Friday, May 6, 2011

Parental Involvement

Since my last post, I've made significant progress, I decided I wasn't ready to move to NYC yet.  My sister and brother in law won't be back until next fall at the earliest, and their lives are much like mine and open to any possibility.  I thought it would only be fair for me to give DC a real effort and move into the district and try a second year.  I will however, continue my search for a better fit in terms of schools within the district.

Last night I went to my first volunteering effort for the year at a local church that offers free GED tutoring.  It was very refreshing to work with adults that WANT to learn.  These students are not being forced to attend and actually want my assistance.  It made me feel useful. It got me thinking about how different my daytime school would be if parents valued education more.

Recently, I've come to my own opinion and conclusion that while education does need improvements, what truly needs to be reformed is parental involvement.  I call home a lot.  I call home if the student has been absent from class that day, if they are failing, or if they were in general a pain in the butt during class.  This might sound like I'm on the phone a lot (which is partially true- I'm finally using those rollover minutes)  but to be honest, I'm not.  Phone numbers are changed weekly, making it hard to track down the student's parent in the first place.  When I call to report absences, the parent will either respond by covering for the child or provide empty promises to speak to the child about their absence.  Typically there are no consequences.
When I was a student, if a teacher called home to give a negative report, I was in a whole world of trouble until further notice.

I know I'm not the only person who has struggled with parental involvement, I would love to hear suggestions on how to get parents to answer phone calls, provide consequences for their children, and show up for meetings occasionally.

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