Parents and Teachers – An Effective Partnership to Educate Kids

Both teachers and parents must possess matchless mutual responsibility to assist, educate and mold the kids to become the best versions of themselves. While teachers strive their best in a confined classroom, parents have to do their part at home, for parents can play a far fetched role in ‘building child’s self-esteem, giving them emotional support they need, and helping the students to get resources they need to build themselves. It’s rather irrational to perceive that it is the discrete responsibility of teachers to educate and mold the kids. Teachers try their best with around 30 students in a class. However, when the time they get per period is divided among the 30 students, it is not more than 1 minute a teacher can spare for any student for a day, 5 minutes a week, and 25 minutes a month. And that is where teachers need the help of parents to do some additional work on what they start in the classrooms.

Parents will definitely be ready to do anything possible for their kids. Nonetheless, parents cannot be given the complete responsibility as they are not trained like teachers. During this pandemic of Covid-19, we have seen how much parents are concerned when teachers were removed from everyday life of the students. If not impossible, it seemed really difficult for parents to ensure that the students are getting all the content knowledge they need. This is not surprising as we all know that home backgrounds of students are different. Some parents may be able to deliver content knowledge to a certain level but most of them will not be able to. This situation is always the same among parents even when it comes to just helping the students with their school work. The only solution we can resolve in such cases is parents and teachers working together as partners. 

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Undoubtedly it is both parent and teacher’s responsibility to mold a child to become the wholesome individual. It should be a team effort. A team that wants nothing but the best for the students. A team which will be ready to support the child in any viable way, educate the child and do anything to ensure the child is ready for his future. 
To build a team of teachers and parents that works towards the same motive, we need an incredibly healthy partnership between teachers and parents. As I always say, it is relationship, relationship and then also relationship which matters when it comes to any partnership. Better teacher parent relationship allows teachers to learn more about students and their background. This allows teachers to deal with the students more appropriately in different situations. Research shows that parental involvement in the learning process benefits not only students but teachers as well. Student benefits include improvement in their academic performance, behavior improvements, social competencies, social well-being and regular attendance. Parental involvement minimizes lots of teacher concerns such as behavioral problems and homework issues resulting in more time for teachers to concentrate on the teaching and learning process. Different discussions by researchers in the field have suggested various ways to establish a healthy partnership between teachers and parents. 

Two-way communication 

Two-way communication  between teachers and parents is very crucial for the success of students. From the warm smile to a long conversation exchanged between the two are equally important to have a healthy and positive relationship. A healthy relationship removes barriers between the two and allows to communicate openly about everything related to the lives of the students. 

Every individual has a vastly different perspective about educating their child and what constitutes good education. Hence it is vital for any two people involved in the life of the same individual to communicate and let each other know about their perspectives. The more information passed between the two groups the well informed both groups will be. Initiation from both teachers and parents, timelines to have regular conversations, consistency, doing regular follow ups and clarity in the messages passed are few ways to ensure that parents and teachers are connected well. 

Being respectful and warm 

Being respectful and warm  towards each other also can go a long way in creating a positive relationship between teachers and parents. Whatever mode is used to communicate, “email, text or in person”, it is important to be respectful and warm to each other. This will give a sense of welcoming and encouragement to continue the relationship.

 Contact parents with good news 

Contact parents with good news,  so that every call from the teacher will not feel like a nightmare to the parents. Now parents hesitate to pick the phone from teachers because they know that, not always but most of the time the call will be devoted to giving news of students not doing what they are supposed to do. Parents get really pleased when a teacher calls them to tell them something positive about their kid. Through such calls trust between parents and teachers becomes strong. Hence, they build a strong relationship through which both groups can contribute to the real job of developing a wholesome human.

 Parent conferences 

 Parent conferences are a strong tool teacher can use to relate to the parents. Such conferences when planned well can be used as a good platform to discuss student progress in both academic and behavior. Initially it can be intimidating for parents, so teachers can begin with positive aspects of the child and then move on to the areas which need improvement. Parents would feel happy and confident to talk about areas of improvement when strengths are recognized and talked about. By the end of the conference both parent and teacher will be able to voice out their concerns and come up with a plan they will be working together with. Such plans can be a success rather than teachers just telling parents things to be done according to their view. 

Parents and teachers need to be involved in student’s life

Parents and teachers need to be involved in student’s life if they want to impact the child’s life. Both parents and teachers are extremely busy in their personal and professional life. Yet both groups need to find time to be part of the activities students participate.   Be it a class level spelling Bee competition to a school level football tournament student’s look for their teachers and parents’ presence. According to educators ‘students whose parents are more involved in these kinds of activities happen to perform well in the activities’. 

Appreciating each other

Appreciating each other   is crucially important for a healthy relationship between teachers and parents. This is something both groups need to be mindful of and do purposely. In the parent teacher partnership both parties need to understand the fact that both will have their own unique areas of expertise. Parents are a rich source of information in students’ long-term developments including academic, behavior, social skills, interests, and even medical conditions. The teachers are experts when it comes to curriculum knowledge, school policies and child’s performance and behavior at school. To merge this knowledge parents and teachers need to collaborate well. 

Not only appreciate the knowledge expertise but both parties also need to appreciate each other as different individuals. While parents need to be talking positively about the school and teachers in front of the students, teachers also need to show respect to the parents when dealing with students. Together parents and teachers can encourage independence in students while minimizing disappointment and punishment. 

There is no doubt that parents and teachers have ‘the same goal’, to provide the best education to students. Through a positive relationship parents and teachers can work towards a common goal. Regular communication with respect and appreciation towards each other, can go a long way in building strong bonds between parents and teachers.  There is no doubt that the stronger the bond the more beneficial it will be for the students. After all it is relationships, relationships and relationships which make any partnership a successful and fruitful one.

Dr. Asiyath Mohamed Didi

About the Writer; Dr. Asiyath Mohamed Didi is the Principal of Hithadhoo School, Maldives. Her expertise include professional development, teaching and learning, leadership (especially educational leadership) and research. She is an advocate of Gender Equity, Women Empowerment, and Inclusivity.

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