Monday, March 25, 2013

Partnering with Parents

As the end of the school year quickly approaches, I have found myself facilitating an usually large amount of parent emails.  "How can my student get his/her grade up?" "My son/daughter said he/she turned in this assignment, can you verify?" "Can we meet asap to talk about my student?" 

When these emails come flooding in, we feel frustrated, perhaps disrespected, and maybe even a little defensive.  The question remains, "How do we partner with parents in the education of their children?"  Teachers may make reference to parents expecting teachers to parent their children.  Although this is said in passing, or under our breaths, the fact of the matter is, we must!  As teachers, we are not only responsible for the education of young minds, but at times that education involves developing decision making skills, discernment, social interactions, etc. 

As teachers, we must implor of our parents to partner with us, rather than combat us when it comes to the education and development of their children.  I do not claim to have this figured out, but only see partnership as the answer to teacher/parent battles.  Teachers want to be seen as authority figures who care for their students; therefore, uphold their expectations in order to see students succeed and take owndership of their education.  Parents want the same things, but I believe get caught between upholding these expectations, and wanting to step in and take care of their children at all costs--even when a learning experience could come from the situation. 

The following link provides a great article about what teachers ultimately desire from their parents--support, accountability, communication, respect, etc.

Today's blog is meant to initiate thinking on our part as to how to engage parents in this partnership.  Please feel free to share any positive, or perhaps disheartening, experiences we can all learn from.  My challenge, for all of us, is to have this coversation with a parent in the coming weeks, and see what we can learn!

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