What are the 5 Ways in which teachers can partner with parents?

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What are the 5 Ways in which teachers can partner with parents?

Partnering at school is an excellent option for teachers to begin getting parents involved in their child’s learning, especially in the elementary grades and where the classroom teacher may need extra assistance. The best way to ensure parental involvement is through encouragement and a warm approach from the teacher. The attitudes and actions of the school outweigh any barriers or even previous volunteer experience. Here are some specific ways you can partner with parents in school.

  1. ACADEMIC Activities: Because of the multiple ways a parent may help out in the school, setting up volunteer opportunities at the beginning of the year can be very advantageous to the teacher. Offer a variety of ongoing jobs a parent could do in the classroom or school setting.
  • Tutoring –Parents who enjoy working with children as well as those who are former teachers can be a terrific educational support to the classroom teacher. Following a tutoring session, the parent might fill out an evaluation sheet for the teacher’s record.
  • Listener-Many kids don’t get the opportunity to read aloud to an adult at home. This may be a perfect job for someone who wants to work with the students, but doesn’t feel competent in leading a small group or tutoring a student. The listener can listen to a passage being read, model reading the passage first- then listen, or take turns reading. As the parent gets more comfortable, they may be trained on how to encourage expressive reading, improve fluency or check for comprehension.
  • Career Day volunteer –Parents who work in different professional fields might be given the opportunity to be part of a classroom where lessons relating to their particular profession are to be discussed. It may also make sense to have a career day where parents working in various fields come and share with the students about their particular area of expertise.

 CREATIVE Activities: Creativity often makes learning more interesting and parents who are talented in this area are often a huge help to the teacher. Creative idea suggestions can include:

  • Bulletin Board –An artistic or creative parent might enjoy working on a bulletin board. Give the parent the theme and the main idea of what you would like displayed. Provide the necessary supplies.
  • Camera or Video –Some parents may step into a role of classroom historian or camera person; this can add some extra fun to the educational atmosphere and increase a team feeling in the classroom. A parent may even splice photos and videos together and put them to music to an end of the year celebration.

 SOCIAL Activities: Many parents may not be able to help out during standard school hours because of family or work responsibilities. They may, however, be able to attend evening activities put on by the school. By planning a classroom event or a class trip in the evening, a parent may be able to assist. This can be a success even if it’s a one off occasion.

  • Party Planners and Helpers –Give parents organizing class celebrations specific guidelines for party rules, themes, and expectations. Each school district has its own set of rules for school parties and the parents involved in the planning must be informed. Also many teachers have preferences on what is acceptable. State your thoughts before the parent begins working on the event.
  • Field Trips –Some parents may be able to help out with field trips or visits to businesses, industries or occupational experiences. A survey of parents who work at different places and their interests in being part of such visits might be conducted so that the teacher can plan out the class year with visits according to the parent availability.

SUPPORT Activities: Parents can also lend assistance as part of the teacher’s or school support system. Here are some possibilities:

  • Equipment and Supplies – Inventory, cleaning, and organizing of supplies and materials are all time consuming jobs. A parent who is gifted in organization is the perfect person to use in this role. Do some quick training in how to fill out the inventory sheet or how to clean special equipment.
  • Clerical Work: Preparing files, organizing projects, submitting book orders, field trip permission slips, and collecting money may be done by a parent. Check with the administrator for district protocol and guidelines before assigning these types of jobs to a parent as some schools do not allow parent volunteers to interact with student data. For example, it is never recommended to have parents enter grades. It is best to save this job for yourself.
  • Portfolios: Many teachers keep weekly or semester student portfolios to share at conferences or send home at the end of the week. Keeping up with them can be time consuming. Assigning a parent to come in once a week and stuff the folders may free up a lot of teacher prep time.

 Parent LEADERSHIP: Though a parent’s participation in the classroom and at home is a valuable form of partnering, some parents have the time and abilities to work in positions with more influence. This could include roles like Lead Classroom Parent, PTA or PTO President, Chairman, Special Event Coordinator, or sitting on the Education Advisory Council. Parents who are interested in these types of positions are generally fairly comfortable in an educational setting. They usually invest heavily in the job, take their responsibilities very seriously and have a high sense of ownership.

As you start implementing these strategies, remember that a welcome letter can be seen as a warm gesture from the teacher and can also give the parent an open invitation to partnering. Parents are more likely to want participate in the school if they feel part of the team and this can be done by, the school making attempts to provide a welcoming atmosphere. Signs that point to the office, a place to sign in, name badges, and a warm, courteous greeting by the office staff all say to the parent, “We are glad you are here.” With all types of volunteering, sending a thank you note is a great way to show appreciation.

Like this article for teachers?

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