8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Sharon Holzscherer
    Jun 01, 2011 @ 15:49:42

    For years I have led workshops helping teachers and administrators deal with parents. They can be your biggest asset or your greatest challenge. The main problem lies in the fact that there are no rules. There are no standard ways of allowing parents and teachers to be partners. Parents have a unique knowledge of their own child. Teachers have training and experience in the pedagogical practices and in teaching an entire class. In order for this partnership to work effectively, there need to be workshops for both sides. Teachers can learn how to effectively use the skills and energy of the parents. Parents can learn how best to help not just their own child but the entire class.

    The bottom line is that parents who are involved in their children’s education will reap the rewards of having better students. But when you show up at the door, offering to volunteer, have some respect for the experience of the teacher and let him or her be your guide.

    As mentioned in the post, there is no judgement here. Each of us decides our own needs and priorities. Hopefully bornstoryteller’s article will help you, as a parent, to know that being a part of your child’s education can be very rewarding, for everyone involved.


  2. Nando-Em-Brooklyn
    Jun 01, 2011 @ 15:56:25

    Hello Stuart,
    Interesting post. You bring up a lot of great points. I think that parent involvement is crucial, but I would add that we need to advocate for better schools way before our children enter the school system and long after they graduate. The constantly shifting crop of people who learn the system, advocate, then leave can only achieve minor changes over long periods of time. In particular since most “involved” parents tend to concentrate on the grades/schools their children attend and not on the entire system from pre-K to post-graduate.


    My children are entering pre-K and Kindergarden, and I hope to live up to my statement above.



    • bornstoryteller
      Jun 01, 2011 @ 16:01:24

      Fernando: you are 100% right: it’s the entire experience, evenings, weekends, holidays, vacations…and wouldn’t you like to have investments of where they are heading as well?

      Part of the problem with “rotating” teachers: burn out; school politics (I left due to certain things in my school I could not tolerate); “better” locations; etc.

      A healthy and supported Teacher also makes them want to stick around.

      The fact you are already thinking along these lines for your children: great sign!!! Please keep checking in and letting me/us know how it goes! Really.


  3. Nando-Em-Brooklyn
    Jun 01, 2011 @ 20:04:52

    I’ve been involved in AIE for close to twenty years.

    I grew up in a household that placed a huge premium on education advocacy. In the 80’s and 90’s, my father advocated for bilingual education in public schools in RI — and even though he only had a 4th grade education (in Portugal), he was often a speaker at bilingual education forums in Providence, RI.

    His primary concern was my education (the oldest son), then my sister’s education. (He was/is very old-school, very old-country.) Back then, in Portugal, by the time a student graduated from High School s/he had 6 years of French, 4 years of English, and 2 years of German. (not always in that order, but you get the idea)

    But I do see this trend. As soon as the youngest child graduates H.S., the parents stop their advocacy. I get it. This is not an easy city to live in. I hope my life in NYC does not become so complex that I cannot continue the path I am on, well after my children are out of school.

    Keep up the good work.



    • bornstoryteller
      Jun 01, 2011 @ 22:10:35

      It’s really nice getting to know you through your posts. You had a great dad, to care so much. You’ll do it too. Yes, NYC is not the easiest of places to navigate what you need for your children, but it can be done. Just a bit harder to get things done.


  4. Lisa
    Jun 01, 2011 @ 23:24:41

    I may draw fire here, but it’s been my experience that the bulk of our students who are struggling/ failing come from families where there will never be any active parental involvement, for myriad reasons which I won’t get into. For that reason, I tend to advocate more afterschool programs, where kids have a safe environment to study, socialize, etc. I always get an argument about cost. Yet there is always money found for sports program, at least in my area, including paid coachs, assistants, uniforms, buses for away games, etc. Yes, sports are important for health, team building, leadership, and self esteem. But aren’t academics equally important?


    • bornstoryteller
      Jun 01, 2011 @ 23:43:01

      Li..you won’t get any flack from me. I put in my BTW in my post because of some of those things. Some families can’t help it. Some try their hardest. Some, sadly, not at all.

      Sports will almost always get the $$. It’s big, it’s flashy, and it’s competition. Awards can be won. The other stuff? Sometimes. But, it’s not big and flashy.

      Story time: I was on an interview for a HS Theater Teacher. I went through the whole interview without them asking me once about my teaching philosophy, my pedagogy, nada. It was all about “what are my production values”. At the end, when asked if I had a question, I asked them if they didn’t want to know how I taught, or how I would integrate theater: nothing. I did not, of course, get that job.


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