“Is Talia paying attention?”
As we kick off a unique school year, teachers, students, and families are transitioning into new roles, taking on new responsibilities, and establishing new routines. And, as we witnessed in the spring (and will continue to witness this fall and beyond), the roles and responsibilities that teachers and parents are taking on in support of students’ education have never been more intertwined. Questions like, “Is Talia paying attention? What does first grade writing look like? Is Devon confused? Is the lesson going too fast? Too slow? Is Tia falling behind?” are just as likely to be on teachers’ minds as parents’ minds as instruction extends beyond the classroom into families’ homes.
While the parent-teacher role “convergence” prompted by distance learning sheds light on a number of challenges (e.g., parents aren’t trained teachers, teachers aren’t trained virtual facilitators, to name a few), it also highlights an opportunity for authentic academic partnership and underscores how truly critical it is that parents and teachers regularly share information with one another. To most effectively support their children, parents need ongoing insights from teachers: what areas need support, what strengths need cultivating, what strategies will work best for specific children. Teachers also need this information regularly from families.
It is my hope that new patterns of behavior that are initiated to address today’s acute needs carry on long after the pandemic. Because the reality is that although the current educational reality has precipitated more urgency around collaboration and information sharing, parents and teachers have always shared roles and responsibilities related to supporting student success and helping children thrive.
What new parent-teacher partnership activities have you recently initiated that you intend to continue long after the 2020-2021 school year? We’d love to know — tweet us @FamilyELab or use the hashtag #PartnershipPostPandemic.
Co-Founder, Family Engagement Lab