Top 4 ways to get more out of your child's school
Created by Neetu Ralhan Updated on Nov 05, 2019
Today progressive schools are more open to constructive feedback and suggestions than in the past. As parents it is perhaps important to create a positive connection with your child's school so as to collaborate for your child’s all round development. A positive and open dialogue rather than a tug and pull, which may result in bitter feelings; may compromise the child's learning experience. Here are top 4 ways to collaborate with your child’s school actively.
1. Parent-Teacher Meeting (PTM)
A Parent-Teacher Meeting is an opportunity to connect with individuals who are making an important contribution to your child’s life and perhaps playing an active role in shaping the person that s/he will become. It is a window to the other side - how your child behaves and deals with situations when you are not around. At several occasions, I myself have discovered some really fascinating (and sometimes unnerving) bits about my child.
With time one learns that a PTM is not just about asking questions, it is equally important for us parents to be able to listen to the teacher patiently. Also, it helps not to turn defensive when the teacher points out issues (behavioral or academic) that need to be addressed on the home front.
Taking a list of the things you want to discuss helps steer the meeting in the right direction. It helps to prioritize things that you want to discuss at length. In my own experience, I have to constantly remind myself that there are other equally anxious parents waiting in line.
And there have been times when I have carried a long list of questions that I thought would require a debate or end up in an argument, but were patiently addressed by the teachers who, for our benefit, are trained to handle our queries.
2. Give feedback, Voice your woes
Gone are those days, when walking in to meet the school administration was perhaps the only way to communicate. Today there are various channels through which, you may convey your dissatisfaction, such as the almanac (school diary), email, feedback drop box at the school, phone call to the teachers, online and offline feedback forms and social media.
Interestingly, we have a tendency to reach out to the school only when we are unhappy about something. I have done that myself when my child was younger. However, through the years I have learnt that once in a while, we can use the same communication tools to convey our appreciation for the teachers or the school at large.
For example, feeling overwhelmed by the radical changes that have recently taken place in my child’s school, I figured that the easiest and the most effective way to convey my appreciation to the teachers was to send a diary note. The teachers were equally overwhelmed and reverted saying that the genuine praise motivated them to do better.
3. Volunteer; Lend a Helping Hand
For parents who wish to participate in the school's activities, there are plenty of opportunities and some schools even invite parents to volunteer for certain events. Since many of these events are organized over the weekend, working parents can also join in as per their convenience. Here are some ways you can offer support to your child’s school:
1. Assist on the Sports day
2. Help in organizing Science and literature fairs
3. Accompany and assist the teachers on field trips
4. Volunteer for Picnics and Excursions
5. Help organize Fund Raisers and community events
6. Assist in Art festivals
7. Volunteer to night stay during Night Camps
8. Offer to assist children with special needs
9. Contribute content for school magazine, media coverage
Apart from the above, you may also share your own unique ideas with the school, such as:
• Organize career guidance sessions for senior classes; share your experience and expertise from your field of work.
• Offer to volunteer for an activity the school does not usually organize – technical workshops, theater, reading sessions, culinary (chocolate-making, cake making etc).
• Offer to arrange events such as:
- Dialogue between the City Councilor and students
- Dialogue between students and key social helpers to sensitize students
towards our social support system
- Sessions on tricky issues such as child sexual abuse, bullying in school, dealing with peer pressure, exam stress and similar areas by sharing your own experience
4. Parents’ Groups – Team up for positive change
You can connect with like-minded fellow parents and form a parents’ group wherein periodical meetings may be held to discuss and collate constructive feedback, improvement suggestions that may be presented to the school. Parents have found that this is a great platform to share best practices and / or problems with fellow parents. You may even do that on Parentune by forming a circle of fellow parents and by engaging on a regular basis.
However, the true spirit of any parents’ group lies in creating a healthy dialogue with the school. Many times, being a harbinger of complaints and criticism of the school’s policies robs parents' associations of their original purpose.
Since schooling is such an important part of a child's lives, making friends with the school can be a great way to involve your self in the child's growth and learning. When the intent at both ends is to nurture future citizens, partnership is better than working in isolation, as together parents and schools can do much more for the child than in isolation. I hope that you found the articles (a series of two) of utility. Please share your views in the comments section below.
| Jan 27, 2015
Well written and apt. I agree with your point wherein we always approach the teacher regarding issues and fail to appreciate their efforts in imparting education and discipline in our child. After reading ur article I did go and thank my daughter's teacher for a wonderful job she had done in teaching. And I was happy to bring a smile on her face. I like the idea of a parents group but there are very few parents who are willing to share their opinions which makes its difficult. But surely worth a try. Thank u Neetu!?