Working in Partnerships with Parents

I have been rethinking my relationship with parents as I read, Becoming Teammates, Teachers and Families as Literacy Partners by Charlene Klassen Endrizzi, a National Council of Teachers (NCTE) publication. I am noticing a subtle change in the way I am willing to frame the conversation at the same time that I realize that many of my colleagues are not there, yet.

As I reflect on the ways I involve parents in my classroom I recognize that there are a lot of issues that I need to come to terms with and some perceptions and practices that I need to change. Most of this soul searching comes in the guise of questions for reflection. For example, how can teachers and families share and be responsible for the literacy learning of children? How will this re-visioning change my relationship with parents? How will this change impact children’s learning? How can I relinquish control of my classroom in order to better partner with my parents for the sake of their children’s learning?

What kind of parent involvement do I practice: avoidance (parents are seen as adversaries and it’s better not to involve them in school at all), dependence (parents are seen as supporting teacher and school programs and as needing to learn from the teacher), mutualism (parents are valued as partners in their child’s education so that an attitude of “let’s learn together” prevails)? (Source: Becoming Teammates, Teachers and Families as Literacy Partners by Charlene Klassen Endrizzi.) At the moment, I see myself as falling into a dependency relationship with parents and moving towards practicing mutualism; intellectually I am a mutualist.

More in a subsequent post. In the meantime, into which paradigm do you fit?

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