A teacher needs to take a leadership role in partnering with parents. Without parents’ support children have worse academic success and less interest in their school activities. Parents should be concerned with their children’s achievements at school, and if there are some problems, they should be solved together with parents. There are many examples of successful strategies in involving parents in school life. In the following paper, I aim to discuss some of these examples from my own experience.
Although teachers have a good understanding of the importance of involving parents in their children’s educational activities, it is not always easy to engage all the parents equally (Gregory, 2003). There exists only one group of parents showing exemplary interest in the well-being of their children at school. These parents come to school, help with parents’ volunteer projects, make phone calls, etc. In the second group, parents’ enthusiasm is weaker. Their visits to the school are not regular, and their control of their children’s academic success is not overall. The third group of parents presents an even greater problem because they can be hardly met at parents’ meetings at school, and their participation in school activities is minimal. A teacher needs to demonstrate leadership qualities in engaging parents from categories two and three into the educational process.
As a preschool teacher, I utilized a variety of different methods helping me engage parents in the educational process. Firstly, a classroom newsletter helps me promote open communication between families and the school. In the classroom newsletter, I inform parents about the educational curriculum, and the list of activities they may perform to assist as in-class volunteers. Besides, I invite parents to commit to reading for enjoyment regularly as a family. This helps children in improving their literacy. Also, if it is necessary, I make home visits. This is especially timely when I work with parents from category three. Unfortunately, due to the low level of their involvement, it often happens that their children appear in complicated situations at school. While visiting such families, my goal is to encourage parents to become interested in engaging in the school life of their children. It often happens that these visits become a critical point for the significant improvements of the academic success of children from such families. Phone calls may be also used as an effective means to inform parents about the state of affairs with their children and motivate them to assist in improving the academic success of their children.
Of course, there are several barriers to working with parents. Among them are language, parents’ education level, mental health, physical health, parents’ job, relations in the family, and so on (Branson, 2011). However, all of these barriers can be successfully overcome using utilizing methods of Differentiated Parent Support. As mentioned above, there are exist three major types of parent involvement. By the concepts of Differentiated Parent Support, each type of parent involvement requires different methods of work from a teacher.
In conclusion, as the best academic results by students may be achieved only with the help of parent-teacher collaboration, a teacher needs to demonstrate leadership qualities in engaging parents in their children’s school life. An effective strategy that can be utilized for this is Differentiated Parent Support.
Branson, C.M. (2011). Educational leadership systems: Creating coherence or contestation. Szeged, Hungary: HUNSEM.
Gregory, G. (2003). Differentiated Instructional Strategies in Practice Training, Implementation, and Supervision. The United States: Corwin Press.