What is the most important relationship to build as the school year starts?
On NBC’s Parent Toolkit blog today, check out my article. Here’s how it begins…
“Hi, Mrs. Miller!” I exclaimed as I bumped into my son’s beloved teacher from the past school year at a summer festival. “E was hoping we might see you.” I said. “He barely said hello to me,” she unexpectedly responded with a smile. “He quickly averted his eyes and walked away.” It reminded me of how I felt when I ran into my teacher outside of school as a child. Teachers possessed a certain aura about them that was part celebrity, part judge and jury and part parent. And we tend to carry those feelings with us into adulthood, making conversations with them, at times, awkward and uncomfortable. And if we were scolded by teachers in our youth, (“Jennifer talks too much.”) then we may even feel judged or accused going into the relationship and proceed with a high level of caution.
Yet we know our relationship with our children’s teachers are critical. The biggest predictor of their achievement in school is not family income level or natural ability, but the level of involvement of parents. Children whose parents are involved in supporting learning at home and engaged in the school community have more consistent attendance, better social skills and higher grade point averages and test scores, according to school-family partnership researchers Anne Henderson and Karen Mapp. So we understand the critical nature of parents’ roles with children’s school and learning. But how can parents communicate most effectively with teachers? Read the full article.