By Teachers, For Teachers
Why is it so hard to use classroom management to get some parents involved in their child’s education? This is a question that many teachers face during the school year. You have some parents that are there for everything, then you have the other parents whom you never seem to be able to get ahold of. What is holding them back? There are many reasons why you may find it hard to use classroom management to get parents involved in their child’s education. First of all, parents’ time is limited. They may have work obligations, after-school activities, custody agreements, or it may just be the increasing demands of family life. Second, many parents don’t really understand the true value they have of being an involved parent. As a child, their parents may have not been involved in their education, and that is all they know. Some parents have different cultural backgrounds or have had a negative experience when they were in school, which can hinder them from seeing the true benefits of being involved for their children. Lastly, some parents may be reluctant to get involved because they don’t want to interfere or have had a previous bad experience with the school system. Whatever the case may be, there are a few classroom management options that you can use to get parents more involved in your classroom.
The first thing that you have to do is to make it easy for the parents to get involved. Parents are busy people, and their time is limited. Between their work schedules and whatever else that they have going on in their lives, it can be difficult to find the time to get involved in their child’s schooling. Make it easy by working around their schedule. Send home a letter, a quick email, or a text asking parents their availability for the school year. Make it clear that they can be involved at their own convenience. For the parents who have very limited availability, offer them a task that they can do at home or in their spare time. Something like updating the class website, planning a party, or even making a simple craft are all easy ways for parents to get involved. Finding tasks that work around a parent’s schedule makes it easy for them to be involved, and also benefits those parents who don’t feel comfortable coming into the classroom, but who still want to be involved.
The more flexible you are, the more options you give parents, the more opportunities these parents will have to get involved in their child’s education. With recent studies showing that people today only have a few spare minutes throughout their day because of their busy schedules, being flexible and setting up volunteer opportunities makes it easy for parents to get involved. Work together with the parents to figure out when and how their help is needed. No matter how busy a parent may be, setting up volunteer opportunities early on in the year will guarantee that a parent can schedule in some time, regardless if it’s just for a day here or there or for the entire school year.
Parents don’t just need to be involved in school, but there are many things they can do at home to show their children the importance of learning and education. They can speak with their child about their school day and what’s going on, check and help with homework nightly, read to their child or listen to them read to them, discuss books that they are reading or the child is reading, and of course get them to bed early on school nights. All of these things show children that their parent care for them and that school is valued at home.
Partnering with parents is just as important as academically teaching your students the important concepts they need to succeed in school. If you lay the groundwork and get parents involved at the beginning of the school year, then you will be setting your students up for a successful year. Remember, parents are more likely to want to want to participate when they feel the school is welcoming, and they are valued. So make sure that you use a kind-hearted approach and that you are flexible with their schedules.
How do you get parents involved? Do you have any classroom management tips that you would like to share? Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comment section below, we would love to hear what you have to say.
Janelle Cox is an education writer who uses her experience and knowledge to provide creative and original writing in the field of education. Janelle holds Masters of Science in Education from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. She is a contributing writer to TeachHUB.com, TeachHUB Magazine, and Hey Teach. She was also the Elementary Education Expert for About.com for five years. You can follow her on Twitter @Empoweringk6ed, on Facebook at Empowering K6 Educators, or contact her at Janellecox78@yahoo.com.