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Demonstration of Illinois Professional Teaching Standards

9. Collaborative Relationships:
The teacher understands the role of the community in education and develops and maintains collaborative relationships with colleagues, parents/guardians, and the community to support student learning and well-being

I have two different artifacts for this section.





Family Relationships and the School Success of Adolescents

From birth, the most prevalent influence on a child is his or her parents. Children imitate what they see their parents doing and generally learn to value the same beliefs and ideas of their family. Parental influence begins to become more apparent as the child enters adolescence and begins to make decisions for him or herself. The ideals that the adolescent picks up from his or her parents influence decisions and actions of the adolescent. The interaction between the adolescent and his or her parents over time can help cause many outcomes. It can help to mature the adolescent or distance them from their family and lead to inappropriate behavior. The strong influence of parental behavior in adolescents’ lives is prominently displayed in the book A Tribe Apart by Particia Hersch. The adolescents Charles and Courtney in the book are great examples to show how parental involvement, or lack there of, can affect adolescents performance and involvement in school.

The book Beyond the Classroom by L. Steinberg describes some typical parenting classifications. One of them is known as authoritative parenting. In this parenting style, parents are very responsive to their children and their needs and desires and encourage autonomy of the adolescent. At the same time they demand respect from the child enforce the rules and expectations set forth in the family. Authoritative parenting is conducive to the adolescents success and maturation in school. It can also help to curb the adverse affects of storm and stress in the adolescent’s life.

Charles Sutter is his sophomore class president at school and gets good grades. He is involved in athletics year round and extracurricular activities such as his classes homecoming float. Charles is an all around good kid and is well liked at school by students and faculty. He always tries hard and is determined to make the best out of his education and his life. Charles’ parents are responsive to what Charles wants and needs. They allow him to be involved in the athletics that he wants. His parents put aside money for him to attend lacrosse camps and they "never miss a game" (Hersch 187). Their support and involvement in Charles’ life seems to make Charles respect them more. Mutual respect between parents and adolescents fosters maturity. This maturity is carried over into school where the student takes class more seriously and behaves in an appropriate manner.

There are cases where there is less responsiveness from parents about their child’s wants and needs and less encouragement for the child’s autonomy. When parents don’t take an active role in their child’s life and do not enforce rules or demand respect, the parents are using a indifferent parenting style. Beyond the Classroom brings up this type of parenting as well. Indifferent parenting does not support success in school for the child and can lead to increased prevalence of storm and stress in the adolescents life.

Courtney Smith regularly skips school and does not seem to care about the poor grades that she receives. She regularly does drugs and began having sex at age 14. She is friends with other adolescents who have the same lifestyles. Courtney does however have a steady job at the dry cleaners. Courtney’s parents are divorced and she lives with her mother and step-father. Her dad lives in Florida with his second wife. Courtney’s parents are not very supportive of her life. "They never attended school meetings; found it terribly inconvenient to drive their girls places, including the library" (Hersch 173). If Courtney’s parents didn’t care about school and couldn’t even find the time to help them succeed, why should Courtney care about her education? This could be a major cause in Courtney’s truancy and poor school achievement. Courtney’s parents "were not particularly curious about their children unless they threw something in their faces that demanded attention," (Hersch 173). This indifferent approach to parenting does not give value to the adolescent’s life and does not encourage mutual respect since the parent is so unattached.

Authoritative parents are not only concerned with what the child wants, but also with what is best for the child. Parent’s like Charles’ make sure that rules are followed but make appropriate exceptions. They understand that it is important for structure and to learn basic morals. Charles’ dad has "high expectations and is always there demanding the best effort of his son" (Hersch 188). During a lacrosse game, an opponent called Charles a "stupid nigger" (Hersch 189), and Charles retaliated in a physical attack. Charles’ mom does not condone fighting or violence, but she takes time to understand the situation from her sons point of view and chooses not to punish him. "She reminds him that there were other ways he could have handled the situation" (Hersch 191). I think that this decision was made by Charles’ mom because of the good relationship and communication that they have had in the past. Although his parents did call him on his inappropriate behavior, they came to an understanding and all parties were satisfied. This understanding and maturity while still maintaining boundaries makes Charles a more well rounded and mature adolescent. This can only help him in the school environment to work with other students and faculty and to be a leader.

Indifferent parents do not have the same need for discipline and boundaries for structure of their child’s life. Courtney’s parents are rarely around. When they are at home at the same time as Courtney, they avoid spending time with her. Courtney also goes out a lot and her parents don’t really care or ask her where she is going. They give her a lot of freedom. This makes Courtney feel unwanted by her parents. This could be a reason that she acts out. Her parents try to set up rules, but they are seldom followed or enforced. Courtney sneaks out of her house at night and is never caught. "Smoking is something that she is forbidden to do but that her parents choose to overlook" (Hersch 179). The lack of follow through on the parents part make them less of an authority figure and Courtney has less respect for them. The could carry over into her school life. Courtney has a lack of respect for adults in general. She may act out against her teachers and she simply doesn’t go to school because her parents don’t do anything if she doesn’t.

In general, Charles has minimal storm and stress in his life. He obviously has very little conflict with his parents because they have such a healthy relationship. He exhibits very little risk behavior. The fight with the other lacrosse player was risky, but it was in a controlled environment and his parents treated it appropriately. Finally, he has some mood disruptions, but they are not in dealing with his parents or family. They are generally in his life at school and due to his busy and demanding schedule. Without major disruption from adolescent storm and stress, Charles has a much better environment to allow his success in school and in his life.

Courtney on the other hand shows a lot of adolescent storm and stress. She has an abundance of conflict with parents. Of course this only occurs when her parents are around and paying attention, but her parents don’t take the time to hear her point of view. This frustrates Courtney and causes conflict. Her step-father is also abusive to all the women in her family. This is unacceptable, but is not address by her mother. This also causes conflict. Courtney exhibits a great deal of risk behavior. The fact that her parents aren’t around much and that they don’t really care about what she does encourages her risk behavior. She does drugs while she is skipping school. She also started having sex when she was 14 years old. Her risky actions are overlooked by her parents and Courtney is never punished. This simply keeps Courtney on the track of risky behavior. Mood disruptions are common in Courtney’s life. Her lack of parental guidance make her life as an adolescent very difficult. She is involved with a risky crowd and is presented with many adverse situations. Also, the conflict with her parents is a source of her mood disruptions. These factors of storm and stress seem to make Courtney’s life very hectic. This makes school a low priority. Her potential is very limited by her reactions to her parents indifferent parenting style.

In general, authoritative parenting seems to help adolescents to succeed in school more than indifferent parents. Charles and Courtney do not start school on a level playing field because of their very different family lives. The support and respect that Charles and his parents share helps Charles to be more mature at school, allowing him to succeed. Courtney’s aloof and uncaring parents have forced Courtney to try to find things out for herself. In her case, she became involved in a risky crowd and limited her school success. Regardless of how much potential an adolescent has, his or her parents’ attitudes and actions play a large role in how well the potential is used in school and beyond.

Works Cited

Arnett, J. (1999). "Adolescent Storm and Stress, Reconsidered." American Psychologist, 54, 317-326.

Hersch, Patricia. (1998). A Tribe Apart. New York: Ballantine Books.

Steinberg, L. (1996). Beyond the Classroom. New York: Simon & Schuster. Chapters 6 & 7.


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