I have decided that for this school year, I'm going to put some focus on the parents. There's a direct co-relation between parental input and student performance. Most of my students come from broken homes, single parent homes, etc. I sympathize with parents. Some of them really do have some dire circumstances to deal with. These are a few of the main reasons why these parents are M I A at school:
* Working single parents - some have very demanding jobs cannot afford to leave (even for an hour unless it's an emergency).
*Some just do not have their priorities in the right order!
*Many parents are going back to school, studying in Trinidad or abroad, (we're in Tobago). So their children are under the care of other family members.
*The blame game - Sometimes, feuding parents see their children as 'the other's' responsibility and not a shared one.
Believe it or not, I had to put aside some money for the amount of calls I'll be making to parents (the school's phone is always tied up). I've learnt that sending written correspondence has not been effective. Some students either forget to give it to their parents or they deliberately hide it, for whatever reason. So, calling the parents directly, is the sure way of staying connected.
Some of them have very complex family dynamics and I'll have to be tread carefully. While some may at first perceive me as 'the nosy teacher' they'll soon realize that my intentions are good. There are a few who would be quick to assume that I just want to 'get in their business' or report something to the Social Services. Generally, from past experience, most parents realize that they can feel safe with me and they open up. I get to communicate with them on a regular basis, they turn up for the PTA meetings and their child improves at school.
I know that this may be a culture shock for some of my readers but it is a real problem here. However, there are a few parents who really care; they drop in ever so often, ask questions, participate in the P.T.A, fund raisers, etc. If I can help more parents to me more involved in their children's school life, I know it would be worth the effort because the students would benefit.