“One of my first conferences as a student teacher, this parent introduces herself to my cooperating teacher and I, then turns to me and says, ‘Now how long are you here for? Because I have to be honest, the kids don’t really like you.’”– Rachael, 23
As with most relationships, disagreements between people sometimes lead to resentment. It is reasonable to assume that incongruities between a parent and teacher may more than likely have a significant impact on the student.
Though a natural bond exists between parents and their children, the safeguarding stance of a teacher creates a comparable affiliation, almost tantamount to those shared in the parent-child relationship. This notion strongly suggests that the affinity between these two important adults in a student’s life, can have a huge effect on their achievement and well-being.
Next to parents, teachers spend the most time with school-aged children (Hall, 2009). During the course of a school day, the student spends close to an equal amount of their waking hours between the teacher and their parents. Understanding how the relationship between them affects the student, is vital to deciphering how much emphasis should be invested into promoting the comradery between them.
Like the home, school cultures with respect to the learning communities aim to support a sense of belonging for learners. To each student, an effective academic environment is one where a sense of community synonymous to those felt at home exists. It is therefore crucial that a positive relationship is promoted between the teacher and parent to create the solid and consistent flow of support system for the student.
The following factors delve deeper into the reasons why parents and teachers should maintain a positive partnership:
- A positive relationship between parents and teachers leads to the development of a growth mindset fostered towards supporting student success.
- Parents and teachers both have a mutual goal of ensuring student success. When they plan and work together, the student is able to benefit from a balanced background fostering the growth necessary for academic attainment.
- The home and school become reciprocal extensions of each other, ensuring a holistic development vital to the student’s social and psychological development.
- Good communication between teacher and parent allows for a positive collaboration crucial to supporting the overall advancement of the student.
- Using the parent-teacher conference platform to develop and assess goals for the student, ensures a progressive support system tailored to the specific need of the student.
- Having parents understand and enforce classroom expectations by the teacher, promotes the opportunity for them to collaborate and be part of the school.
- Allowing parental involvement in the classroom or school events ensures that the child sees the positive connection between the two systems.
- A collaborative approach to handling student behaviour between a teacher and parent, ensures an effective system for the student.
- A positive relationship between the special education teacher and parent fosters effective assessments, provisions and supports necessary for student
In all, as in other relationships, both parties should leave room for disagreements as was wisely penned by V.V. Rozanov, in the 1890 book-Literary Exiles, “friendship lies in contradiction and not in agreement." If disagreements should occur between a parent and teacher, both parties should take solace in that the differences are borne out of a mutual interest in assuring the student’s success.
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About the author
Kathy Ogundokun is an international educator and researcher, with vast experience in teaching, curriculum design, teacher trainning, school quality assurance and special education. Most importantly, she is a married mother of five beautiful, young children. Kathy earned her Doctorate degree in Education Leadership from Trident International University, California, the USA in 2012. She graduated (magna cum laude), with a Master’s in Education, from Touro University, California, USA and a BSc in Economics prior to that. Kathy is licensed in the UK with QTS, in Texas as a School Principal, Teacher in Special Education, ESL and Early Childhood through 4th grade Generalist. In the UAE, she is KHDA approved as a School Principal. Kathy’s has served as an educator in the USA, UK, Egypt and the UAE, with research experience in the UK, US and Canada. She is currently collaborating with a special education expert, on “inclusion” across three different countries. When not working, Kathy enjoys travelling, reading and trying out new eateries.