With the start of the new school year, comes a laundry list of must-dos for students – from getting used to new schedules and curriculum to navigating classroom expectations. Parents also play a key role, especially for younger students, in helping them do well academically. This includes having an active presence in school and developing relationships with their children’s teachers.
However, a recent University of Phoenix survey of more than 1,000 K–12 teachers, shows that many parents don’t get a passing grade when it comes to participation. Nearly three-fourths of teachers say less than half of parents are involved in the classroom, and the majority of teachers (58 percent) say that less than a quarter of parents are involved.
While it may seem overwhelming to pull even more time out of your busy schedules, building a positive and proactive relationship with teachers can have long-lasting effects.
Studies show that parental involvement in their child’s education activities can help reduce absenteeism, increase class participation and raise grades. A 2017 Columbia University study showed that teachers communicating updates on attendance and homework to parents via text resulted in a 17 percent drop in student absences.
“Supporting teachers as they learn how to best help your child succeed is the best gift you can give them,” said Dr. Pam Roggeman, University of Phoenix College of Education academic dean.
Here, Dr. Roggeman shares advice on why it is so important for parents to connect with teachers — and how to do it — to help support their children’s success.
Establish a working, positive relationship with students’ teachers
“Education is a partnership,” said Roggeman. “By establishing relationships, parents can be of more help to their children because they learn more about what is happening in class, keep current on classroom happenings and experiences, and help the child’s teacher to know the family and the child better.”
Help your child learn to self-advocate
“School should be a setting where children learn how to, and practice, problem-solving,” continued Roggeman. “This is a skill a parent can give to both their children and their teacher. This is also a life skill that will permeate all avenues of a child’s life. Regardless of the child’s age, each can benefit from learning age-appropriate ways to communicate their needs to their teachers, in the moment.”
Be open to supporting teachers
Roggeman said support could range from responding to teachers’ requests for classroom supply donations to helping students stay current on long-term projects. It can even mean, she said, “giving teachers the benefit of the doubt when they make academic decisions they think best benefit their students.”
—Information provided by University of Phoenix