I can’t tell you how many parent-teacher conferences I have been a part of where I’m visited by parent whom I really don’t need to see, except to tell them what every other teacher had told them at every other parent-teacher conference they’ve ever attended (because, by the way, they don’t miss parent teacher conference): that their daughter/son/grandbaby/niece/nephew is doing exceptionally well, so keep up the good work and the obvious involvement in their academic well-being.
Don’t get me wrong – I love sending home a good report. I never much cared for the teachers that only shouted kids out who weren’t doing well or who displayed behavioral challenges in the classroom. However, it is the parents/guardians of the students who are on academically shaky ground that I need to see and speak with the most. Yet, overwhelmingly, they are the ones that I see the least. This baffles my mind.
I’m not talking about parent-teacher conferences for high-schoolers which, not for nothing, still necessitate parental involvement. I’ve taught middle school, seventh and eighth-grade, for the majority of my career. Students in these grades are anywhere in age from 11 to 14 years old. They are still very much young kids who require structured support in order to academically thrive, not just survive. So why is it that for almost every year of my career, there are more students than I care to count for whom I never have met a parent/guardian, heard from a parent/guardian, or received an email or text message from a parent/guardian? That’s not okay! I would go so far as to say that’s negligent.
According to Assel Karibayeva,
Parental involvement is the crucial factor during the school life of children, especially in primary and middle schools. Scientists found that parental involvement can affect children’s academic progress, behaviour, language abilities, social skills, and generally perception of life. These days more parents are becoming less engaged in educational process of their children.
I understand that parents and guardians have demanding work schedules. Remember why you’re out there busting your butt. Providing for your child is a huge part of that equation and you have an obligation to provide for them academically, too. That commitment doesn’t cease with back-to-school shopping in September but is a lifelong commitment. They are always learning and will, at every stage of their lives, require your input/output/listening ear.
To be honest, with the way technology is set up today, being in touch with your child’s school is as simple as sending and receiving a text message. Are you too busy to respond to a text message? C’mon fam, we have to do better than that..
Parents/Guardians: Please get on board. Reach out to your child’s teacher. Check your child’s homework, don’t just ask if they have any and leave it at that. Get linked with Jupiter Grades or Pupil Path or whatever system your child’s school has in place for the communication of assignments, grades, home-school contact, important events, and of course, parent-teacher conferences.
Your role in your child’s academic life is not optional. It is a requirement.