Changes in society have redefined the roles of schools and teachers in educating children. The role of the teacher as a mere instructor of “reading, ‘riting, and ‘rithmetic” is part of the past. Education must focus on meeting the needs of the whole child. The teacher alone can no longer accomplish the education of children. Meeting the needs of the whole child can only be achieved through effective home-school relationships. However, creating effective home-school relationships is far more complex and challenging than it appears. The teacher plays an increasingly significant role. The teacher must not only lay the foundation, but also continually facilitate the development of the relationship.
Laying the foundation for this relationship begins with a vision. Teachers must see parents as partners in the education of their children. Making this vision a reality requires the teachers sensitivity to and understanding of the dynamics of this relationship. Teachers must strive to meet parents at their level of need and respond to them with warmth, mutual respect, and understanding. Parents need help, understanding, and support, not criticism. Parents are not always going to take the initiative to become involved, but lack of involvement does not mean most parents are not concerned about their child’s education. Most parents are genuinely concerned about their child’s education.
However, many factors such as negative experiences, time, and lack of knowledge on how to be involved have limited effective parent involvement. This is where the teacher must possess a non-judgemental attitude toward families and work towards eliminating barriers that have hindered home-school relationships throughout the years. Teachers must take the initiative and responsibility to develop effective partnerships. Teachers must not only motivate the parents, but also plan opportunities for their successful involvement. as a supportive foundation for learning. For the most part parents know their children best and want their children to succeed.
Teachers must take the first step and find out how parents would like to be involved (questionnaires, home visits, & conferences). Parents must view their participation as meaningful and recognize the impact it has on their child’s education and development. Parents become motivated when the involvement is family focused and incorporates what they view as important in the life of their child, not just what the professional views. The opportunities for parent involvement are endless. Parents can assume roles as active or passive participants in their child’s education. They can read to their child at home, do other homework activities, be a classroom volunteer, organize extracurricular events, and much, much more.
Teachers must make the vision a reality. They must strive to motivate parents and continually facilitate the development of effective home-school relationships by providing parents with well-planned, meaningful opportunities for involvement.