the center of parental involvement in children's education
is a working parent-school partnership that includes positive
Today, parents play an integral role in schools, particularly
public schools. Parents' participation in their children's
education is driven by financial dictates, by legal mandates
in the form of school councils and by research showing that
parental involvement makes a difference in children's educational
successes. Assisting in classrooms and the school library,
supervising children on the playground and organizing supplemental
educational activities have been added to the more traditional
despite increased parental involvement, parents' roles still
are not clearly defined in many schools, and parent-teacher
relationships often remain challenging for both parties. Here
are some steps you can take to build a positive working relationship
with your child's teacher:
the stage. Introduce yourself to your child's teacher
as soon as possible.
the teacher whatever you believe is important for him
or her to know about your child. Teachers usually welcome
the teacher know that you are available and open to talking
about your child and any issues that may arise. Find out
the best time for contacting the teacher if you have questions
school functions, such as back-to-school gatherings and
curriculum presentations. This lets teachers know that
you are interested and that you care about your child's
to help the teacher on a regular basis, with a special
project or on a field trip. This supports the teacher,
involves you with your child's educational experiences
and gives you a chance to see 'education in action.' With
a bit of creativity, working parents can carve out a role
for themselves, supporting classroom activities outside
regular school hours.
aware of the many challenges teachers face today as they
manage changing educational practices, full-inclusion
models and increased parental involvement. Be open-minded
and learn about new educational practices. Ask questions,
attend school-sponsored informational events, talk with
other parents and do some related reading. This allows
you to have informed opinions and connect with your child's
When there's a problem:
concerns as they arise.
aside a mutually acceptable time to discuss concerns.
Try not to solve problems that deserve careful attention
'on the run' (such as at drop-off or pick-up time).
you request a meeting, briefly state your reason to the
teacher so he or she can prepare. You should expect similar
consideration if the teacher raises a concern.
yourself clearly and calmly, using 'I' messages (rather
than accusatory 'you' messages) when talking with a teacher.
Describing situations and being specific often lead to
mutual understanding and clear strategies for moving ahead.
is common for two people to have different perspectives on
the same situation. When this happens, it is important not
to give up. Remember, in most cases, your child's teacher
is trying to do the best he or she can. If necessary, the
school principal or guidance counselor should be available
to assist you.
These few steps can go a long way toward fostering open and
respectful parent-teacher communication and enriching your