Among teachers today, one of the bigger frustrations has to do with the level of parental support. Many teachers are visibly and emotionally shaken by parents who make it clear that they do not want to be bothered about issues such as missing homework, behavior problems, or even academic concerns. These parents' message to the school is clear: it is your job to educate my child - not mine.
In the 39th Annual Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup Poll, taken a few years ago, parents of school-age children were asked, “In addition to being responsible for students’ education, do you think the local public schools should be responsible, or not, for dealing with the behavioral, social, and emotional needs of their students?” Sixty eight percent of public school parents responded with an unconditional “Yes.”
School administrators and teachers cannot allow parents to abrogate their responsibilities for raising their children. Any child's public school education must be a team effort - one that includes complete cooperation between the home and the school. Obviously, many parents will make it clear to their children's teachers that they want to be informed and will actively participate in the educational process. It is the school's responsibility, however, to make sure parents are kept informed by any means necessary. The following recommendations will help make for a more successful school year:
- Make arrangements to meet any parent(s) that did not attend the school's open house.
- Offer to meet the parents at a public location that is convenient for them as well as for you (local library, fast food restaurant, community center, etc.)
- Schools should offer to have their buses pick up parents for open houses or any other school-wide events. In essence, remove as many excuses as possible.
- Let parents know that a phone conversation is acceptable if a meeting cannot be arranged.
- Do not hesitate to call parents in the evening and on weekends. They need to know that you are serious about their children's education.
- Offer to help parents understand the academic material if they are willing to assist their children at home.
These are simply a few suggestions. The idea is to show parents that teachers and school administrators are willing to go the extra mile to work collaboratively on behalf of the students. The results will not only be manifested in improved student academic performances but better citizens as well.