Involving Parents When a person makes the decision to pursue a career in the educational field, they start to become more and more interested in finding ways to involve the parents into their child’s education. A teacher’s goal is to be a great educator and for the student to enjoy learning. Most teachers would like to be the one that students look back on and wish that their current teacher was more like. Elementary teachers could make the homework more like games but high school teachers have a more difficult task in keeping the teenagers interested and content about the homework given to them.
While teaching at an elementary level, teachers want their students to be able to continue their learning at home in a more relaxed environment with the help of their own parents. There are many great answers to some of the main questions that come along with being a new teacher such as: How parents could help continue their child’s learning process at home? How to encourage parents to have fun with their child while still learning? And how to keep parents informed of their child’s needs and improvements in the classroom?
There are many ideas on how parents could continue their child’s education at home. The home is the child’s safe haven and can be a more relaxed environment. “First year teacher, Katy Goldman from Arizona, believes that children learn best ‘when given the opportunity to taste, feel, see, hear, manipulate, discover, sing, and dance their way through learning. ’” (Education Oasis, 2005). Teachers would agree that it is easier for this type of learning to take place in the home rather than the school because of certain regulations, time restraints, and school finances.
Some children require more supervision and attention to benefit from a school experience. Online grading systems are services that allow teachers to keep up with students’ grades, attendances, and assignments. It also allows parents to securely get information about their child’s performance or homework. Some systems are set up so that teachers can email parents when grades are entered or parents can email the teacher regarding any assignment or grade. Parents and students are allowed access to this information anytime of the day.
This stops the late night phone calls to other students or the teacher with questions of the work due the next day. It is an easier way to keep parents involved in their child’s education without the hassle of having parent-teacher conferences. “A teacher, Margie Robinson, helped her students and their parents by setting up a homework and classroom Web site. On this site the parents could access the homework and project schedule. ” (Education Oasis, 2005).
When parents are kept in the circle and have access to this information, it helps to get the work turned in on time and also gets checked for errors. When parents and teachers utilize online services like Robinson, the amount of missing assignments will decrease over time. Another way to keep the learning going is television. Nick Junior is a great way to start the education process for young children. It is considered to be preschool on television. People believe that babies are too young to the educational points just yet but they soon will comprehend it and love to learn.
Parents should not let the television take the place of helping their child or using the television as a babysitter but when the child has gotten their work done and is granted television time, they should watch more educational shows that promote learning and problem solving. “Successful first year teachers say parental involvement in education- at home and in the classroom- is vital to effective learning and discipline” (Education Oasis, 2005). Early childhood educators want to assign more of a family oriented project or homework.
A project that a father and son could build together or displays that a mother and daughter could design together are great ideas to bring the family together and instill creativity and have fun while doing so. Another way to keep things fun and interesting would be to have a reading group where kids and parents could get together with friends and take turns reading all sorts of different books. Some teachers hold a Project Planner Night. “So many of our parents want to help their children but often they are unsure of what to do or they do not have the funds to support their projects.
By providing this opportunity, we are working as a team –teachers and parents- to provide success for the students” (Bafile, 2008). This night provides all the craft materials for the assignment and clarification on the exact regulations of the assignment. The children can give each other ideas and this makes a positive affect on their creativity. On how to keep the parents informed of their child’s progress, Raegan Peacock, a new third grade teacher, explained how she corresponds with the students’ parents. She has recently started doing weekly progress reports.
She tries to focus on their attributes and praise their accomplishments but she also has to discuss problem areas such as weaknesses and where the child needs improvement. Keeping a log of every occasion of misbehavior would be beneficial. Behavior logs are critical when advising the parents on how to change their child’s habits. The logs must be detailed so that the parent can recognize patterns and find a proper solution. Monthly newsletters are another informative way to help the parents. Newsletters show upcoming topics and project due dates. They could also show upcoming birthdays and field trips.
A newsletter could give examples for activities, test taking skills to practice, and critical thinking that students could work on at home. Keeping the parents involved is tough because most have other children that need the same attention or they have day jobs with heavy workloads themselves and just want to relax when home. To be a parent is to put your children above yourself and all else. Everyone should want and encourage their child to succeed in everything they do. To be a teacher is basically the same but they should want success for every child they encounter in their career.
An open school night is also a good idea. It lays the foundation for a strong relationship with parents. It is apparent that when the parents attend events, such as open school night, they are genuinely concerned about their child’s education. When a teacher takes the time for a five to ten minute demonstration of a typical school day, the parents have a better grasp on the level of education their child is on and where they need help maintaining that level. The demonstration should show the reading program, students’ expectations, and the type of work and interactions the students have in the classroom.
The National PTA suggests a Take Your Family to School Week to bring the parents into the school. “Take Your Family to School Week coincides with PTA Founder’s Day. It commemorates the day in 1897 when the PTA began its work of encouraging parent involvement in children’s education” (Hopkins, 2008). Day ideas include Valentine’s Day lunch, career and job fair, game night, and family versus faculty sporting events. All these day ideas are interesting and a fun way to spend time with family and a good way for parents to get to know the teachers and faculty.
Keeping the parents involved is to the upmost importance. When children know their parents are watching and showing concern about their progress, they strive for higher grades. The students seem to complete all their coursework, enroll in more advanced classes, start setting life goals, and participate in more extra curricular activities that enhance learning. These activities include participation in clubs, athletics, music, church groups, and community service. When parents are involved, children are more likely going to avoid negative behavior such as drugs, fights, or giving into peer pressure.
When teachers keep the parents involved, the parents show more appreciation and support to the teacher. Parents also feel a new appreciation for the commitment and skills of their child’s teacher. All parents should take time for their children. Parents should not leave it up to public or private schools to teach and raise their children. Parents can make a difference in their child’s ability and want to learn. Parents should continue the learning process at home, make homework and projects fun, and keep up to date on their child’s behavior and progress in the classroom.
References Bafile, C. (2008). ‘Planner Nights’ for Parents to Give Students a Jump on Projects. Retrieved on May 1, 2010, from http://www. educationworld. com/a_admin/partners/partners065. shtml Education Oasis. (2010). Working with Parents: Advice from Teachers. Retrieved May 1, 2010, from http://www. educationoasis. com/resources/Articles/working_with_parents. html Hopkins, G. (2008). Ten Ideas for a Successful Take Your Family to School Week Retrieved May 1, 2010, from http://www. educationworld. com/a_admin/admin/admin509. shtml