We usually think of schools as places for young people to learn through lessons taught by their teachers and through their interactions with peers. We often forget one of the most important factors in children’s learning: the relationship between parents and teachers. Having an effective relationship between these two groups of people can help learners achieve more. However, this is not often the case in the real world. Tension can often rise between home and school especially when parents feel that their kids are failing, not improving, being bullied or being ignored. Teachers sometimes feel that parents are not doing enough to help with their students academically, or that they just simply are not on the same page.
How can these issues be solved?
Setting the same goals
It is important for both sides to make each other realise that they have the children’s welfare and success in mind. There may be times when they disagree on certain issues such as disciplinary sanctions or grades/ marks, but it is important to keep in mind that they are both trying to reach the same goal.
Parents should be made aware of the school’s behaviour policies and academic expectations of the schools. In the case of students with Special Educational Needs, parents should be included in planning, implementing and monitoring of any interventions that would affect their children.
Schools should have an Open-Door Policy, wherein parents are allowed to contact the school if they have any querries or concerns regarding their children’s social and/ or academic welfare. Both teachers and parents should be open to suggestions and criticism
. Having effective and frequent communication can help bridge the gap between home and school, as learning occurs and should continue in both settings.
Communication can also help schools understand the background of the students. Factors such as family, socioeconomic status, cultural expectations and peers can all impact on students’ learning, and having a better knowledge of these can help put things into a different perspective. Let me elaborate. Students who are misbehaving or underachieving are often labelled as naughty, lazy or just plain bad. Knowing students’ circumstances (e.g. if their parents have recently been separated or they have recently experienced bereavement, etc.), could change their teachers’ perspectives of them, which could eventually result in a better plan for helping them.
On the other hand, parents would be able to know how their kids behave (good or bad) in school if they are in contact with the teachers regularly. They would be able to monitor progress or decline in both behaviour and academics, and would be able to offer (and receive) help and advise to the school.
Have an Open Mind
Communication and goal setting would only work if both parties set their egos aside and develop an open mind. I know this is easier said that done, but unless you are prepared to see the students suffer, try and accept the other person’s points of view.
Both parties must trust each other’s judgements and opinions. Teachers are trained professionals whilst parents are the experts with regards to their kids. They will disagree with one another but respect should be exercises throughout. When you’re getting wound up, bite your toungue!
Interventions and teaching styles will not always work perfectly, therefore both parties should be open to changing their ways.