It is really important to try to see something from someone else’s perspective. It is so easy to get caught up in your own stressors and schedules. You get this narrow vision where you simply cannot understand why everyone else around doesn’t have the exact same ideas as you. Well – snap out of it. Because while your life is full of competing contingencies – so are the lives of every member on your team. Each person who you collaborate with comes from a unique perspective and has their own agenda. We all have our own agenda. Nothing bad about that. But know we need to figure out how to get our agendas to work together. Today we have some amazing and dedicated parents sharing their perspectives on what successful collaboration should look like. The parent is really the king of the castle in collaboration land. We are talking about their baby, their life. Working successfully and effectively with parents should be a top priority for all teachers because it will help ensure student growth and progress!

One parent writes:

Right now, my main concern with our school is communication.  My son is non-verbal so he cannot fill us in on his day.  I am very involved with him and his education and want to know what goes on during school – Like what is he working on for goals, who did he interact with, etc.  We do have a communication book that goes back and forth with a standard form to fill out by the teacher.  It is very simple in that there are boxes for Arrival/Morning Routine; AM Work; Snack; Specials; Lunch; Social Group/Playgroung; PM Work; Speech; OT; Behavior.    We have a check system and there is room for little explanations.  However, most days, all that is filled in is what he ate for snack and lunch.  So, I have NO idea what goals he worked on that day, if at any, where he is regarding his work, like his math skills, spelling, etc.   Now, I know you teachers are extremely busy and if you are filling out a detailed explanation, it is time taken away from your teaching/planning (well, at least that was the explanation I received from several teachers).  But, you don’t know what it means to a parent to get a little note describing something cute or funny your child did.  It seems it takes an email from me or my concern raised at an IEP meeting to keep up on the teacher. 

I also drive my son to school and sometimes the teacher will think it appropriate to want to chat and talk about my son in front of him while he is all stressed out just wanting to go home. 

Don’t you want to just hug this mom? I wish she was one of the parents from my classroom. This woman is already on board the collaboration train and empathizing with the constraints of a teacher’s busy schedule. However – it sounds like a this communication system is really not working. She raises a great point about the home/school note – the point isn’t just to hear what your child ate for snack. I always feel torn regarding this issue. I cannot imagine how frustrating it is to have your child come home each day and not be able to hear about his day. However my day is jam packed and as much as I’d love to write a detailed note to each parent each day – honestly – there is just no way. It would take away from academic/IEP time – which I don’t want either. I think the daily notes do often fall into the snack/lunch/generic comment due to these time constraints. We need a better system. With my parents – I tend to go quality over quantity. For my parents who are involved – I write a weekly report about what we worked in the past week and what is coming up next week with suggestion for activities for home. It’s not as much communication as a daily note – but I would find it much more helpful. And I feel like I can add some real content because I can sit and type on my computer when I have some real time.  I am also a huge texter – which might sound weird but it is so much easier and is a great way to add in those great anecdotes we all want to share! I can text parents a quick pic of their child or a funny story easily in the middle of the day.

collaboration week

Other tips or advice regarding parent collaboration? {from parents or teachers?}

Sasha Long
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