Handicap This Productions gladly welcomes guest blogger Anshawn M. Ivery, an intervention specialist at Entrepreneurship Preparatory School. Anshawn’s passion for education and more importantly his passion for his students easily prove noticeable. Beyond teaching Anshawn holds certifications as a bullying prevention trainer and leadership coach. Today Anshawn focuses on an educational aspect relevant to all students, IEP or not.
When you think about education or learning environments, what is the first thing that comes to mind? If you say school, teachers, and students you are almost correct. The missing element to this picture is the parental aspect. Parents play an important role in their student’s learning environment and overall academic well-being.
Learning environments are typically represented in a triangle with the corners being family, school and community. The student goes in the triangle’s center. Unfortunately, parents are often “absent” from their student’s learning environment until a situation arises. These relationships are proven to be ineffective. The ineffectiveness of this relationship breaks down the student success triangle. Keeping parents involved and active in their student’s learning environment is essential. Below are a few strategies teachers can utilize to build parent-to-teacher relationships and resultantly improve a student’s chance to succeed.
Collecting Student Information
Collect student information early and often. Starting on the first day of school it is imperative to retrieve information including all forms of communication with the parent/guardian. Due to the frequent transitions in urban environments it is equally important to gather said data often.
Scheduling One-on-One Time
Schedule a one-on-one time for each student and parent/guardian. Setting aside time to meet with families (whether in the school, home, or local establishment) shows for one that you have a desire to get to know each student and their family in your class. Secondly, this allows you to set the tone for the year with the family by sharing your expectations. Also allow the family to say what they expect from you as the teacher. Although these one-on-one times should be done in person, phone or web interaction (for instance Skype) is okay. However, THIS IS NOT AN APPROPRIATE TIME FOR E-MAIL!
Keep communication constant. Find the communication method that works best for the parent and use this regularly to keep in touch. Use this for more than the negative. Talk positive, upcoming events, or just a check in.
Have an Open Door Policy
Keep an open door. Invite the parents to come in and visit your class. Additionally invite them to events that are happening around the school.
Ultimately having served as parent-teacher organization advisor, I can assure you that parents want to be involved. On the other hand, they may not be so apt to jump right in. Therefore, it is important that you as the teacher initiate the relationship. Open the lines of communication and ensure the parent that you welcome their support and feedback. As a teacher you will notice the more the parent is involved, the less negative incidents you have with the student. Therefore building that relationship early is essential to creating and developing a healthy academic year.