Parents Team With Educators – Part 1

It is apparent right from the classroom’s front door when you enter a school that believes in teaming up with its parents.  You will feel 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 relationship gives the parent a chance to briefly visit the teacher 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 of experience that parents start to feel that their recommendations are just ignored and lose interest in making a connection.

I want to discuss three approaches that will help with Forging an 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 the community is about relationships.  As a John Maxwell Team member, we teach that confidence builds when building relationships.  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, but academic standards would be at the top. These result in higher goals for kids, including kids with disabilities.

You can forge a trusting relationship with educators by taking some time in the classroom to volunteer, observe, or sit for a few minutes to see how the school day begins.  By following some of the changes since you were in school, you will notice those changes and ask questions.

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 diminishes, leading to a lack of involvement or understanding.  Kids notice this, and their performance can be affected as well over time.  You will discover firsthand that the classroom often has 24 students or so, and that the developmental levels of those students vary greatly, as well as their academic abilities.

The teacher may explain a fundamental concept to one student and then turn around and go deeper into higher-level content with another student in a minute or less.

I want to encourage you to begin finding ways to spend time with your child’s teachers and find those questions you have about their education.  We can build a relationship on trust when we work with teachers in this way.  We design a relationship built on trust and one upon which your child will feel good.  In part 2, we will talk about how to make connections.

For more information on building trust, I cannot recommend a better book than Stephen M.R. Covey’s landmark book, Leading at the Speed of Trust.  Trust (

A continuation of this series can be found here:  Parents Team with Educators – Part 2

I have another blog entry that will help with understanding trust and kids, Building Trust – Dr. Rich Patterson (


Yours for better parenting,