One of my goals entering this new school year is to improve the teacher/parent relationship. After 15 years of teaching I have met many wonderful supporting parents, but I have to admit my view on parents has been tarnished by the few less than capable parents that I have encountered during that time. So I here is what I will pledge to all parents this coming school year.
- I will acknowledge that you know your son/daughter better than I do. I only have your child for 45 min a day. Granted, I see them in a different social context that you do, you actually have spent 11-12 years with them and you probably have more in depth knowledge of what they are like. I will use your insight to better help your son/daughter.
- As a student you have experienced many years of the education system and it may have been a negative and or positive experience and many of your fears and expectations are based on that. What you need the most is all the facts and information. The more information I can give you, the better you can make decisions. I will give you all the information about policies, procedures, standards, testing, grading, resources about my class and the school.
- I will contact you more. I will give you the positive information and the negative information, preferably in that order. I will do this mostly by email, since it more efficient than phone calls and more personable than the robotic phone dialing system that our school uses. Too often what you tell students during the day is not communicated on to the parent. I need to bridge that communication gap.
- I will respond to emails in a timely manner. During a busy school day it's easy to forget that you had to respond to that parent's email. On the flip side I will pledge to not respond quickly to a negative parent email. There needs to be a cooling off period, so that I can calmly and rationally respond to a hostile email. Sometimes it requires a good night's sleep and then cooler heads will prevail.
- I will presume positive intent. I will not prejudge the parent when the son/daughter does not meet expectations. Parents, you have the most challenging job in the world and you want only what is best for your child. I always need to remember that, and you are probably 10 times more frustrated with the situation than the teacher is.
I'm sure as the year goes on that I will have to adjust my pledge, but I think that this will be a good start and hopefully will lead to some good learning.