How to Make Parents Partners
Parents and teachers want the same thing: students to be happy and successful at school. Since they have the same goal, it makes sense for them to work together.
Unfortunately, teachers and parents sometimes feel at odds. Parents don’t always understand that teachers need to help many (MANY) students, and, although they might want to work one-on-one every day with a student, it isn’t always possible.
Teachers can misunderstand parents and assume they don’t care. Parents may have had a bad experience in school and are reluctant to trust schools. They may just be exhausted from working and managing a family (I sure am) Many parents want to help, but they just don’t know what to do.
How Can Schools Help Parents Become Partners
Schools need to help parents understand how to support students. Education has changed a lot since I first started teaching, so it is different from when many parents went to school.
Explain Learning Standards
We need to break down learning standards and best practices to help students achieve them. Parents need to understand what mastery of a standard looks like compared to meeting expectations or emerging. Specific examples of the different levels could be explained at Back to School Night or during conferences.
Also, parents need help understanding why teaching methods have changed. For example, math instruction has changed. We explicitly teach different methods for solving problems because it helps students build mathematical reasoning. Schools need to emphasize why students are learning new math concepts and how it will benefit them.
Teach Them How to Interpret Assessments
Parents also need help understanding and interpreting assessments, formative, summative, and standardized. For example, if parents understood how to check for misunderstandings in formative assessments, they could review those concepts at home before the class reaches the summative assessment.
Brain research shows stress impacts our ability to reason. If parents punish students for poor test scores, it may increase the students’ difficulty in passing assessments. Parents mean well, but not every failing grade deserves punishment – and we need to help parents understand the difference between needing support and not trying.
Provide Specific Tools or Methods They Can Use at Home
Teachers can help parents by giving them specific tools for helping students at home. Teachers could add something in the classroom newsletter or use a QR code to link to a short video demonstrating a process they can use at home. If possible, teachers could send home review activities, such as flashcards, games, or clip cards.
Ask Parents What They Need to Help Their Student
A great way to find out what parents need to become partners is to ask them. Teachers could ask parents to take a short survey at Open House, send home a note on the newsletter, or ask during parent conferences.
Parents, teachers, and students all want students to succeed, so let’s focus on how each of us can support the students’ learning.
Do you have questions on how to make your students’ parents partners? Do you have ideas on how to make this happen?
Let me know! You can comment below or email me!
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