Next week, we are attending the 2011 Learning Forward Conference in Anaheim, California. Fierce founder, Susan Scott, is doing a session which focuses on learning how to be more accountable within education.
The topic of Susan’s session got me thinking about a relationship that doesn’t get talked about as much: the parent and teacher relationship. The level of accountability needed is high.
We focus on the student and teacher having a solid working relationship, yet what about the parent and teacher?
It’s a unique situation.
Your child spends most of his or her day at school. Day in and day out the teacher is informing a large portion of character, social learning, and other intangibles, which up until kindergarten may have solely been the parent’s job.
This relationship fascinates me because it can be both magical and tenuous.
A huge responsibility is placed on both parties’ shoulders. Educating and raising another human being is quite the task. Each year it starts over, and a new relationship needs to be formed.
We create and solidify this commitment through conversation. The idea behind how to do this is simple: The conversation is the relationship. At Fierce we look at it like an equation: C=R: Conversation=Relationship.
Executing it, however, can be difficult
It takes time and energy to fully invest in both. There may be resistance or a context around wanting that level of involvement. Yet to be successful at the equation you need a high level of commitment.
On the most basic level, the teacher needs to talk with the parent about what is happening in the student’s life at home. For parents it's talking with the teacher about your child’s life at school. This is not just when the student is in trouble, or when they’ve done something well.
For the student and schools success it’s incumbent upon both parties to see that a fully realized commitment between parent and teacher is necessary.
As we face daunting education reform ahead remember that: if it’s to be, it’s up to me.
As the teacher and as the parent, you may not be able to control how the system works. However you can control how you interact within it.