What are the best ways parents can help teachers and that teachers can help parents?
Communication and honesty are keys to building a positive, healthy relationship between parents and teachers. This relationship is the main reason I wrote Uncommon Core: 25 Ways to Help Your Child Succeed in a Cookie Cutter Educational System. I wanted to encourage parents to become collaborators with teachers and vice versa “by giving parents a glimpse into the classroom. It is eye opening for people to see how a seemingly harmless behavior becomes detrimental to a child’s educational success. When parents see the characteristics in the context of the classroom, they may better understand how to collaborate with teachers through their parenting at home.”
We have to understand, from both sides of the desk, the goals, difficulties, and emotions involved in each role and communicate those things honestly and effectively in order for our children to have the tools necessary to achieve educational success. “As I navigated through my parenting experiences, I struggled with many of the things I talk about in [my] book. I struggled as a mother on the other side of the desk with how my children were treated by teachers and students in the classroom. However, my experiences as a teacher have given me insight into my collaboration with my children’s teachers, and I hope to do the same for my readers. If we all have the same information, we can effectively help our children become happy, successful adults.” It’s important that parents and teachers find that common ground and respect each other’s positions in students’ lives.
Also, if we are being honest, we have to see how we have become pawns in this crazy educational reform movement that is not doing teachers, students, or parents any good:
Over the years, I noticed many things change about education. I watched teacher autonomy slowly dissipate with the arrival of state standardized testing. Instead of allowing teachers to use their natural skills and strengths in the classroom, administrators encouraged teachers to be more like other successful teachers. Administrators started judging teachers on their abilities to prepare students for standardized tests rather than their connections with students and their unique teaching style.
I also heard many students blame teachers for their inability to engage with the material. I am a huge proponent for teaching students where they are and meeting their needs; however, this complaint was something different. Students have a responsibility in the learning environment – they need to want to learn. Even with the best lessons, some students refused to participate in their own education.
The most discouraging change to education was the dwindling partnership between teachers and parents. I started to notice that somewhere along the line, parents stopped looking at teachers as collaborators in their child’s education; instead, parents expected teachers to be responsible for every element of a child’s success and failure in the classroom.
Parents and teachers can work together to help transform the learning experience for our children so they want to learn again.