Working in Partnership with Parents……

Nevertheless, no school can work well for children if parents and teachers do not act in partnership on behalf of the children’s b est interests. Parents have every right to understand what is happening to their children at school, and teachers have the responsibility to share that information without prejudicial judgement…. Such communication, which can only be in a child’s interest, is not possible without mutual trust between parent and teacher.
~Dorothy H. Cohen~

 

Am I the only one who wells up during parent teacher conferences?

My son’s parent’s evening was tonight and I have to say that I am one proud mama!  I know he is only five and in year 1, but he is doing so well.  I am so proud of him.  So, yes, I did almost have a tear fall down my face when the teachers were telling me about his great classwork!

His school sent home an interim report yesterday.  It was a very nicely presented report, on card, that clearly explained how he was doing so far.   It was very professional and exceeded all expectations.  He is in a state school, so receiving such thorough information about his progress mid-year, was a very welcome and unexpected surprise.

We are in an age where everything is regulated.  We have to limit the amount of paperwork that teachers do, therefore only one written report is normally expected which parents will receive at the end of the year.  I understand why it has come to this, as many teachers have a poor work-life balance and this is in response to that.  But, somewhere we need to draw a line and think about what is really important and what will help the parents to further support their children at home.  

My son’s report was a check box exercise that showed me what he was doing very well in and what areas he still needed to improve.  For any parent, it would be clear exactly what objective they were working towards and what they needed to try to achieve by the end of this academic year.  There was then a very short, but very personal paragraph about his achievements so far.  So, extremely informative but not that daunting a task for the teachers to complete.

It would be interesting to find out what other schools do and how often they inform parents of children’s progress.  And, I am not talking about telling the parents the children’s levels (which still, many don’t understand), but informing them of each area of learning and what objectives they confident in and what they still need to work on.  As a teacher, I know data, levels, and expectations of each year group extremely well……but even for me, this report was clear,  concise and very informative.  I was very impressed.

Again, it goes back to the theme I referred to yesterday.  Why do we settle and not expect more?  It is about working smarter and not harder.  Wouldn’t an easy reporting system like this perhaps even limit the amount of parent/teacher time that is requested just after school?  Shouldn’t we be working more in partnership with parents so that they are fully informed of what is expected at their child’s school and further, how they can help?  Many schools seem to close their doors on this issue and push parents out.  When, in fact, it is our job to inform parents about their children’s successes, strengths and areas they need to improve.  Without this valuable information, how can they ever know how to help push and challenge their children.

We need to open our doors and welcome parents in.  Without their support, children will never succeed as highly as they could.  We must work in partnership…….

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