Unique challenges exist in relationships between GT parents and teachers, and this week on #gtchat we discussed ways to improve how parents and teachers of gifted students communicate with each other. In many situations, gifted-identified students have an education plan which places certain requirements and responsibilities on all parties involved in the agreement. GT students often receive accommodations or interventions which place additional stressors and constraints on the teacher/student/parent relationship.
In a perfect world, good parent-teacher relations most often benefit the student. Depending on their age, a student can explore their potential with the help of a supportive teacher/mentor. Good parent-teacher relationships don’t just happen. They need to be cultivated and maintained in the spirit of mutual respect. A good start is to make sure all stakeholders have a firm grasp of the need for gifted education.
Today there exists a wide range of tech tools and apps to facilitate open communication between parents and teachers. Schools have long acknowledged that open lines of communication can avoid misunderstandings between parents and teachers. Educators and schools, however, must be cognizant of a family’s ability to access technology and take steps to provide access when it doesn’t exist or provide other means of communication.
Face-to-face activities can improve parent-teacher relations. This relationship can be enhanced through participation in extracurricular activities, breakfast/coffee with a teacher/admin opportunity, and even pre-scheduled after school meetings.
What best practices can parents use to improve their child’s education? Parents need to learn the ‘lingo’ used by educators; they will earn the respect of those who are responsible for making decisions affecting their child. Best practices for parents advocating for their gifted child include researching state and local education laws and diligent planning concerning their child’s educational needs prior to meeting with school personnel.
Parents and teachers many never see eye-to-eye regarding a child’s education plan, but remaining calm, professional and open-minded will serve everyone’s best interests. When researching a child’s particular school, always be aware of the ‘chain of command’ and follow it precisely. Know who the teacher reports to, but start with the teacher first. Most schools recognize this chain of comment: teacher >>> administrator >>> principal >>> superintendent >>> school board. To learn more about improving parent-teacher communications, you can check out the resources below and read a copy of the transcript from this chat at Wakelet.
Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Thursdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Fridays at Noon NZST/10 AM AEST/1 AM UK to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Wakelet. Our Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news and information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.
Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash
Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.
This week marked our Back-to-School #gtchat which was centered on building partnerships between parents and teachers. Partnering is defined as establishing a long term win-win relationship based on mutual trust & teamwork; sharing of both risks and rewards. A full transcript may be found here.
We first explored reasons why parent-teacher relationships do not develop into winning partnerships and steps that could be taken to improve relations. Not surprisingly, lack of communication; lack of transparency regarding program options; and open-mindedness all ranked high in reasons for poor relationships. Parents & teachers judging each other can often harm good parent-teacher relations. Additional points to consider included:
- Teachers cling to mantle of expertise and make assurances and promises. Parents get angry and hostile in advance. ~ Justin Schwamm, Latin teacher from North Carolina
- When parents & teachers dump problems in each other’s laps, the ensuing ‘blame game’ only hurts the student. ~ moderator
- There must be understanding on each end that we are both working for the success of the student. ~ Brian Dinwiddie, educator
It was concluded that the best approach to a positive relationship was to begin communication early in the school year (even before the school starts is better) and not wait until problems arose. Parents and teachers should talk to each other directly; not through their child/student. Both teachers and parents need a ‘good news’ attitude … don’t limit conversations to problems. Adopt a team mind-set … everyone should be invested in a student’s success!
Teachers and parents shared some of the things that their schools did to foster parent-teacher partnerships. Many schools sponsored Open Houses either prior to the start of the school year or shortly thereafter. An Assistant Head Teacher from the UK suggested workshops for parents who had bad experiences with schools in the past to improve future experiences. Graham Andre, Year 2 teacher in the UK, talked about parent coffee mornings, parents as helpers in the classroom and always having an ‘open door’ policy regarding parents. Dr. Spike C Cook, elementary principal from New Jersey, shared this video from his school’s ‘Welcome Back Policy’:
The discussion then turned to the use of social media in schools and how it was used to build relationships between parents and teachers. Below you will find links to some of the most popular Apps in use by our chat participants. Angie French, GT Specialist in Texas, told us, “Our district embraces Twitter but not Facebook so much. All teachers also have their own webpages with newsflashes and we use them!”
Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Fridays at 7/6 C & 4 PT in the U.S., midnight in the UK and Saturdays 1 PM NZ/11 AM AEDT to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Storify. Our Facebook Pageprovides information on the chat and news & information regarding the gifted community.
Parent Teacher Partnerships on Pinterest
Cybraryman’s Back to School & Icebreakers Page
Cybraryman’s Parent Teacher Conferences & Communication Page
Cybraryman’s First Days of School Page
Student Choice, Student Voice by Dr. Spike C. Cook
Preparing for Kindergarten by Dr. Spike C. Cook
Cybraryman’s Edmodo Page
Cybraryman’s Voxer Page
Remind (formerly Remind101)
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.