Whose Child Is This?

So last week we had our first quarter parent-teacher conferences, and it was incredibly fulfilling to see and hear these partnerships working together to support our kids. There were so many meaningful conversations happening all over the school, each revolving around our students as young learners, and it was inspiring to see our teachers sharing their data and evidence of where the kids currently are, and where they are going with regards to each student’s academic and personal success. These were very much two way conversations, as the parents were giving authentic feedback and suggestions about their child from their perspectives, and our teachers were busy taking notes, digging deep, and genuinely asking for any information at all to help them support each child in their classrooms. As I was walking around with a big smile on my face, I got thinking about the tremendous value and importance of parent-teacher relationships, and how fostering these partnerships is truly one of our biggest priorities as educators.

 

Obviously, our goal as educators is to find ways to connect with all of our students to inspire learning, and it’s imperative that we work closely with the ones who know their children the best. Parents are such valuable resources for all of us, and I wonder if we’re doing enough to bring them into the mix. Successful conference days for me are ones in which there are no surprises of any kind…teachers should be constantly in communication with parents to celebrate success, alert them to any issues or concerns, or to just reach out and provide information of what’s happening with their child’s education. Sometimes as educators we get anxious about an overly involved parent, or a parent that feels like their child isn’t being supported or extended in appropriate ways, and we get defensive and take it as a personal attack on our professional ability. But really, if you look closely at the root of any concern, it’s just a concerned mother or father asking to be involved, and wanting to support their child from home. As I see it, it’s all about proactive communication and finding ways to work together as a team. Obviously, some parents need a little more communication than others, we all know that, but that’s a good thing isn’t it? I’d rather have an involved parent than an absent one, and it’s just a matter of looking for ways to understand what they really need from you. It comes down to both of us wanting the same thing in almost all cases, which is an outstanding education for their child, and if we look to develop these relationships early and often then we all win.

 

It reminds me of one of my all-time favorite poems titled, “Whose Child is This?”, and I’d like you to read it and think about your relationships with the parents of your students…maybe there’s some room for growth or a relationship that can be mended or improved? Think about it and reach out and be proactive…we have a wonderful parent community here at Academia Cotopaxi, and they have world class teachers educating their children…let’s come together for our kids and strengthen these partnerships. If we try to do this in isolation then we’re missing out on the most important resource that we have at our disposal…enjoy the poem and take it to heart. Have a wonderful week everyone and remember to be great for our students and proactive with their parents.

Whose Child Is This?

‘Whose child is this? ‘ I asked one day
Seeing a little one out at play
‘Mine’, said the parent with a tender smile
‘Mine to keep a little while
To bathe her hands and comb her hair
To tell her what she is to wear
To prepare her that she may always be good
And each day do the things she should’

‘Whose child is this? ‘ I asked again
As the door opened and someone came in
‘Mine’, said the teacher with the same tender smile
‘Mine, to keep just for a little while
To teach her how to be gentle and kind
To train and direct her dear little mind
To help her live by every rule
And get the best she can from school’

‘Whose child is this? ‘ I ask once more
Just as the little one entered the door
‘Ours’ said the parent and the teacher as they smiled
And each took the hand of the little child
‘Ours to love and train together
Ours this blessed task forever.’

Quote of the Week…..

Children need models rather than critics —Joseph Joubert

 TED TALK – Building Relationships Between Parents and Teachers (Megan Olivia Hall)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kin2OdchKMQ

 Parent –Teacher Partnership Articles/Videos –

http://www.edutopia.org/blog/film-festival-parent-teacher-partnerships

http://www.education.com/reference/article/Ref_Building_Parent/

https://oldweb.naeyc.org/ece/1999/02.asp

http://www.pbs.org/parents/education/going-to-school/parent-involvement/parent-teacher-partnership/

http://www.readingrockets.org/article/building-parent-teacher-relationships

About Daniel Kerr

Dan Kerr is now Lower School Director at the American School of Paris. He previously served as Intermediate Division Principal at Academia Cotopaxi American International School in Quito, Ecuador, and prior to that was the Middle School Principal at SCIS in Shanghai, China. Dan has also worked at JIS in Jakarta, Indonesia and he began his International career in Abu Dhabi. Dan is thrilled to be joining the ASP family and will be accompanied by his wife, Jocelyn, who will be working as a counselor, and his two children, Max and Gabby. 
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