We had a parents evening today and a number of teachers were on song in the hall talking to parents and students about progress and next steps. The eager students who were jostling to go see their favourite subject were mingling with the not so eager ones who just wanted the evening to get out of the way.
Talking to parents and observing some of the conversations in the hall, it was quite clear that parents put in a huge amount of trust in our abilities to do the best for their children. Sometimes in the bigger scheme of things, the value of this trust gets out of focus and we end up concentrating on learning, targets, attainment, pastoral, progress and all the other buzzwords. But for the parents, the value of that trust always remains.
Now one may argue that all the above are parts of us valuing that trust but how do we instil that trust and make parents believe that we have their child's best interest at heart? Parents want to feel valued and respected by teachers. They want teachers that genuinely care about teaching. They want teachers that raise the standards and have high expectation for ALL children and not just the eager ones mentioned above.
I am sure you have overheard or been part of a conversation about a student who does not work at home. The parents end up with the responsibility/blame to co-teach at home and more often then not, they don't have a clue on how to go about this. We end up projecting our failure to connect with the student onto others.
The key lies in communication between teachers and parents. Traditional systems of reports, parents evenings, odd phone calls are archaic. Modern systems such as access to School information management systems and student data are also redundant as the onus is on parents to regularly check it and teachers to regularly update it. Both can go amiss at times.
So how do we go about it?
Well our school is trying. We are setting up a team of parents and teachers to help solve this problem and actively pursue a mutually satisfying result. Governors are getting involved in setting this up an perhaps getting students onboard would be quite useful too. Perhaps all aspects of home school communication needs to be looked upon and a clear protocol needs to be established and followed to ensure that the trust in embedded deeply. If you get your parents onboard and students realising that there are adults who care for them then a successful environment for learning will be established
In the end, rightly so parents only have their children that they focus upon whereas a teacher has the whole class to look out for. Without getting the parents onboard, ensuring every student succeeds is a monumental task indeed.
If you want to know of how our systems work and our plans to overhaul the area of home school communication, contact me on Twitter or pop a comment below.
I am Sunny Thakral. If you are here on the site then you know a bit about me. If not then I am a teacher and these are my musings. Hope you enjoy them.