The Home/School Connection
“It is important to visit your child’s classroom,” says Woodbury. “Get to know the teacher. Talk to your child about what’s going on at school.”
“I love for parents to come to my classroom,” says fifth grade teacher, Dawn Letterie of Winthrop, MA. “Here they get familiar with the curriculum. Things are different today than when we were in school. It’s much more innovative.”
But unscheduled visits can be disruptive. “It’s not helpful when a parent just shows up,” Letterie explains.
Many parents want to volunteer in the classroom, but each school district has a different policy for volunteering. Check with the school administrator or the superintendent’s office in your community for this information.
Letterie says, “In my classroom my greatest need is for parent volunteers to read with the kids, work with them in small groups, and help them with math.” She adds that parents who offer to come in but do not show up can be a big problem; “If I’m counting on a parent’s help and she doesn’t come, a project could fall apart.”
One of the most important parent/school connections is the assessment conferences teachers schedule twice a year. It is during these meetings that school work is examined and a child’s performance evaluated.
“Please don’t bring younger children along to parent/teacher conferences,” Letterie urges. “We may end up paying more attention to that child than the student.”
And when there is a conflict in the classroom, parents should address the issue with the teacher directly before meeting the principal. “When there is a problem, go right to the source, then follow the chain of command.” Letterie offers.
School is A Workplace
Parents should have a clear understanding of how the school functions and respect the rules and regulations. Administrative staff members are not likely to interrupt learning time to relay personal messages from home, accept forgotten lunches and homework or remind children of after school appointments.
Nor should parents plan to visit their children at the playground during recess or in the cafeteria at lunch. Doe proposes that parents commit to partnering with schools and teachers. A note of support and thanks for taking on the awesome responsibility of educating our children is a great way to seal this deal and start the year off on the right foot.