We're All in this Together

We are all in this together
What if all parent and teacher relationships were as wonderful and open as we all wanted? Some may say this is not reality, but after seven years as a teacher, I have learned it very much can be reality, and should be so.
I will never forget my very first parent teacher conference. 4:00 p.m., Wednesday afternoon. What was I going to say? Would I be able to find my words? The child was struggling. What was I going to do if the parent began questioning things that I could not answer? I do not know all the answers NOW, and I SURE did not know the answers then! That conference ended up being the beginning of a relationship with a family that I still have today. I keep up with all of them, talk to them regularly, and it makes me laugh out loud thinking about how scared I was.
However, can we be real and honest? Parent and teacher relationships go way beyond a parent teacher conference once in the fall and then once to conclude the school year in the spring. Daily communication between the school and the home is necessary for a successful relationship to work. In fact, research has proven that students with involved parents have much more success than those students whose parents are not involved.
Parents: Know what your children are doing in school. Go through their backpack, ask them questions, and don’t let “I don’t know what I did today” be an acceptable answer. Invest just three minutes every single day, technology and TV free, just you and them — and learn about their day. They want to tell you, believe me, but more so, they want to know that you want to listen and that you care. You will be in tune with their daily routines and learn a lot about their teachers and peers from this simple conversation every day.
Teachers: Let’s remember that the parents know our students better than we do. Let’s be open from the beginning — the good and the not so good, so that when there is an issue that needs tended to, we are all in it together as a team, not two opposing parties.
Both sides are guilty in making false assumptions about the other. Parents, you tend to think that your child’s teacher is “out to get” your child. It is easy for you to assume that the teacher is judging your child and not understanding him at all. However, in truth, teachers have to have great love and compassion for children and families and want to help them in order to be in this career.
And teachers, let’s quit with the mindset that parents don’t care about their kids and their academics. Can we just trust that all of our families do have school as a top priority in their child’s life, and remember the hard truth is that some parents have to choose work for their family to survive. When the family is not surviving, education cannot be a priority.
We’re in this together, so why don’t we both meet in the middle. Let’s be open and honest from the beginning, stay in constant communication throughout the entire school year, talk about the good and the bad, and do whatever it takes to work together every step of the way.