Forging an Effective Team With Educators – Part 1

When you enter a school that really believes in teaming up with their parents, it is obvious right from the front door of the classroom.  You will feel the welcome in the office, hallway and when you meet the teacher during the school day.  A great start in forging an effective team with educators starts with the encouragement from the school toward parents walking their kids right into the building and the classroom.  This give the parent a chance to visit with the teacher briefly right at the beginning of the day.  You begin to build relationships with parents-teacher, and teacher-parents.  At times, I noticed from my 40+ years experience that parents begin to feel that their recommendations are just ignored, and they lose interest in making a connection.  I would like to discuss three approaches that will help with Forging and Effective Team With Educators.  In this three part-series we will discuss Establishing Trust, Making Connections, and Funding Concerns.

Let’s begin by looking at Establishing Trust.  Establishing trust with teachers, the school, and community is all about relationships.  As a John Maxwell Team member, we teach that trust builds when time is taken to build a relationship.  Stephen M.R. Covey in his landmark book, The Speed of Trust, says, “. . . nothing is as fast as the speed of trust.”  Trust is all about how we take time to interact with others.  Teachers want to trust parents and hopefully the other way around.  Schools have changed dramatically in many areas, but academic standards would be at the top.  These result in higher goals for kids, including kids with disabilities.  By taking some time in the classroom to volunteer, observe, or just to sit for a few minutes to see how the school day begins, you can start to forge a trust relationship with educators.  By observing some of the changes since you were in school, you will begin to notice those changes and be able to ask questions regarding them.

Schools need problem solvers to help and parents have an equal voice to a teacher, a paraprofessional or anyone else in the building.  Often as their kids get older, parents’ involvement diminish, leading to a lack of involvement or understanding.  Kids notice this and over time, their performance can be effected as well.  You will discover first hand that the classroom often has 24 students or so, that the developmental level’s of those students vary greatly, as well as their academic abilities.  The teacher may explain a very basic concept to one student, and then turn around and go deeper into higher level content with another student all in a minute or less.

I want to encourage you to begin to find ways to spend time with your child’s teachers and to find those questions that you have about their education.  When we work with teachers in this way, we design a relationship that is built on trust and one that your child will feel good about as well.  In part 2, we will talk about how to make connections.

Yours for better parenting,

Rich