Unlocking Success: The Parent-Teacher Partnership that Powers Progress
Editor’s Note: In celebration of Kentucky Family Engagement Week, NCFL invited 2020 Toyota Family Teacher of the Year Leila Kubesch to share her perspective on the importance of the teacher/parent relationship and how parents can begin to create those connections.
Ever found yourself hesitating at the school gates, wondering if your presence truly makes a difference? In the spirit of this week’s focus on promoting and celebrating parental involvement in their child’s education, let me share a personal journey that might resonate with you. Not so long ago, I stood where many parents stand today—unsure about stepping into the world of parent/teacher conferences. My hesitancy stemmed from unfamiliarity with the U.S. schooling system, making me question my potential contribution. But everything shifted when I embraced the world of education.
Now, with 26 years of teaching behind me, I’ve observed a consistent pattern: When parents transition from passive observers to active partners, the entire learning environment is supercharged. Your involvement is the secret sauce to your child’s success. If you’re seeking a deeper connection with your child’s school experience, here’s your roadmap.
1. Foster Genuine Teacher Connections Early
Meeting your child’s teacher at the beginning of the school year does more than exchange formalities. It establishes a foundational relationship. Dive deeper—discuss your child’s aspirations, strengths, or any challenges they face. Such details provide teachers invaluable context to guide and motivate your child throughout the year.
2. Share Your Unique Perspective
Each of us carries a wealth of experiences and skills. Picture this: a parent, skilled in photography, once elevated a routine class project into a memorable experience. Your personal touch, whatever it may be, can similarly enrich the school community.
3. Stay Connected and Curious
Kids sometimes omit mentioning the exciting new school activities or clubs. Regular interaction with teachers ensures you’re always on top of such opportunities, providing the necessary support and encouragement your child may need.
4. Prioritize Clear Conversations
I recall an instance when a student mentioned a prolonged absence, later revealing it was due to a family tragedy. Big life changes are better communicated directly by parents. Such open exchanges ensure teachers are equipped to offer appropriate support.
5. Embrace Flexible Communication
In our digital age, staying connected has never been easier. If traditional meetings don’t suit, propose an alternate time or even a digital catch-up. The key is maintaining an open dialogue, however that looks.
6. Transform Teacher Interactions into Growth Opportunities
Engage in teacher interactions with these pillars in mind:
- Regular Check-ins: Understand their preferred communication method and offer yours.
- Current Details: Always keep contact information updated.
- Home Learning Strategies: Discuss methods to enrich learning at home.
- Lend a Helping Hand: Explore ways you can contribute to the classroom or school activities.
- Encourage Curiosity: Foster a culture of asking if things seem unclear.
- Show Gratitude: Teachers play a monumental role in our children’s lives. Consider how you can ease their journey.
7. Celebrate the Power of Teamwork
Your child’s educational journey isn’t a solo endeavor. It’s a harmonious dance between parents and educators. Your involvement, no matter how big or small, signals to your child a profound message: you deeply value their education. This connection, this vested interest, goes way beyond the daily, “How was school today?” It tells them you’re invested, you care, and you’re with them every step of the way.
Your role in your child’s education isn’t just as a spectator—it’s as a vital team member. Dive in, participate, and witness how your active involvement can shape your child’s future success. And remember, every step you take, every query you make, every effort you put forth makes a world of difference. Let’s champion our children’s success, hand in hand.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Leila Kubesch, the 2020 Toyota Family Teacher of the Year, stands at the forefront of educational change. As the visionary founder of Parents2Partners, she has dedicated her efforts to strengthening family-school ties. With a passion for education innovation, Leila frequently shares her insights as a speaker, inspiring many with her pioneering approach.
Learn about Leila’s work.