I have written about this subject in the past but find myself coming back to it. There have been numerous posts floating around that surely do not help ease the potential tensions between teachers and parents. I felt compelled to share something new I am trying this year that directly relates to building relationships with parents. My goal this year is to bring more parents into the classroom and make them truly feel as if they are a part of the learning journey their children are on.
As a parent to a preschooler and kindergartner my perspective of parents has changed. In the past I honestly viewed them simply as people I had to talk to 2-3 times a year at parent night and our two conference nights. As a parent myself, I see the immense flaw in that thinking. I want to be involved in any way I can with my son’s learning. That is not to say I want to be a “helicopter” parent hovering and putting my hand in everything. However, I do want the opportunity to feel like I am some part of the process rather than just a bystander.
With those thoughts in mind, I am starting a “parents in the classroom” initiative this year. I will create times where parents can come into my classroom and partake in learning activities with their child. Credit for this idea is certainly not mine as many already do this. I regularly attend such days with my own children in their classrooms which is what inspired me to do the same. The students I teach are 6th graders and parents are certainly not used to such opportunities as they are not the norm. My first such day will be this coming week where parents will be mummifying bodies and building pyramids with their children in class. When I first sent the invite out to parents it was met with a mixture of surprise and relief. Many parents replied with their delight that a junior high teacher would invite parents into the classroom and relished the chance to take even a relatively small role in classroom activities.
I firmly believe that building relationships is key to success in so many facets of teaching. In order to truly be successful with a student, you first need a relationship. By bringing parents in to the classroom and telling them I value their involvement, I am hoping to build those relationships with them. My hope is to have these days at least once a month where the parents get to come in, learn with their child, and possibly embarrass them a bit as well… J