Continuous Dialogue will Enhance Parents, Teachers, Students’ Relationship, Says Egbeyemi

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Miss Oyindamola Egbeyemi is the Executive Administrator of The Foreshore School, Ikoyi. She explained to some journalists including Funmi Ogundare why parents need to engage in continuous dialogue with their children, saying that aside their proper upbringing, it would make them to feel safe both at home and at school

Since your appointment, what effort have you made to ensure the development of the school that will enhance teaching and learning?

It has been a long year of growth and development for both teachers and children. Basically teaching and learning has always been good at the school and the quality of our education is one of the things that make us to stand out in terms of paying attention to details and individualised attention. This year, we have taken it to another level in terms of improving on our standard and creativity as well as organisation just to ensure that what we are doing is up to standard .

As a British school, there are certain expectations of us and of course, our parents have their own expectations as well. So we are trying to blend everyone’s need and tailor our curriculum as a school and our style of delivery to suite what is best for the child as well. Our communication channels are opened , so parents contact us directly everyday via all media . In terms of affiliation, we are affiliated with Association of Private Educators of Nigeria(APEN) and Association of International Schools Educators of Nigeria (AISEN). Through this association , we interact with other schools in the same league as ours . It a way of checkmating our peers to know that what we are doing is right .

Education is not a competition but more of a collaboration., and as an association, its more of knowledge sharing and we do take information back to our individual school and use that to further develop ourselves . For the children, its about them interacting with other children from other schools . They have participated in several competitions and came out tops. Those are very encouraging things to move on. Because of our small number, we try to pay attention to each child. One of our selling points here is that we individualize attention . We don’t plan to expand our passion beyond our capacity . We only want to have one arm of each classroom because we want to pay attention to details and ensure that we don’t lose quality of what we are giving the children.

How is the school reacting to the culture of internet and social media and how are you preparing the children to cope?

Even as adults, we are exposed to a lot of media and information; some may be the truth and some false. So what Foreshore school does is instilling those core values in individuals regardless of those information available out there, there is a little control over what people send out for others to read or hear. But what is important is how we instill those critical and basic foundational values of integrity, discipline and respect in the children. So learning by all these at school , we should always be honest with people . Regardless of the information that is out there , they know that based on their moral compass, they should keep themselves out of trouble. In the past you could always clarify any information available, There is peer pressure out there , and with social media, they seem to get distracted.

How would you describe the relationship between the parents and the school over the years?

For me, I believe that the only way to feel safe is through communication and there is a direct dialogue between the parents and the school management over any issue. In bringing up a child, I found out that in our environment, we don’t take enough responsibility over children. We rely a lot on the school and our religious outreach such as the church . There is a huge role that parents have to take in bringing up their children, even when it comes to doing homework and interacting with them on a daily basis . I understand that these days, parents are very busy and work till late hours, they need to find a balance between their work, life and family; and everything else that they have to do outside .

There is need for them to take their time in communicating with their children and ask them basic questions. These will go a long way in helping the children and make them to feel safe at home and at school . So at school, we try to provide enough of that work environment, we try to know our children on a one-on-one basis. Every member of staff in the school knows every singe child by name and character. So if there is something wrong like if the child is sick , we can call the parents. So dialogue is continuous , and the parents need to understand that they too need to be very involved in the upbringing of their children.

What has been your challenges so far and how is the school addressing it?

The main thing we are talking about is actually education outside the classroom, so we are talking about issues on education administration, operation, finance, management, pastoral care and mental health . For instance, the child may experience depression because they can’t handle what they are going through. Depression is shockingly becoming common even among Nigerians and we are beginning to ask ourselves. It is becoming common even among Nigerians and we are beginning to ask ourselves what we are doing right or wrong and how we can improve the mental health of these children , parents and our teachers. It is not all about teaching, but how is the teaching environment like? Are you happy and fulfilled in your job? My mother has always said that you don’t need to come to the school if you are not happy being a teacher .

We look out for the passion in the teacher before they are allowed to teach here. It is not rocket science . We look for people who are genuinely passionate about children , and what educationists are talking about now is providing that environment that is conducive enough for the teachers to enjoy what they do. A lot of discussion is also going on around engaging with parents. As much as parents are finding it difficult to engage with their children these days, parents have direct contact with schools. Sometimes the schools will not know how to address the issues that the parents bring up . Some of these issues lead to cracks and they never address it. Sometimes you hear parents complain about certain schools,but they don’t know who to talk to about issues.

Some think schools need to develop their means of communication a little better, there is a lot of emotional intelligence to it as well. The reason why the schools must communicate with parents is that their children are at the schools, so that when they come to you with issues, it might necessarily be rational. For instance, if my child comes home with a swell on his hand , some teachers may not see that as an issue but I think there is a better way of approaching people that comes to you with such issue that we sometimes feel irrational .

There is a lot of professionalism that need to be imbued into education. Teachers are good, but they need to be able to communicate better and be more professional, respond to email because technology is moving ahead of us . We need to try to adapt our methods even outside teaching and learning to suite all those other requirements.