Sunday, June 12, 2011

Trust, Respect and Open Communication

Trust, respect and open communication are values without which educators today cannot do their work.  Parents entrust their children to the school system, to the school and ultimately to the classroom teachers but do they, the parents, really trust that the teachers will do their best in educating their child?  Unfortunately, this is not always the case.  Some parents spend time second-guessing the teacher and even undermining his or her efforts without having a real understanding of the classroom dynamics. 

Our school motto states that "I will be respectful and responsible."  Nevertheless, when our students are surveyed each year, many report that they see others acting disrespectfully or feel that they themselves are treated disrespectfully.  Where is the disconnect?  Are students learning respect where they should learn it first, i.e. in the home?  If a child learns to respect authority at home, respect for teachers and classmates will come naturally.  Furthermore, are parents teaching their children to respect the educational process when they allow their child to miss school for things such as a cousin's sporting event or an out-of-town birthday party?

Open communication is something that helps parents, teachers, administrators and students create a solid partnership.  As a teacher, I work hard to communicate with parents each day by sending emails, making phone calls, writing notes and publishing newsletters.  In return, I hope that parents will communicate quickly when there is a problem or an issue that might affect their child's ability to function in the classroom whether that be conflicts occurring on the playground, the death of a family member or a pet, or parents who are separated or divorcing.  The child is spending oftentimes more hours at school than at home but parents are sometimes so busy that they forget to inform the teacher(s) of these difficult situations in a timely manner.  This creates discomfort for the students and astonishment in the teacher once she is informed of the situation.
Another example of good communication is when parents have the courage to talk with the teacher directly when they are dissatisfied with something that might be happening in the classroom.  Instead of going to the administration, they try first to speak with the teacher to clarify and resolve any issue.

I think it is time to get back to the BASICS : trust that your child's teacher has the best interest of your child in mind,  respect the work that is taking place in the classroom and communicate openly with your child's teacher.  In turn, educators will continue to give 200% day in and day out to make your child's school day educational and, yes, even fun!

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