26 September 2023

Dear Parents

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Reviewed by Rama Gaind.

By Gabbie Stroud, Allen & Unwin, $32.99.

It’s a fact we all know: ‘parents are lifelong educators of their children’. This certitude has been reinforced as we grapple with the reality that is the COVID-19 crisis.

Stroud calls on parents to realise the importance of the role they play in educating their children. She has an unusual way of getting these messages to the mothers, fathers and caregivers of Australia, via genuine, witty and heartfelt letters.

Stroud makes a plea to all parents to understand the fundamental changes to the way their children are being taught, and the results of this process on the development of future generations. She wants parents to recognise their responsibility as their children’s primary educators and to appreciate the lifelong benefits that committed and dedicated schoolteachers can bring to their children.

It could be called a “passionate call to arms for all parents to understand their role as their children’s lifelong teachers, showing how they can help their kids’ educators and schools achieve the best outcomes for the next generation”.

Stroud stresses that she teaches because “I am a teacher – it is not ‘what I do’, it is who I am’. My feelings around ‘being a teacher’ are so similar to those around being a parent. Because parenting and teaching are similar: parenting is a responsibility we uphold and it’s a role we fulfil and it’s a relationship we have. Teaching is the same. Teaching is a responsibility, a role, a relationship. Both teaching and parenting are positions of service. They are acts of love.”

“You may not realise it, but you’ve been teaching your child for years. You teach your child through the manners, respect, resilience and confidence you live out each day.”

Your children learn from what you say and do. “During these seemingly small interactions our children watch and listen and learn. You are your child’s first teacher and their lifelong teacher. You. The work that I do, the work that any classroom teacher does, is secondary to the teaching that you do every single day of your child’s life.”

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