at school it's one thing, and when they come back home, it's a completely different environment. There has to be a constant balance."
Looking ahead, Hardy hopes to further his education so that he is better prepared to deal with his students' issues in the future. He said: "The hardest thing about my job is the parents' unwillingness to accept new information, and also the attitude some parents have whereby the moment you ask them to come in, a red flag goes off in their head and they think, 'Oh my God! My child did something wrong'; or; 'A teacher is picking on my child', even though that's not normally the case.
"That's one of the reasons I want my level of education to go higher because somebody who has been exposed to psychology at the master's or PhD level will be better able to design intervention programmes than someone with a basic bachelor's degree.
"But, until then, you can still expect excellence at Oracabessa Primary because we are known for that. The other guidance counsellor, Patricia White-Wilson, and I always go beyond the call of duty. We're all about initiative, intervention, and consultation, so that's what you can expect in 2017."