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I Had My Best School Year Yet By Getting Parents Involved

opinion

Getting parents actively involved in their child's education and classroom can reap great benefits. In today's post, I'm going to explain how boosting parental involvement led to my best year of teaching yet.

The Importance of Getting Parents Involved

It can often be a bit tricky to get parents truly involved in their child's education due to busy lifestyles and hectic schedules. However, research shows that children whose parents play an active role in their education tend to perform better academically, have a lower instance of behavioral issues, and are more likely to graduate from high school.

Last school year, I took the time and effort to personally reach out to all of my third-grade students' parents to stress the above information and try to get them more involved in not only their child's education, but our classroom as well. I'm not going to lie; it took a great deal of correspondence to get the results I was looking for, but it was totally worth it.

Once parents were on board, I sent daily text messages and emails to let them know exactly what was happening in our classroom, along with any student-specific concerns or praises. I also strived to get at least one parent volunteer into the room every day of the week, which wasn't always possible. This is the routine I follow to this day.

Let's take a closer look at how all of this positively affected my classroom and helped me have my best school year yet.

The Perks of Parental Involvement

1. Happier Atmosphere

One of the first, most notable benefits of getting parents more actively involved in their child's education and our classroom was a happier all-around atmosphere. The kids really seemed to enjoy having their parents more in tune with what and how they were doing every day (e.g., knowing what type of activities and assignments we did, any classroom news, personal compliments, etc...) Students also loved having parent volunteers in the classroom; it not only boosted their morale, but provided an extra classroom helper. Of course, all of this made me a happier teacher, too!

happystudent

2. Increased Motivation

Another benefit that I noticed was increased motivation in my students. I'm not 100% sure if this was because the kids knew that their parents were getting daily updates from me that contained assignments, homework, and personal comments (and that everything was out in the open), but their motivation levels really went up. This increased motivation led to students working harder at completing their assignments and turning them in on time as well as noticeably striving to improve their behavior in the classroom and work together as a whole.

studentsworking

3. Fewer Absences

After I implemented my new 'increased parental involvement' strategy, I realized that there began to be fewer student absences. I think this was partially due to the fact that parents really started to realize how much work a third-grade classroom does in a day. With all of the assignments and hands-on learning activities that took place on a daily basis, one missed day could have easily caused a student to fall behind. Of course, there were unavoidable times when kids got sick; to help with this, I still sent daily updates for absent students and had a special tray of daily missed work packets that parents could stop and pick up at any time throughout the day.

4. Less Confusion

The daily texts and email updates also led to less confusion for everyone involved. Parents no longer had to guess as to what happened on a specific school day or pressure their child to remember the day's assignments (that doesn't always work so well!) This also made it easier for parents to contact me with any concerns or issues they had. For whatever reason, texts and emails are more comfortable methods of communication for most parents than traditional phone calls.

These methods also made it easier for me to reach out when I wanted to discuss any non-urgent issues that needed clarification or communication. The students were also less overwhelmed with information because they knew their parents were getting a daily update regarding the school day, important upcoming events, due dates, etc...

communication

5. Better Performance

Last but not least, my students began to perform better academically. I'm pretty sure this had something to do with all of the above benefits. Since they were happier and more motivated, school didn't seem like such a chore, and their work got done a bit faster. Clearer communication and more frequent correspondence between parents and I also helped; since parents knew exactly what their kids were doing each day and if there was any homework, they could help make sure the assignments got finished up. A lower number of absences also contributed to better student performance since falling behind became less prevalent.

Last Thoughts

As you can see from the benefits I've discussed here, getting parents involved in their child's education is important and resulted in me having my best year of teaching yet. Although it takes hard work and dedication from both my students' parents and myself, the results are clear--happier students, happier parents, and, of course, a happier teacher!

By Erin Riskey
March 2017
opinion parents

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