Family School Connection

While I’m no expert on relationships, I do know one thing; they’re not going to work if you don’t have good communication. As a bilingual teaching credential candidate, that means that year in and year out, we will be asked to build and establish relationships with families of two classrooms, resulting in getting to know 50–70 families! What I feel that parents sometimes fail to remember is that we’re not just dealing with one student or one family, but rather a classroom community. Teachers are work everyday getting to know their students to adapt their instruction to try and meet all the needs and interests of their students, but that cannot be possible without the help of the parents.

My opinions about the Family School Connection are based on what I’ve experienced as a child and my parents’ interactions with my teachers; what I’ve noticed during my practicum as a student teacher; and what I’ve learned from my friends as parents and their interactions with teachers. I believe that the Family School Connection is critical for the academic, social, cultural, and personal development and success of a child. I am aware that households are not the traditional two-parent households of 30 years ago. A lot of things have changed.

I understand that not all parents can and want to devote a lot of time to volunteering at their child’s school. However, I do feel that it is important for parents to get involved in some way and school’s need to be conscious about family dynamics and situations to provide those volunteering opportunities for parents. Research has shown that children whose parents are involved in their education tend to have a better attitude about education; they do better academically and are better prepared for college (www.nea.org). I was fortunate enough that my parents placed a very high value on education. Them coming from Mexico and not having a lot of schooling, they knew that to be successful in the United States, we were going to need to do good in school.

Now that I’m on the other end of the stick, as an educator, I know that how I interact with parents is going to be a factor in how a child does in the classroom. I feel as though I have a pretty easy-going personality, so I feel that I am able to communicate well with most people. However, I know that when it comes to their child’s education, conversations can turn quickly. Based on what I experienced during my practicum as a teacher, there are parents who are very easy to work with and others can be a challenge. Often times, the challenging, “helicopter” parents are ones that can make life miserable for teachers. Helicopter parents, often times from middle-upper economic class, can make teachers question their job as a teacher. They “deprofessionalize teachers and exacerbate the unequal treatment of all parents in schools further stratifying the involved and uninvolved parent along race and class lines” (Baquedano-López et al., 2013, p. 161).

I believe that once I get my own classroom, I will like to conduct home visits on my students. Home visits allow teachers to know the student and family at a deeper level. “The ethnographic research process (home visits) causes teachers to become ore aware of the multidimensionality of students and their families (N. Gonzalez, et al., 2006, p. 128) From stories that I’ve heard from my teachers is that when they conducted home visits, they better understood the in-classroom behaviors of their students and found better ways to serve their academic and non-academic needs. Being that I’m very keen on relationships, I feel that as a teacher, I need to make the best effort to get to know my students and understand the “mochila” or funds of knowledge that they bring with them.

This brings me to homework. I feel that homework should only be given if it’s going to serve a purpose and can be completed by all students. This is why it is extremely important to get to know students and their home life because some students may not have the necessary materials to complete the homework at home. We have to give an equal and fair opportunity for children to advance their learning. We also have to make sure that the parents are able to help their students with homework. Too often, especially with Common Core Standards, parents are unaware of how to do the homework the way it was taught in class. So if we want parents to help the students with their work at home, we need to provide workshops that show parents what Common Core is, and lead them in a workshop or tutorial of how to better help their.

Although I am well aware that many factors come into play that determine how much involvement a parent can become in their child’s school, ultimately, I feel that it all comes down to communication. When there is good communication between parents with their students, students with their teacher and teachers with their students, it is possible to find a common ground for success.

Sources:

Research Spotlight on Parental Involvement in Education. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.nea.org/tools/17360.htm

Funds of knowledge: theorizing practice in households, communities, and classroomsNorma González — Luis Moll — Cathy Amanti — L. Erlbaum Associates — 2005

Baquedano-lopez, P., Alexander, R. A., & Hernandez, S. J. (2013, February 25). Equity Issues in Parental and Community Involvement in Schools : What Teacher Educators Need to Know. Retrieved from http://rre.sagepub.com/content/37/1/149

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