Parental involvement is the key ingredient to developing and maintaining good rapport within your child’s academic endeavors. As parents, being involved can be a balancing act, because voicing too many opinions can be seen as overbearing. Yet, avoiding voicing your desires or opinions can be a detriment to the needs of your child. We must remember that teachers are people too. They have feelings, emotions, and personal needs, thus it is important to show your child’s teachers respect and dignity.
In many circumstances teachers are being overworked, underpaid, and overburdened by their classroom sizes. Schools are being forced to cut costs and reduce their financial obligations. The financial burdens play a role in the lives of the parents, teachers, school administrations, and the individual student.
DEVELOPING A PARENT TEACHER RELATIONSHIP
Honest communication and advocacy are the best policy for developing a healthy relationship. You must begin by developing a good relationship with your child’s teacher. Get to know the school administration and its staff. It is vitally important that all lines of communication are left open and a flow of information occurs between you and the school.
Your involvement in the academic process will ensure that your child’s needs are met.
It is essential that you develop a partnership between you and your child’s teachers. Whether entering high school, junior high, or grade school, it is prudent that you not only introduce yourself to your child’s teachers, but that you inform them of your willingness to be a part of your child’s academic career.
BE CREATIVE WITH YOUR COMMUNICATIONS
Consider developing a daily forum with which you communicate. For younger children, you might consider offering to send a daily journal which can offer insights into the child’s overall performance; homework plans; concerns; behavioral issues; achievements; goals; successes; and any other matter that may need addressing between you, your child, and their teacher. For older children, requesting a monthly parent – teacher conference can prove a gateway into your child’s academic life.
ENCOURAGE YOUR SCHOOL TO BE RESOURCEFUL
We are a society burdened by many avenues of life, therefore, balancing our time can be a real juggling act. Consider the many different communicative devices that have been developed such as: texting, emails, cell phones, faxing, and so forth to deliver your parental communications. As parents, we need to remember to be respectful, don’t allow yourself to bombard your child’s teacher, by overwhelming them with tons of communication.
WHAT ARE THE MODERN TECHNOLOGICAL BENEFITS AVAILABLE FOR SCHOOLS?
In our modern society, technologies are limitless, schools can offer group mail outs, online grading systems, newsletters, reports, lunch and breakfast menus, online forms and programs, and video technologies.
BE PROACTIVE PARENTS
Do not wait for your teachers to set up a parent-teacher conference.
Attend groups that advocate for your children’s rights: Parent Teacher Associations (PTA); Parent Advisory Councils (PAC). Being an active member and participant will allow you to voice your concerns; questions; and desires, not only for your child, but for the system itself. Your child will benefit from your willingness to participate in their school. For many children, a parent that is actively participating in their lives will reinforce their overall sense of self.
Ask about activities that can help foster your child’s learning performance. For younger children, it may be practicing numbers, letters, reading, writing, and arithmetic. Do not be afraid to request help if you are uncertain about your child’s assignments.
Request to volunteer in your child’s school. As a parent you can become a vital member of the school by reading to children, or having them read unto you. Helping children learn to use their school’s library, resource centers, computer labs, and support staff to engage the children in their school. Offer to help your school by volunteering your time. Your time can be used to do such things as, monitoring the cafeteria, the playground, hallways, and being a role model in the students. Parental assistance can prove a benefit to the school and the teachers, by allowing the teacher to focus their time and energy on more prudent academic needs.
ARRANGE A MEETING WITH THE SCHOOL COUNSELOR AND/OR PSYCHOLOGISTS
Children are more inclined to seek out help from their school counselor or school psychologist, if they know that this individual is a safe, caring, and supportive individual.
THE DO’S AND DON’TS
Do not delay meetings when your child’s behaviors, performance, attitudes, or academic performance are appearing to be negatively affected.
Consider academic, achievement, and placement testing when your child appears to be falling behind or is not being challenged enough in their academic environment.
Know your “rights” as a parent. If your school is encouraging your child to be placed into a special education program, know that you have a right to challenge such a placement. Schools should provide you as a parent access to your bill of rights. Do not hesitate to request a copy of such a document if you have concerns about your child or the school.
Ask to review your child’s curriculum. Having a clear understanding of their academic goals, can help you engage your child’s needs.
PARENTS AND TEACHERS
Developing a relationship with your child’s teachers can have positive implications. Your child’s academic career will become more personalized and successful with the cooperation of the teachers and the parents.
*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA