Sunday, October 18, 2015

PTS - Parent/Teacher/Student or Post-Traumatic Stress???

I find as a school administrator that there's increasing stress with regard to the relationship among the 3 communities directly involved in a child's education.  In general, our goal is to educate children within the boundaries of a school day academically, socially, physically, emotionally, and I'd add technologically.  Many schools are also charged with spiritual development.   It is an incredible task to complete.  It's also one that can be accomplished with a cooperative working relationship among the parent(s), teacher, and student.  There are set standards, common practices, and all must work together to design and achieve developmentally appropriate goals.  Let's take a look at how those standards, practices, goals, and communication among them may (or may not) work within your setting:

Standards – the content of the educational program
Does not have input to the standards, but should aware of them. It is what they are learning each day, every year.
Should be aware of them. Can have input at various levels by being actively involved in school boards and by voting for local representatives.
Is absolutely aware of them as the curriculum is designed around these.  Should be teaching the standards and setting annual goals based on them.
Goals/Objectives-these are more specific to each student/grade level
In general, these are the same for each class, but may vary per student based on unique capabilities.  A student can be somewhat aware of them but will consider his/her main goal to be to ‘get to the next grade’.
Will also have a similar goal in mind as the student but should also have more specific goals for his/her student based on the student’s individual needs that also align with the standards.
Will have the standards in mind and will fit the student’s needs in and align goals/objectives into this framework preparing the student for the next grade throughout the year.
Methods of Instruction – these are the ways the teacher will deliver the lessons throughout the school year. Often these are determined by a teacher's strengths/desires and district resources.
Depending on the age, the student may or may not know what method of instruction works best for any subject.  Is it rote memorization, kinesthetic or auditory learning?  Are all things visual/graphic best received and understood?
Parents, as well, may or may not know what works for their child.  Often they assume what worked for them should work for their child.  This is why there is so much push back on the Common Core.  C.C. is like a foreign language for many parents. However, it does work for some students.
Teachers have the task to get to know and understand an entire classroom of students and balance all lessons and methods of instruction for all students. The optimal classroom will have engaging lessons that balance visual, kinesthetic, and auditory learning experiences-that meet the standards presented in the curriculum.
Communication – this is what SHOULD happen
Every child must feel safe communicating to his/her teacher about school and home.  Every child must feel safe communicating to his/her parent about school.  All communication must be respectful.
Every parent must support the school and teacher in front of the child, even when it’s difficult. Ask questions.  Make notes. Refrain from verbally ‘attacking’ anyone in the presence of your child.  Do not speak poorly of other children, parents, or school staff. Request a meeting. All communication must be respectful.
Teachers must keep parents informed. Technology allows for easy frequent communication. Students must feel safe in the classroom.  They need to be able to ask questions free from humiliation and embarrassment. All communication must be respectful.

I create this table just to begin to set up a discussion of the increased stress among parents, teachers, and students.  This was once a primarily cooperative, working relationship (I believe many, many years ago).  Research shows that it works much better when the relationship is cooperative.  How do we get back to where we used to be?  All areas need improvement - the standards (and how we get them), goal setting, methodology, and teaching.  However, next week, I'll talk about the communication piece. That said, we DO have some wonderful things happening in education!  Share them with us!  I'm going to share one with you below...

Until next week, keep it simple...and respectful. ♥D

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