I'm often asked for the best strategies for working with parents. One of my foundational beliefs is that it must be a true partnership, not a one-way street. There are three questions that should frame your actions as you form partnerships with the parents in your students’ lives:
**For simplicity, I’m going to use the word parents, but these strategies apply to any of the caring adults in the student’s life.
1. What can you learn from them to support your student better? This might include information about how the child learns best or any special interests and needs.
2. How can you help them? Daniel enjoyed working on the school newspaper, particularly drawing editorial cartoons. His math teacher was a friend of mine, and she shared that Daniel did not always complete his homework, which caused him to fall behind. The three of us agreed that if he didn’t do his math homework, she would let me know about it and he would leave my class to go catch up his homework in her class. This worked especially well because journalism was an elective course, but the main reason it worked was that he wanted to be in my class, so he finished his homework.
3. How can they help you? Several of my struggling readers played on our junior varsity football team. The students and I talked with their coach about what they needed to do in my class to be successful. He then monitored their progress in class, and checked in with me regularly to offer additional support. It was a turning point for those boys.
What are strategies that have worked for you?