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Necessary Collaboration between the Family and the School

The students are not abstract beings, but children of definite families. Why is it that such great efforts on the part of teachers, so many hours and years of constant dedication, sometimes show almost no results, if not because the family, with its failure to educate, its errors in teaching, and its bad example, day by day destroys whatever the teacher strives to build? Has he nothing to say to the family in such a case? Should he do nothing to enlighten them, help them, make them aware of the complexity and the wide range of their mission, to implant in them proper educational principles, correct their errors and stir up their zeal?

Families should not be allowed to believe, as many do, that they have satisfied their duties towards their children when they have sent them off to school, giving no thought to working hand in hand with the teachers, on whom they wrongly think they can completely unload a part of their responsibilities. This is true especially as regards the elementary grades but also for the secondary schools. For at this period growing adolescents begin to free themselves from subjection to their parents and it often happens that they oppose the teacher to the father, the school to the home. Many parents find themselves at such a time almost deprived of all authority before the queer moods of their children and some errors that are committed in these years can turn out to be injurious to the equilibrium of the adolescent.

This is only one point among a host of others to show that the collaboration of parents and of teachers must be constant and profound. We encourage with all our heart whatever will help to bring about closer co-operation between the school and the family. The family chooses the teacher to prepare the adolescent to live his adult life in the State and in the Church. It must not and can not abdicate its directive office. Co-operation is natural and necessary, and in order to be fruitful, it presupposes acquaintance with each other, constant relations, unity of outlook, and successive adaptations. Only the teachers can make their ideal effective. The family must be the most solid support of the teacher on all levels.

(Delivered by Pope Pius XII, January 4, 1954)