When students in my classroom knows their parents and I will be supporting each other in their education, they are much more likely to be committed to their own education.
Quite a few of my students come into my class believing they are performing for me in isolation from their parents. When they realize their parents and I are in constant contact, they take a more serious look at their own academic achievement.
Solid and adaptable relationships with parents and guardians are necessary in order to build strong schools. Community and strong partnerships are not just buzzwords to be touted in order to achieve student success but rather, identify a way of life for students to reach their potential and go from good to great.
Teachers, parents, and students make a strong triangle of strength—and all three points are necessary in order for each participant to be successful. Students need to see a strong connection between their teachers and their parents in order to know that everyone involved is working toward the same goal: student success.
When students know that teachers and parents are communicating openly and honestly they understand that there is a safe environment created where they can thrive.
Research supports this strong triangle. In their book Beyond the Bake Sale, (Henderson, Mapp, Johnson, Davis, 2007), Henderson and Mapp found that when parents are involved, children from all backgrounds tend to:
Earn higher grades and test scores Enroll in higher-level education programs Be promoted and earn credits Adapt well to school and attend regularly Have better social skills and behavior Graduate and go on to higher education.
In my own 15 years of teaching experience, I have found that discipline decreases when parents are actively involved in their child’s education process.
Over the years, I’ve also found that involving parents isn’t just something I should do, but something that I must do if I want my students to succeed. Parents are much more likely to be supportive when they realize that I genuinely care about their child’s success and am not just there to keep the child in line.
Not only do I find it beneficial for all concerned to be connected to a student’s education, but teaching is so much more enjoyable when I feel supported by parents.
This support makes it much easier to do my job and cuts down my classroom management issues because students a) know that I’m on their side and b) know their parents are on board with my classroom policies. With classroom management not being an issue, I can use my entire class time to focus on student achievement.
With our students’ academic future in our hands, teachers cannot afford to work in isolation from the communities and parents.
Now more than ever it is important, as a middle-school teacher, to find ways to include parents in their child’s education. Student-led conferences tend to bring more parents in to celebrate their students’ successes.
Positive phone calls and emails home early in the school year go a long way in making parents feel included. Web pages that are friendly and easy to use in order to keep parents up to date are a necessity with today’s technology.
With our students’ academic future in our hands, teachers cannot afford to work in isolation from the communities and parents. It definitely takes a village to best support children.
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Tammie Schrader is a Science and CTE teacher at Cheney Middle School, Cheney, WA. Mrs. Schrader is a 2013 Hope Street Group National Fellow (HSG). She is also a 2013-2014 National Science Foundation Researcher for implementing video games into curriculum, as well as a 2008-2009 Department of Education National Fellow. Mrs. Schrader teaches science methods at Gonzaga University and is a member of the Science Assessment Leadership Team for the state of Washington. TakePart.com