Today, parents and teachers sometimes seem to hold different mindsets and frames of reference about public education or particular aspects such as appropriate curriculum content or effective instructional and evaluation methods.
Some parents’ reference points may be rooted in the past or in a different education system elsewhere in Canada or abroad. Some parents’ and guardians’ views may be informed by when they were last in the school system as students. These frames of reference can sometimes perpetuate a static or “frozen in time” model of public education. Parents and guardians may tend to approve of systems that resemble the ones they themselves experienced and be sceptical towards systems that diverge from what they know or have experienced.
In contrast, teachers are immersed in an education system that is subject to evolving Ministry policies and guidelines, informed by ongoing research and influences from at home and abroad. The system is dynamic and subject to ongoing consultations and discussions with many stakeholders. A meeting of the minds and a joint commitment to promote students’ academic success can be challenging work.
Teachers and parents both want what is best for a child’s educational development and well-being. In keeping with that principle, teachers want parents to help support the learning process at home and to keep students on track for success. Today’s students face a different and significant array of distractions – many unimaginable ten or even five years ago. These often take students’ minds away from school-related tasks and their studies.
As teachers, we can help parents/guardians to manage and minimize these distractions at home and at school. By working together to continue improving ongoing communication and building a shared understanding of program and learning skills and high, attainable expectations, teachers and parents support students in taking more ownership of their own learning and encourage them to move along a continuum of learning towards higher levels of achievement and well-being.